Malcolm Turnbull today suggested the Federal Government abandon public education funding as an extension of his proposal to give up income taxing powers to the states.
News.com.au reports, the Prime Minister said there was “a very powerful case” for giving state governments total responsibility for payments to state schools from income tax revenue, while the Commonwealth funded private education, such as Catholic schools.
“They would then have the responsibility for state schools, which are the schools that they manage, they have the resources as well,” he said on ABC radio.
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten accused Mr Turnbull of not being fit to be Prime Minister.
“It’s completely and utterly unacceptable that Mr Turnbull is so willing to wash his hands of ensuring Australian kids get a decent education,” Mr Shorten said.
“Every Australian child should have the same chance of succeeding at school as any other child kid in the country, no matter their background, no matter where they live, and no matter what type of school they go to — government, independent or Catholic.”
“You could make a very powerful case for example that, if there was a revenue sharing, if the states had access to a portion of income tax, that they would have the resources and the money [to] have the responsibility for state schools,” Mr Turnbull said today.
“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.
“But in terms of state schools, state education, government schools, if the states had the money, if they had the money from a share of the tax base, would they not do a better job managing those schools themselves?
“That would be a question to ask the education ministers: does the education minister in Canberra know better how to run a primary school in Tasmania or South Australia or Western Australia than the education minister in those states?”
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