Malcolm Turnbull has this morning handed Bill Shorten a ridiculously easy election campaign win. What was he thinking when he told ABC radio that his government wanted to stop funding public (but not private) schools? Was it a slip-up? A thought bubble? Or does he genuinely think it’s a good idea?

Because he just made the Coalition’s re-election push just that little bit harder.

Turnbull’s reasoning for continuing to fund private schools, but handing back responsibility for the funding of public education to the states, goes like this:

“I suspect no federal government would retreat from funding and continuing to support the non-government school sector because there would be a concern that they would not get a fair go from state governments who obviously would have a competing interest with their schools.”

The taxpayer-subsidised private school sector doesn’t get a fair go? Now that’s a hard sell.

Labor will have a field day with this proposal — the Liberal PM from Point Piper, whose party is funded and supported by some of Australia’s richest individuals, wants to withdraw funding from the system that educates some its poorest.

Even Bill Shorten can win votes on that.

Peter Fray

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