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Archive for May, 2013

Gonski reforms only help the rich in WA

Posted by cegan on May 19, 2013

One of the biggest issues I have with Julia Gillard right now is the lack of money being delivered in Western Australia on the Gonski reforms.

In a view that this money will help ‘those kids who need it most’ that particularly annoys me. Western Australia spends more than the national average on kids education, yet are portrayed as being a ‘stumbling block”.

It is also continuing on the theme that I identified a few years ago on this blog, the threat to federalism that the declining GST intake delivers.

Colin Barnett in the last week said that WA would be fiscally independent of Australia if the GST continues to marginalise.

The exact same argument I made two years ago, that it has to be seen in a different outlook in Canberra, that there is a ‘moral compass’ aspect to Western Australian demands, not just a greed element.

It is this moral compass that makes me uncertain of why Gillard would help only the 30% of schools in Western Australia that are in high socio-economic area’s. The other 70% significantly exceed the Gonski reform funding scheme.

So where is the reasonable Labor policy here?

Only 30% of students in Western Australia will receive the extra money in the 6 billion dollar Gonski education reforms and of that it will only go to those schools whose parents can afford to economically advantage their kids already by paying for tutors, feeding them food and not having any of the multitude of issues students have in lower socio-economic areas.

It is this which questions where is the Australian federation going?

Because Western Australia is at war with the Federal Government on a whole host of policies it is not being able to negotiate proper, liberal reforms based on this ideological battle. Instead incoherently bad policy such as the Gonski reforms are created.

We have to look at the background of Julia Gillard, migrant from Wales, grew up in South Australia, moved to Victoria for career advancement and now lives in the Lodge in Canberra.

In her view, she continues a line of Centralist Prime Ministers, seeing that centrist policies work best for the nation. To erode the power of states to ensure rigid consistency and cost efficiency.

It is this where the clash ruptures through Australian Politics and its battle over governance.

Western Australia is a stringently Federalist state.

I have worked for the state government and it’s policy needs encourages reform in Federal politics because of the stringent view that it know’s best for its citizen.

Local Content policy is an example of this. A Western Australian outrage, allowed the Federal Government to prepare efficient policy when this outrage went to a nation wide audience.

They had already had a trial in place in a state so they could use this policy nation wide. A benefit of a state in a staunch federalist mindset.

As we see one eastern states columnist after another doing a typical cliche about why Western Australia won’t sign up to Gonski, you won’t see the context behind it.

It doesn’t go to funding where it’s needed most, it dumbs down the goal posts for the WA education system and essentially it erodes the very philosophical ideals of the state’s population.

A state that believes in federalism v a nation of centrist policies will continue to be an issue under Abbott.

However Tony Abbott is very much on the Republican line and his rhetoric is all about the division between Federal and State Governance, which is very similar to American Politicians, particularly those on the Republican side.

His recent views on public transport funding being something for the states to fund, gives an indication of how Abbott may lead Australia

However, if policy under Abbott is as inept as Gonski is for Western Australia, it will just embolden the view that only Western Australia knows whats best for Western Australia.

By Chris Egan


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