Saturday, April 9, 2011

Why doesn't Tony Abbott attack middle class and corporate welfare?

Cartoon by Fiona Katauskas, New Matilda

Just why are politicians and business leaders who attack public provision of social welfare to the marginalized, the disadvantaged and the disabled never as vociferous in attacking "middle class" and corporate welfare?

This week Opposition Leader Tony Abbott and his Coalition colleagues announced that they are planning a full out assault on welfare recipients, claiming that the current provisions are too generous and need to be scaled back, and that many welfare recipients receive public funds to which they should not be entitled.

But his Education spokesman Christopher Pyne has promised to continue controversial school funding arrangements that means that more than 1000 private schools receive more public funding than they are entitled to.

So rather than mount an attack on middle class and corporate welfare, Pyne and his fellow Coalition members plan to continue and extend a policy that allows private schools to obtain more public funding than they should.
Under the model, introduced by the Howard government in 2001, the Commonwealth allocates funding to private schools according to a formula that measures the socio-economic status of a school community.

But because the Coalition promised no school would be worse off under their system, 1083 schools have had their entitlements preserved fully indexed at pre-existing levels.

But Mr Pyne told the National Press Club yesterday the Coalition would keep the current arrangements.

''When new schools begin, they know the environment in which they are going to be operating,'' Mr Pyne said. But he said any reduction of funding to existing schools would have a ''massive impact'', making private schools lift their fees."

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