Editorial: Gonski campaign starts a new phase

The Gonski campaign enters a new phase from the start of term three, with the appointment of 18 coordinators in targeted federal seats, including five in Queensland (see page 10 for more details). Coordinated by the Australian Education Union (AEU), their role will be to run community-based campaigns up to the next federal election.

The objective is to secure bipartisan support for the full implementation of the Gonski funding model. If that is not possible, support will be given to the candidates and parties in the next election who support that objective.

The targeted Queensland seats are Brisbane, Bonner, Forde, Longman and Dawson. The funding for the coordinators comes from capitation fees and levies paid over a number of years on behalf of QTU members for membership of the AEU. The ACTU will also be employing coordinators in a number of Queensland seats.

In addition, the QTU will run its normal statewide election campaign and will provide support for members who want to run campaigns in other federal electorates – a second tier campaign without a full-time coordinator. Members in the Wide Bay have already commenced such a campaign.

The task and the 2013 election

The lead-up to the 2013 federal election was a campaign to secure agreements state-by-state with the Gillard/Rudd federal government for implementation of the Gonski funding model. In Queensland, that was rejected by the then LNP government for what it later admitted were purely political reasons.

So great was the community pressure that Opposition Leader Tony Abbott announced that he was “on a unity ticket” with the ALP over the implementation of Gonski.

It was a different story after the election, with the newly elected Abbott government trying first to deny its pre-election promise and then only committing to the first four years of the six year phase-in. This represents only about one-third of the model’s increased funding, as the largest increases were in years five and six.

The Abbott government’s lack of commitment to Gonski has been further revealed in its reform of federation proposals (see the President’s column on page 7) and its announced intention to cut the indexation of federal funding, which will result in real cuts.

Queensland

In Queensland, Gonski funding was repackaged as the Great Results Guarantee (GRG). It should be renamed as the Gonski Resource Guarantee in the interests of accuracy and transparency. For the first two years, it has not been allocated on the basis of the Gonski model. A subsidiary task in Queensland is to have the additional funds allocated on the basis of need as the Gonski Review envisaged. This issue has already been raised with the new Queensland government.

Ideally, an agreement between the federal and state governments under existing federal legislation should be struck for the full implementation of Gonski in Queensland.

A conference highlight

One of the many highlights of the recent QTU Conference was an address by Runcorn SHS student, Anisa Nandaula, pictured on the front cover with classmate, Kayne Falkiner. A migrant from Uganda, Anisa has just won the state final of a prestigious public speaking competition and will represent Queensland in the national final in Canberra. Her speech is a reminder of what we can achieve with students, the importance of what state school teachers do and why we do what we do. The video of her speech is available on the QTU website at www.qtu.asn.au/conference and it is compulsory viewing – especially after a hard day at school.

Graham Moloney
General Secretary


Queensland Teachers' Journal, Vol 120 No 5, 17 July 2015, p5