Monday, April 23, 2012
Gonski: top losing schools named
Prime Ministers Howard, Rudd and Gillard knew better than to cut any private school funding. Private schooling is sacrosanct to a big proportion of Australians. Former Leftist leader Latham wanted to attack private school funding but lost the election, in part because of that threat
LORETO Kirribilli is among the independent schools in NSW with the most to lose - estimated at up to $3.9 million a year - in the proposed Gonski reforms of schools funding, a preliminary analysis shows.
Other schools at risk of having their federal funding reduced are Monte Sant' Angelo Mercy College at North Sydney, St Aloysius' College at Milsons Point and Oakhill College at Castle Hill.
They are among the 17 per cent of independent schools in NSW that have had their funding maintained and indexed at the levels they were at before the Howard government changed the system in 2001.
The Commonwealth formula uses census data to allocate funding on the basis of need according to the socio-economic status of parents.
Since the introduction of the so-called SES funding formula, the wealth profile of many schools has increased, entitling them to less funding under the formula.
But the Howard government introduced a "no losers" policy, which was continued under the Rudd and Gillard governments, which meant annual funding for schools would not decrease.
Analysis by the Association of Independent Schools using 2009 data from the federal Department of Education suggests 86 NSW independent schools would lose between $65,000 and $3.9 million each year under the Gonski system.
The NSW Greens MP, John Kaye, said government figures showed Loreto Kirribilli would have received $32 million less than it has since 2001 if the SES formula had been applied strictly. This year it will receive an estimated $3.6 million above its strict SES entitlement of about $1.7 million.
"Losing some of that money would be more than fair and reasonable, especially if it ends up back in public schools," Dr Kaye said.
Geoff Newcombe, the executive director of the Association of Independent Schools NSW, said an examination of the proposed Gonski model using 2009 data showed a number of schools to have had their funding maintained and indexed would receive more funding, casting doubt on claims that these schools were "overfunded and rorting the system. Other schools, however, will have their funding reduced by amounts ranging from relatively low levels to up to $4 million," he said.
He said all education sectors were awaiting 2010 data to allow the Gonski model's indexation rate to be calculated.
If it was below 6 per cent, the "feasibility of the Gonski model will be struck a severe blow".
It would need to reflect "the real increases in the annual cost of education which has averaged around 6.5 per cent to 8 per cent per annum". A spokeswoman for the Education Minister, Peter Garrett, said the Gillard government had said repeatedly that no school would lose a dollar per student as a result of the funding review.
"Mr Gonski and the review panel have made clear that there is still a lot of work to do to test and refine the various elements of their proposed funding model.
"This includes testing the proposed funding amount per student, and examining whether the loadings for disadvantage are set at the right levels."
Labor would lose both chambers if an election were held now
LABOR would suffer its worst result in the Senate since 1944 if an election were held now, giving Tony Abbott control of the upper house as well as the lower, an analysis shows.
This would allow him to wipe out many of the big achievements of the five years of Labor governments, as he has pledged to do, though some financial and legal complications would remain.
The analysis was conducted by a senior Labor strategist, who wishes to remain anonymous, using the latest Herald-Nielsen polling results and projecting them onto a Senate election.
Only two prime ministers have enjoyed control of both houses in the past four decades - Malcolm Fraser and John Howard in his last term.
Among the nine Labor senators who would probably lose their seats are the Finance Minister, Penny Wong, a convener of the Left faction, Doug Cameron, and one of the so-called faceless men who brought down the Rudd government, the Right faction's David Feeney.
With the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Peter Slipper, standing aside, the government is again forced to survive on the narrowest possible margin.
Yet the prospect of a Coalition clean sweep in both chambers raises the question of how much of its work would remain intact. Mr Abbott has promised to repeal the carbon and mining taxes, and parts of the Fair Work Act.
The Herald's pollster, Nielsen's John Stirton, said the analysis was a legitimate use of Nielsen polling data but it represented "a worst-case scenario rather than the most likely scenario".
This was because it used a single poll, the March poll, rather than an average of several months, and March was an especially low point for Labor. His "most likely" scenario assumed Labor recovered support before an election. But even then, it would manage only barely half the seats in the Senate.
