Malcolm Turnbull

Sometimes the taxpayer has to rescue prime ministers from exquisite political dilemmas. So, take a bow, taxpayers, you'll be paying for Malcolm Turnbull's GST "solution" for decades to come. Just like you've been paying for Julia Gillard's Gonski "solution" for years now.

Gillard's problem was that the logic of Gonski was re-allocating education funding toward disadvantaged students. Of course, that was never going to fly for a political party that Mark Latham managed, with impeccable political judgment, to tar with the brush of having a "hit list" of private schools. So everyone had to get extra money in Gillard's version of Gonski to make sure not even the most elite private school in the country missed out. Poor policy, but an absolute political necessity. Only now are Turnbull and Simon Birmingham managing -- bravely -- to undo some of it.