The shadow assistant minister for schools, Andrew Giles, says the strong opposition from Catholic schools to the government’s education package is because they were given “almost no notice” of the funding changes.
“What’s different in the Catholic system from the independent sector is the practice of making systemic decisions. And that’s something that has been fundamentally ignored by the minister in the manner in which this has been outlined.”
Giles says that “people will be waiting a long time … a lifetime” to see tangible resourcing outcomes from the government’s package.
As to other measures to tackle inequality in Australia, he says: “if we’re serious about tackling inequality we need to think really hard about taxes”.
A member of Labor’s left faction, Giles is an advocate of a Buffett rule, a proposal that would see high-income earners paying a mandated minimum rate of tax. However, this remains a side debate within the party at this stage.
Shadow Treasurer Chris Bowen has ruled out the idea for a Labor government, and says it wouldn’t be pushed at the ALP conference next year.
As Giles says: “The challenge for those in the more radical wing is to get the balance right between discipline and dissent.”
Authors: Michelle Grattan, Professorial Fellow, University of Canberra