Dec 20, 2013

Labor’s frontbench, too, is a mostly private-school affair

With education reforms given an unclear future, the spotlight has been on Tony Abbott’s private school-dominated cabinet. But a Crikey survey by Dylan Barber finds that the Labor shadow ministry isn't the bastion of public-school alumni you might think.

Earlier this week a Crikey survey revealed that 82% of Tony Abbott’s cabinet went to a private school. With around 35% of Australian students in private education, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, and education reforms still up in the air, the old boys’ club is alive and well at the elite level of politics.

But Labor ministries are not the bastions of public education you might assume. Crikey has conducted the same survey for Bill Shorten’s shadow frontbench, and we’ve found 53% of  went to private schools (though many don’t compare to the expensive ivy-league schools attended by Abbott’s old boys).

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9 thoughts on “Labor’s frontbench, too, is a mostly private-school affair

  1. christine olsen

    The real question is “how many Labor MPs send their kids to the local school?”

  2. Aphra

    Richard Marles’ father was the deputy head of Geelong Grammar, wasn’t he? Seems logical to me that young Marles would be schooled there and probably at a discounted rate.

  3. PaulM

    I’d split the”Private” category into “Catholic” and “Independent”. Several of the Catholic schools in the list have none of the cachet (or connections) one normally associates with a “Private” education.

    BTW, the list of Jesuit alumni in the Abbott ministry doesn’t reflect well on the much-vaunted intellectual rigour of a Jesuit education.

    But, as Christien Olsen asks, where do they all send their own kids? That’s what they have a say in.

  4. Matt Hardin

    I would be interested in knowing who in the press gallery went to private schools and how that shapes their delivery of education policy news.

  5. Buddy

    I’m less interested in where they went to school if they acknowledge that private education is a luxury afforded the few, and prioritise improving public education resources, and ensuing all students have equal access to a quality education system.

  6. Ryan John

    Jarrod Bleijie attended Caloundra State High – it’s no guarantee of altruism.

  7. leon knight

    David Marr gave a keen insight into the performance of young TA during his Jesuit education, and the poor results are plain to see now. He also revealed how much Rudd enjoyed his short stint at catholic education, and maybe that is where his tortured leadership performances had their origins…!!
    Good quality secular education available for all is the proper way to go, but I have no issues with the rich squandering their money if they wish.

  8. philro

    So the majority of politicians went to private schools, does this show that paying big money for a good education with the best teachers pays off. This shows that people are prepared to pay top dollar for there kids to have the best and not to send them through the public schools,so what happens to the ones who cannot afford to do this?

  9. LWW305

    They work harder. I left school at 14 with no qualifications and still managed to give my children private school education. These people are high achievers.
    You imagine that it will give your kids a head start in life but it is never guaranteed.
    What happens when you can’t afford other things in life?

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