Publication Details

Ashbolt, A, A Market Model of Education?, Australian Education Union [web site], www.aeufederal.org.au, September 2009.


Milton Friedman introduced the concept of vouchers in education over fifty years ago. Thankfully the world ignored him. Nonetheless, the various victories of neoliberal doctrine from the early 1970s on in the USA, England and Australia placed vouchers on the agenda but not as a central platform. It is one of those policy ideas that is embraced with enthusiasm periodically only to retreat into the recesses of think tanks whose priorities are tax relief for the wealthy and real or imagined wars. When the governments of choice for these tanks are replaced by ones with a thin veneer of progressive ideology (Rudd Labor, perhaps), they tend to search for a revitalising force, a product that will capture the imagination of those who crave authentic neoliberal orthodoxy. They feel, in a sense and justifiably, that their thunder has been stolen by their own progeny who pretend to descend from a different line. Having helped drag brand Labor far into the murky world of market orthodoxy, they seek more and throw out adventurous challenges. Education revolution, Kevin and Julia? We’ll give you one.

Link to publisher version (URL)

Australian Education Union