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.