The federal government will direct more than $4 billion in funding to the Catholic and independent schools sectors over the next decade. Private schools in NSW and Victoria will receive an extra $1.4 billion by 2029, while $1.2 billion will be directed toward regional, rural and remote schools. The funding announcement was welcomed by the National Catholic Education Commission and the Independent Schools Council of Australia, which opposed the government’s “Gonski 2.0” funding formula last year. NSW education minister Rob Stokes said the proposal threatened “a return to the school funding wars of the past that pitted private schools against public schools”, while former NSW education minister Adrian Piccoli described it as “pathetic”, saying it was “throwing money at the powerful and well connected”.
Home affairs minister Peter Dutton has narrowly survived a no-confidence motion in the House of Representatives over the au pairs scandal. While outgoing Liberal MP Julia Banks was reportedly overheard saying “supporting that man is not what I want to be doing”, no Coalition MPs crossed the floor to support the motion, which was defeated 68 votes to 67. Responding to Dutton’s claims he had intervened in the two au pair cases on humanitarian grounds, independent MP Andrew Wilkie invoked “at least 30 children on Nauru who doctors say should be brought to this country for urgent medical attention”.
Officials from environment minister Josh Frydenberg’s office were scrambling to learn basic details about the Great Barrier Reef Fund just days before the federal government awarded the organisation a $443 million grant. Emails obtained by Fairfax through Freedom of Information show that environment department officials asked GBRF staff to provide “a package of background material” and “any summaries of projects that we are investing with you” before the funding was announced on April 29. A spokesperson for the department told a Senate inquiry into the grant the foundation had only sought $5 million in funding before a meeting with Frydenberg and then-prime minister Malcolm Turnbull on April 9, at which the $443 million figure was first raised.
And the New South Wales government will apply to the High Court to have the man suspected of murdering three Aboriginal children in the 1990s retried. Speaking on Thursday, attorney-general Mark Speakman said he “wouldn't be making this application if I didn't believe there were prospects of success before the High Court”. Last week the NSW Court of Criminal Appeal threw out an application to have the unnamed man retried over the deaths of Evelyn Greenup, Clinton Speedy-Deroux and Colleen Walker in the town of Bowraville. Family members of the children and supporters rallied outside state parliament on Thursday before marching to the Supreme Court building where the case was thrown out.