Labor's primary vote was 27 per cent in the lower house in the March poll. At that level the Coalition would win control of the House in a landslide.
However, no pollster tests support for the parties in the Senate. To see what the consequences would be in the upper house, the strategist took the state results from that poll to estimate a Senate outcome. He subtracted 3 percentage points to replicate voter behaviour in recent elections.
Mr Stirton said: "In the absence of any other data on how people might vote in the Senate, it's not unreasonable to discount the lower house vote by 3 per cent because that's been the experience in the last couple of elections.
"The main caveat is that the state breakdowns give you fairly small samples and that results in a high margin of error."
In a chamber of 76, the projected result would shrink Labor's Senate strength from 31 seats to 22 or 23. The Greens would grow from nine to 12.
So the combined total of Labor and Greens - the now-governing coalition - would go from a majority of 40 to a minority of 34 or 35. The Coalition's numbers would swell from 34 to 38 or 39.
The fringe parties and independents would hold three spots instead of the present two, as Bob Katter's Australian Party would win a seat in Queensland.
High price paid for low solar return
ACT electricity consumers are paying about $8.37 million annually for power generated by more than 10,500 solar generators which produce only 0.7 per cent of the overall annual requirement.
The cost for an average household paying for the government's feed-in tariff scheme has reached about $26.40 a year and Environment Minister Simon Corbell expects this to jump to about $50 late next year.
Meanwhile, those who have had solar generators installed receive on average almost $800 a year for the electricity they generate.
The feed-in scheme compares poorly to ActewAGL's Greenchoice program. During 2011, its more than 20,000 customers bought 2.54 per cent of the ACT's annual electricity requirement for less than half the cost of the government's feed-in scheme.
Under the federal government's mandatory renewable energy schemes, ActewAGL was required last year to buy 5.62 per cent of electricity sales from large-scale renewable generators and 14.8 per cent from small-scale renewable generators.
ActewAGL general manager retail Ayesha Razzaq said ActewAGL's fully accredited GreenPower program allowed ActewAGL to purchase renewable energy from sources such as hydro, windpower and biomass on behalf of customers. This electricity would otherwise be sourced from fossil fuels.
ActewAGL general manager network services Rob Atkin said that on April 16, there were 10,566 solar sites connected to the ActewAGL network.
From April 1 last year to March 31, the energy produced by photo voltaic systems in the ACT was estimated at 0.7 per cent of the total demand.
These systems contributed nothing to the peak winter demand because at that time, without sunlight, they were not operating. During the summer peak, solar photo voltaic systems contributed about 0.47 per cent of that demand.
Mr Corbell said the ACT micro feed-in tariff scheme was initially capped at 30 megawatts. This was increased to 35 megawatts on a Greens-Liberal amendment to reflect the introduction of the medium scale category. This would cap the maximum annual cost to the average ACT household at $50.
What an arsehole! Some very unfunny "comedy"
I would have knocked him over if he had invaded a function of mine like that
CELEBRITY comedian Rod Quantock has refused to apologise for gatecrashing a glamorous Melbourne wedding, leaving guests stunned by a series of "unfunny" stunts.
Wearing Groucho Marx masks and brandishing a rubber chicken and megaphone, Quantock and 60 other uninvited guests interrupted a private function at Comme restaurant on Saturday afternoon.
The reception takeover was part of Quantock's award-winning roving show for the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, where he takes his audience on a tour of the city, hijacking shops, cafes and events with impromptu performances.
But guests say Quantock's act was "uninvited, unwelcome, and very unfunny" and ruined what was otherwise a tasteful and painstakingly planned affair.
They say his performance of Another One Bites the Dust was a pointed joke about the newly married couple's future that fell flat.
Wedding photographer Shannon McDonald said: "A lot of time and care went into planning this lovely couple's wedding, and for Rod Quantock and his followers to disrupt it for their own amusement wasn't funny or cool. It wasn't his moment, it was theirs."
Quantock, who won the MICF directors' choice award for his act the same night as the wedding, was surprised he had offended the wedding party. "I thought most people enjoyed it and those who didn't - well, I couldn't care less about them," Quantock said.
"It was just a little bit of silliness that invaded their world for a few minutes."