Why Scott Morrison's new private school funding deal is being called 'pathetic', 'unfair'.


Prime Minister Scott Morrison has struck a $4.6 billion peace deal with Catholic and independent schools, which over a decade he says will bring to an end a long-running war over the Gonski 2.0 school funding model.

But despite his positive spin, it’s drawing criticism from all corners of politics.

What does the private school funding deal involve?

On Thursday, Mr Morrison told reporters in Canberra his deal was a win for students, parents and teachers.

“For students, this will mean the opportunity to get the best results from school. For parents, it will mean that choice remains affordable,” Mr Morrison said.

“For teachers, it will mean certainty of funding so they can get on with the job.”

The government will contribute $3.2 billion over 10 years from 2020 to fund changes to the way parents’ wealth is measured, based on income tax data.

In 2019, independent and Catholic schools will receive $170.8 million over the calendar year.

And they say a further $1.2 billion “Choice and Affordability Fund” will be spent on Catholic and independent schools over 10 years to help keep fees affordable and maintain choice.

What the Morrison Government is saying about the private school funding deal.

Education Minister Dan Tehan told parliament federal funding to public schools was at record levels, going from $6.8 billion last year to $7.3 billion this year and $7.9 billion the following year.

“From 2017 to 2027, commonwealth funding to state schools will grow by 86 per cent.”

In May last year Mr Morrison as treasurer ruled out any “special deals” being done.


He told reporters on Thursday where there were concerns about funding, the government would address them.

Where the money was coming from would be set out in the mid-year budget review due in December.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said he was “not projecting cuts” would be needed in other areas to make it happen.

“Because the Australian economy is growing well, we have the ability to invest in essential services,” he told ABC Radio on Thursday.

The deal brings to a head months of discussions with Catholic school officials and Independent Schools Council of Australia.

The deal brings to a head months of discussions with Catholic school officials and Independent Schools Council of Australia.

Ray Collins, from the National Catholic Education Commission, said the funding injection would save faith-based schools from increasing fees or shutting down altogether.

“Families can only have school choice if there is an affordable alternative to free, comprehensive government schools,” he said.

“If the only option is a high-fee school, choice is restricted to those parents rich enough to afford high fees.”

What critics of the private school funding deal are saying.

However, opposition education spokeswoman Tanya Plibersek said the Prime Minister had turned his back on 2.5 million children who attend state schools.

“He has said to the five million parents of those children, we don’t care about your kid,” she said.


“(He has said) we are prepared to properly fund Catholic and independent schools, but we are not prepared to properly fund public schools.

“For parents to have genuine choice in the education of their children, they need a well-funded public school system to turn to if they wish.”

Prime Minister Scott Morrison
Prime Minister Scott Morrison. Image: AAP.


In NSW, education ministers past and present have savaged the private schools funding deal.


Education Minister Rob Stokes - from the Liberal party - argues the Federal Government's $4.6 billion proposal would spell a return to the bad old days of the funding wars.

"Quite simply, I won't be signing any deal that doesn't treat every student and every school with fairness," Mr Stokes minister said in a statement.

"The Gonski principles provide that school funding should be needs based and sector blind and these are the principles we hold dear.

"We don't want a return to the school funding wars of the past that pitted private schools against public schools and urge the Federal Government to provide equal treatment for all schools, public and private."

Former NSW education minister Adrian Piccoli, is also scathing in his criticism.

"This is pathetic. There is nothing fair about it. There is nothing Christian about it. It's throwing money at the powerful and well connected," the ex-Nationals MP tweeted.

Mr Piccoli subsequently tweeted Mr Morrison's press release on the deal and stated: "So, tell us more about the $1.2b slush fund you are setting up only for Catholic and independent schools."

NSW Teachers Federation president Maurie Mulheron is outraged.

"This is probably the most corrupt funding deal we've ever seen an Australian government deliver," he told AAP.

"It's nothing more than an election slush fund. It's not based on need and public schools right across Australia don't get one single dollar out of it."


Mr Mulheron said the states and territories may now refuse to sign funding deals.

"We'll fight this right up to the next election. If Mr Morrison thinks there's anything settled he's got another thing coming."

The Prime Minister on Friday brushed off Mr Stokes' attack.

"I don't think Rob's yet had the chance to really look at the full details of this," Mr Morrison told ABC radio.

"I'm sure once he sees that he'll see those comments don't weigh up with what we've actually announced."

Still, the criticism is coming thick and fast on Twitter.




What do you think of the Morrison Government's private school funding deal? Tell us in the comments below.