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Imagining “national” funding in the Australian federation: The Gonski Review and the Schooling Resource Standard




scalecraft, policy mobilities, Gonski, school funding, federations


This paper takes the landmark review into the federal funding of schools in Australia, known as the Gonski Review (2011), as an illustrative case to demonstrate the scalar practices involved in policy production and enactment. Its primary argument is that, while its core recommendation was a needs-based funding model for the federal government funding of schools, the Gonski Review also articulates an aspiration for the translation of this funding model into a comprehensively national approach. This is done, I argue, through important practices of scalar imagining and reasoning (Papanastasiou, 2017b). However, these national aspirations sit uneasily with the realities of schooling and school funding in the Australian federation, which includes constitutional arrangements, legislation, and policy principles that distribute responsibility for funding across multiple spaces of governance. Drawing on documentary evidence, I argue that scalar tensions are produced between these national aspirations and the realpolitik of Australian federalism. By challenging “the national” as a coherent and predetermined “scale,” these findings reinforce the importance of attending to the mediating forces of subnational governments, as well as global policy influences, when thinking about policy mobilities in federations.


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Author Biography

Elisa Di Gregorio, University of Melbourne

Elisa Di Gregorio is a PhD student at the Melbourne Graduate School of Education, the University of Melbourne. Her research focus is in the field of education policy, with a specific interest in school funding policy, equity, and intergovernmental relations in the context of Australia’s federal system.




How to Cite

Di Gregorio, E. (2023). Imagining “national” funding in the Australian federation: The Gonski Review and the Schooling Resource Standard. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 31.



Global Policy Mobilities in Federal Education Systems