The country is set for another debate over school funding, with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull bringing back businessman David Gonski to run another review into the sector and a model that would deliver new needs-based funding.

The plan will provide $242.3 billion over 10 years for education, an extra $19 billion on what is currently promised.

Turnbull said the review will “ensure that students with the same needs will be treated exactly the same in terms of Commonwealth funding — no matter which state they reside in, or the school system they are being educated in”.

The announcement has already been slammed by the Catholic and independent schools sector, after Turnbull and Education Minister Simon Birmingham signalled that some schools could receive less funding under the plan. When former prime minister Julia Gillard first introduced a needs-based funding model designed by David Gonski, she promised no school would be worse off, but the Department of Education has since identified schools that are “over funded” according to the current system.

The opposition, which has been using education as an area to attack the government, didn’t congratulate the PM on the plan. Labor education spokesperson Tanya Plibersek labelled the move an “attack yesterday: “It is an attack on Australian children, and their parents and their teachers and principals are awake to it.”

The ABC reports the Greens are not ruling out support for the plan.

Crikey‘s Bernard Keane writes: “Whether the literal appropriation of Gonski by Turnbull is enough to end the ‘school funding wars’, however, remains to be seen.”


One major announcement in a day wasn’t enough for the government, with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Infrastructure Minister Paul Fletcher announcing the government will build the Badgerys Creek airport in western Sydney after Sydney Airport decided not to take on the project. The airport is still 10 years away, after decades of planning, and Fletcher hasn’t ruled out private investment in the future.

While Sydney Airport had the option to build the new transport hub, the ASX-listed company said it didn’t see returns from the project.

“Despite the opportunities that Western Sydney Airport will present, the risks associated with the development and operation are considerable and endure for many decades, without commensurate returns for our investors,” said airport boss Kerrie Mather.

There will be more details in the federal budget on May 9.


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It’s World Press Freedom Day.

Sydney: NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian will address the National Press Club on Commonwealth-state relations.

Perth: Former prime minister Tony Abbott will give a speech on “enlightenment values” to Liberal members. Originally reported in The Weekend West, the speech was organised by dumped Liberal candidate Sherry Sufi.

Adelaide: Foreign Minister Julie Bishop is among a handful of prominent Australians to receive an honourary doctorate at the University of Adelaide.


Coalition’s Gonski 2.0: less peace in our time than a new front in education wars — Katharine Murphy (Guardian Australia): “After arguing for many months the problems in Australian schools weren’t about money, that money doesn’t automatically buy you quality, hey presto, apparently it is about money, at least in part.”

Budget 2017: pragmatic Morrison in no mood to be phony tough — Paul Kelly (The Australian $): “Deals with the states and other education sectors lie ahead but warning lights are flashing: the idea that 350 non-government schools will be worse off than otherwise, and that the Catholic sector is alarmed and disenchanted would, if both remained uncorrected, constitute a high political risk and a violation of entrenched John Howard-sanctioned Liberal political norms.”

Turnbull golden with Gonski but Shorten comes up short — David Crowe (The Australian $): “Turnbull also capitalises on a flaw at the heart of Shorten’s campaign on education. Labor, the unions and activist groups such as GetUp! made a mistake by trying to turn Gonski’s name into a brand that symbolised Labor’s policy.”

Turnbull steals Labor’s policies – and its oxygen — Laura Tingle (Australian Financial Review): “[The Coalition’s response to the original Gonski report] was a symbol of nothing less than very different views about the role of government between the two sides of politics.”

How do you solve a problem like Tony Abbott? Here’s how — Miranda Devine (The Daily Telegraph $): “So what better job could there be for a patriotic, monarchist, energetic former PM than Governor-General? Abbott is well suited to carry out the constitutional and community roles.” 

The ABC needs to know its place and time — Gary Johns (The Australian $): “Perhaps ABC really stands for Allah Before Christ.”


Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Donald Trump have agreed to try and meet face-to-face on the side of the G20 summit in July, according to the Kremlin. The leaders discussed the prospect of meeting during a phone call and committed to working together on maintaining the ceasefire in Syria. Today, Putin met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and Putin denied that his government had interfered in foreign elections in a tense press conference. Merkel pushed Putin to protect LGBTI rights. — Reuters

French far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen has been accused of plagiarising a speech from defeated rival Francois Fillon. Fillon was eliminated from the race after the first round of voting, but his supporters have pointed out numerous similarities between a recent Le Pen speech and one he gave earlier in the campaign. In response, Le Pen’s camp said the speech had been a “nod” to Fillon to show Le Pen was not sectarian. — BBC

A rogue FBI employee has returned to the US after travelling to Syria in order to marry a rapper-turned-Islamic State operative. Daniela Greene lied about her reasons for travelling and warned the operative — known in Germany by his hip-hop stage name Deso Dogg — that he was being investigated. On returning to the US, Greene appears to have been given a light sentence as a result of co-operating with a Justice Department investigation — CNN


Trump’s dizzying day of interviews (Politico): “Trump questioned why the Civil War needed to happen … said he would be ‘honored’ to meet with Kim Jong-Un, the violent North Korean dictator, under the ‘right circumstances’ … floated, and backed away from, a tax on gasoline … said he was ‘looking at’ breaking up the big banks. ‘It seems to be among the most bizarre recent 24 hours in American presidential history,’ said Douglas Brinkley, a presidential historian. ‘It was all just surreal disarray and a confused mental state from the president’.”

What war with North Korea looks like (Newsweek): “Conventional thinking in the Pentagon is that it would be a four- to six-month conflict with high-intensity combat and many dead. In 1994, when President Bill Clinton contemplated the use of force to knock out the North’s nuclear weapons program, the then commander of U.S.-Republic of Korea forces told his commander in chief that a war on the peninsula would likely result in 1 million dead, and nearly $1 trillion of economic damage.”

How to have a better death (The Economist): “Most people feel dread when they contemplate their mortality. As death has been hidden away in hospitals and nursing homes, it has become less familiar and harder to talk about. Politicians are scared to bring up end-of-life care in case they are accused of setting up ‘death panels’. But honest and open conversations with the dying should be as much a part of modern medicine as prescribing drugs or fixing broken bones.”