Over many years I have had personal connections with Barry O’Farrell in my role as a commentator on schooling. He has always supported public schools (sent his children to them) and has always been an upfront and honest politician when dealing with me. I have steadfastly admired him for that.
I am very sorry to see him go.
My worst fear is that his dedication to needs-based school funding will be subsumed into the Pyne agenda of Independent Public schools and “choice” in schooling.
I believe Tony Abbott never forgave O’Farrell for standing up to him on the Gonski school funding reforms by making NSW the first state government ( and a Coalition Govt) to agree to them.
The Abbott-Pyne camp will be celebrating tonight.
With O’Farrell gone, everyone who supports the Gonski reforms to school funding needs to work even harder.
We can only hope the NSW Education Minister, Adrian Piccoli ( Deputy Leader of the NSW Nationals) who is in the process of setting up needs-based funding for NSW state schools, will survive the shakedown.
2 thoughts on “O’Farrell, great supporter of the Gonski reforms, will be sadly missed”
I’ve tried to go to ‘comment’ but for some reason it didn’t work. I’ve done the ‘follow’ bit a couple of times as well. Anyway, I totally agree with you and Irene. O’Farrell is a decent, moderate conservative who resisted some of the far right agenda from his own party, state and federal – Gonski being an important example. I met him a few times when he was education shadow and I was working for federation. While obviously we didn’t agree on everything, he was allways respectful of other views, willing to listen and consider ideas and showed a gentle sense of humour. I even once gave him a lift from Dubbo airport to the federation country conference in a union car; accepting that showed both political and physical courage! Not that I’m a conspiracy theorist (usually cock-up is the answer) but there are elements of his fall that look dicey. He was basically dobbed in by some rather unsavoury elements from his own side (with whom he had unwisely consorted). The production of his thank-you note to ICAC after his unwisely vehement denials was exquisitely timed for maximum damage. None of this came from the opposition (indeed, Linda Burney was very restrained when the issue first blew up) nor any disgruntled staffer. The benefit flows mainly to Abbott and the Liberal Right. Belated congratulations on your new gig, Maralyn, and best wishes for your book-writng endeavours. cheers Al
Your analysis is made all the more worrying by the election of Mike Baird,Tony Abbott’s personal friend, as Premier. I expect Baird will happily fall into line with whatever Abbott wants – and Abbott et al want no good for public education.