public school funding
(Image: Getty/davidf)

STAGUCATION

Preliminary results from the 2019 NAPLAN tests will be released today, with education ministers under pressure to explain why literacy and numeracy skills are stagnating ($) despite school funding increasing by more than $20 billion over the past decade, The Australian reports.

While Western Australia, Queensland and the Northern Territory showed sustained improvements, particularly in primary school, NSW grammar and punctuation levels are worse than ten years ago ($). Victorian education minister James Merlino plans to push for an overhaul of the program, including linking year nine students’ tests to future job applications. Victorian primary results currently top the nation, The Age reports.

INCREASE THE INTAKE

A Deloitte Access Economics study has found that increasing Australia’s refugee intake to 44,000 by 2023 would boost the economy by $5 billion per year for the next 50 years, The Guardian reports.

The study suggests that even those who arrive in Australia with limited English skills or recognised qualifications would benefit the country economically. Such an increase would sustain an average of 35,000 full-time jobs a year, increase demand for goods and services by $18.2 billion, and would see Australia supporting an equal share of the current number of refugees seeking resettlement around the world. Oxfam Australia, which commissioned the study, has called for the federal government to commit to the increase and to create a visa stream for 10,000 family reunifications annually. 

LABOR DONATION CRISIS

Senior Labor sources have laid pressure on NSW boss Kaila Murnain to resign, suggesting to The Sydney Morning Herald that her career is “all but over” in the wake of the Independent Commission Against Corruption’s investigation into Labor donations. Murnain has been dragged into the donations scandal, which saw claims of an Aldi bag full of cash allegedly dropped at party headquarters by Chinese billionaire Huang Xiangmo.

Insiders told the paper that this could be the trigger that ends Murnain’s reign as the first female secretary of Labor’s NSW branch. Right-wing union leaders yesterday met with NSW president Mark Lennon to discuss the worsening crisis ($), The Australian reports. Labor leader Anthony Albanese declined to endorse her ongoing role, describing the allegations as ‘‘serious’’, The New Daily reports.

THEY REALLY SAID THAT?

In 10 years’ time we’ll be like Cuba, just doing up our 2017 Commodores because the rest of the world is not making petrol and diesel cars to sell to us anymore.

Mark Butler

The shadow climate change minister says electric cars are “unstoppable.

READ ALL ABOUT IT

‘Sitting ducks’: MPs raise alarm over personal safety fears

Water Minister Melinda Pavey ‘shooting the messenger’, NRC claims

Unions baulk at Hong Kong trade deal amid unrest

First lift Iran sanctions, then we’ll talk with Trump, Rouhani says

‘Quite a crisis’: Building report finds government should fund cladding fix

China warned on torture, Aussie Yang Hengjun ‘not a spy’ ($)

Legal loophole that led to hundreds of unlawful arrests by PSOs to be closed

Anger at Liberals’ poll on door-kicking Labor MP’s mental health

Brazil to reject millions in Amazon aid – until Macron takes back his comments

Great Barrier Reef expert panel says Peter Ridd misrepresenting science

Banks are now referring people to Foodbank to help them pay their mortgage

Former human rights lawyer Lionel Aingimea becomes Nauru leader

MPs step up plans to block no-deal Brexit amid signs PM could be preparing for election

CRIKEY QUICKIE: THE BEST OF YESTERDAY

The anarchists are in the building

“The fact is that no institution in society is secure. This is not just because they have discredited themselves (like our banks and parliaments have achieved through their amoral venality); even the universities, CSIRO and the Bureau of Meteorology are mistrusted. We are seeing a full-scale assault on the establishment, but it’s not being waged by millennials in balaclavas throwing Molotov cocktails at the police. The anarchists are in the building.”


Josh among the business barbarians

“The curious thing about all of these arguments as to why business isn’t investing is that, apart from the effort to lay it all at Bill Shorten’s feet, they all applied equally when Australian business, and the Coalition, were arguing that large corporations should be given tens of billions of dollars in tax cuts so that they would invest more. It’s testimony to the “perpetual present” of Australian public affairs — that convenient amnesia that prevents people from remembering what happened more than five minutes ago — that Australian business can now blithely explain all the reasons why, in effect, company tax cuts would not have been directed toward extra investment, despite arguing precisely that for most of the last decade.”


