Turnbull Was Days From Fixing Schools Funding Mess Before Being Axed
"What we're seeing is the government leaking on itself"
Labor leader Bill Shorten is crowing of the government "leaking on itself" after more revelations axed PM Malcolm Turnbull had secretly locked in potential fixes for debilitating political quagmires before being dumped from the top job.
Melbourne's Herald Sun newspaper reported on Monday that Turnbull was to announce a $7.6 billion infrastructure blitz in an attempt to save marginal Coalition seats nationwide, and on Tuesday a second leak -- which the paper said was from within Liberal ranks -- outlined a fix for the ongoing Catholic schools funding problem.
Turnbull was rolled as Prime Minister two weeks ago in the face of bad polling results, fears of a loss at the next federal election, and concerns that his government had not been able to resolve several long-running policy issues -- the school funding debate. The Herald Sun reported the "peace deal" to pour $4.4 billion more into the independent and Catholic schools system, was "just days" from agreement before new PM Scott Morrison took over.
The Catholic sector had viciously fought against a government plan to strip billions from schools, leading to a policy impasse and political headache for the Coalition.
The series of leaks published in the Heraldn Sun show the former PM had been working on solutions to two major issues weighing down his government. The leaking could be seen as Turnbull allies complaining he had been cut down too early and for little good reason -- or, on a more cynical reading, an attempt to rob the new Morrison government of the chance to claim credit for popular announcements.
Morrison said he was "not terribly concerned at all", saying he had already been working with new education minister Dan Tehan on a fix to the issue.
"It's unfinished business," he said on Tuesday.
"There's no doubt in my mind that Mr Morrison's honeymoon has been very short, shorter than a Las Vegas wedding," Shorten said on Tuesday.
"The reality is that when it comes to disunity, it hasn't stopped. What we're seeing is the government leaking on itself. Taking announcements away. Taking wind out of Mr Morrison's sails."
Shorten said the new Morrison government should adopt a similar policy to the one cooked up by Turnbull.
"The reality is there has been a $17 billion cut to schools. But what Mr Morrison shouldn't do is just look at Catholic schools and not worry about public education," he said.
We want to make sure that public education gets looked after. If the Government simply looks after one sector in education, and ignores the parents and kids in public education, well, I think that would be a disgrace."