Trevor Cobbold comments on the schools funding debate in Pearls and Irritations (6.2.17): 'An unholy alliance between Tanya Plibersek and Tony Abbott on overfunding of private schools was again revealed this week. Labor’s position on overfunding was exposed as morally bankrupt, cynical and at complete odds with its supposed support for the principle of needs-based school funding.'
His commentary continues: 'The Federal Minister for Education, Simon Birmingham, highlighted overfunding of private schools last week: "If some schools under formulas that have been grandfathered for years and years are getting more than their fair share, then we ought to have a look at an adjustment process."
'Labor shadow minister on education and deputy opposition leader, Tanya Plibersek, resorted to despicable political opportunism by calling on Birmingham to name the schools that would lose funding. She conspicuously refused to condemn overfunding of private schools. It was unprincipled 'wedge' politics at its most loathsome.
'Plibersek was re-affirming her endorsement of private school overfunding. In December, she said that there is no case to cut funding of overfunded elite private schools and redistribute the money to disadvantaged schools. Labor’s position on the overfunding of elite private schools is utterly astonishing and morally bankrupt. It has a craven fear of enraging wealthy private schools by challenging their privileged taxpayer funding that diverts millions from public schools most in need.'