Take it from a teacher: increasing ATAR scores won’t fix the education crisis

“In my experience, there is already a wealth of incredibly innovative, smart and dedicated teachers in schools. But many find themselves leaving the profession, unable or unwilling to put up with the conditions. Poor pay conditions compounded by an impoverished work/life balance are huge factors, but so is the way in which governments have gradually eroded education’s core business: supporting and cultivating a community of effective learners. If bureaucrats and policymakers are at the top of the aforementioned pyramid of trickle-down contempt, then students are at the bottom.”

THE COMMENTARIAT

We’ve set lower bars, not raised the results ($) – Blaise Joseph (The Australian): The truth is the minimum stand­ards are set appallingly low, especially when compared with the international literacy benchmarks. For example, one in five Australian Year 4 students are below the literacy standard in reading, according to the latest international Progress in Reading Literacy Study. But just 4 per cent of Australian Year 3 students are below the NAPLAN minimum standard for reading. In other words, instead of genuinely improving results, we have entrenched lower expectations of student literacy. We need to set higher expectations if we are going to have our students excel.”

Don’t blame Australia for coal burned offshore. Blame us for burning it here Pat Conroy (The Guardian): “Holding Australia responsible for the burning of exported coal is equivalent to holding Japan responsible for the millions of tonnes of carbon dioxide emitted by cars in Australia. It is a ridiculous position that betrays a misunderstanding of the UN framework convention on climate change (UNFCCC) and the history of climate change negotiations. More importantly it distracts from the main game: making sure Australia meets its legal obligations to reduce domestic greenhouse gas emissions.”

At Australia’s first G7 there was more talk than action: but that’s okNick Miller (The Age/Sydney Morning Herald): Morrison said the China issue in particular was “one of the reasons I came, because there would be the opportunity over several days to reinforce, as others have, what’s at stake – and I’m very confident that it’s well understood”. But before the summit, rather than trade, Australia was focused on its two allotted sessions at the summit: on climate, pollution and biodiversity, and on digital democracy. Trump didn’t even turn up to the first session.”

HOLD THE FRONT PAGE

The Latest Headlines

WHAT’S ON TODAY

Canberra

  • Federal education minister Dan Tehan will address to the National Press Club, announcing the creation of a university campus taskforce to combat foreign influence threats and protect “Australia’s interests” ($).

  • Ex-spy Witness K will appear in the ACT Magistrates Court for a mention ahead of sentencing, after indicating a guilty plea to charges of revealing information on Australia bugging East Timor’s cabinet.

  • The ABS will release details of the amount of construction work in Australia across the June quarter.

Melbourne

  • Melbourne Fashion Week will begin, with the unoccupied 85th floor of the Eureka Tower to be transformed into a completely unique runway.

  • The AFL will announce the 2019 All-Australian team

  • An inquest will continue into the December 2017 death of Yorta Yorta woman Tanya Day in police custody.

Brisbane

  • A Federal Court judge will make a judgement in defamation proceedings against John Ibrahim and Pan Macmillan, after Tom Domican claimed the former nightclub boss and publisher defamed him in his book Last King of the Cross

Mackay, Queensland

  • The 30th Anniversary Variety Bash QLD will begin, with over 100 pre-1989 vehicles and their crews hitting the road to raise funds to help kids who are sick, disadvantaged or have a disability.

Sydney

  • The Australian Museum will hand out the Eureka Prizes, Australia’s leading science awards, presenting 17 trophies across Research & Innovation, Leadership, Science Engagement and School Science.

  • John Meredith Kitson — the general manager of Plutus Payroll, the company behind an alleged conspiracy to defraud the Australian Taxation Office of more than $105 million in three years — will be sentenced in the NSW Supreme Court.

  • Asia-Pacific’s International Mining Exhibition (AIMEX) 2019 will begin, with more than 6,000 mining industry professionals to attend.

Tamarama, New South Wales

  • Foreign Affairs Minister Marise Payne will be at the landing of the Coral Sea Cable — a fibre optic cable linking PNG and the Solomon Islands to Australia.

Peter Fray

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