Dec 3, 2013

Pyne blows himself, and the Gonski reforms, to pieces

Christopher Pyne has destroyed the Gonski school funding reforms and badly damaged the government with his bungling. So what drove this balls-up?

Bernard Keane — Politics editor

Bernard Keane

Politics editor

It’s bad when governments stuff up the politics of an issue. And it’s bad when they pursue poor policy. But the very worst political debacles are a combination of policy and political blunders. And Education Minister Christopher Pyne’s handling of schools funding is one for the ages. He’s single-handedly turned an ordinary start for the Abbott government — partly through no fault of its own — into a complete stuff-up. The government will either be defined by this, or learn from it and dramatically improve its performance.

Unlike most issues of government, education is not an esoteric matter for voters. It is persistently one of the most important issues in determining how people vote, just below the economy and health. It’s an issue that cuts through. And it’s an issue where voters don’t trust the Coalition as much as they trust Labor. So the first lesson should perhaps be not to wander, smirking, into a shed full of political dynamite and start lighting matches.

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49 thoughts on “Pyne blows himself, and the Gonski reforms, to pieces

  1. Glen

    A complete archive of schoolfunding.gov.au is of course available at the Wayback Machine, including the famous report. Memo to Chris: Mate, it’s really not possible to delete anything anymore.

  2. shepherdmarilyn

    As they went to an election with nothing but a shiney pamphlet what did you expect.

  3. michael crook

    Christopher has brought new meaning to the word, “porkypyne”

  4. zut alors

    There’s a word which distresses the Crikey m0derat0r and the House of Reps’ Speaker: it begins with ‘l’, has three letters and means a ‘porky pie’.

    After this latest effort by the government, instead of porky pie we can substitute Tory Try.

  5. JP Preston

    Any chance that the member for Adelaide could start using some of these gems as the basis for her question-time attacks on the government rather than the limp lettuce ones she has been relying on?

  6. The Pav


    In response to your question as to what Pyne did as Shadow Ed Minister he
    Got ejected 26 times
    Asked five questions…..None about education
    Did not develop any policy or release any discussion papers
    Refused an inviation to have the policy explained to him

    and finally showed how adult he was by poking his tongue out to the speaker

    The real reason why Pyne wanted to dump Gonski was that he wanted to return to the preferremnt that the catholic secor received under Howard. This vehement catholicism that he shares with Abbott explains Abbotts support of despite his multiplicity of failures.

  7. Andybob

    So this is why we can’t vote in the Coalition no matter how bad Labour’s infighting becomes.

  8. Hominoid

    Sad but true, Andybob. Pyne is one sick catholic poodle. He has a few motivations around this, all of them ugly. His urge to favour christian and independent schools is made worse by his sheer vindictiveness towards Rudd’s/Gillard’s legacy. No labor reform should ever stand because, well, they’re not Liberal ones. He is a virus.

    As for Coalition governments generally, the one thing Tories do well is inertia. This one is no different. The reason Abbott has brought very little policy development to government is because he’s still implementing Howard’s policies.

  9. LucyJr

    I think Pyne messed with funding for self-serving frivolous reasons. He appears ravenous for panel shows and opposition baiting, but lacks appetite for the mundane staple of governing.

    Pyne reminds me of the bored child who prefers bad attention to none. His delighted smirk after the hostile state ministers’ meeting tells all.

  10. Sharkie

    Thanks The Pav.
    I’m sure that’s not all Pyne did in 6 years. I heard he played a fair bit of office cricket and set an Australian record for “paper toss”.

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