This paper examines historical origins of accountability for public funding in the Australian school education system. Understandings of accountability have developed unique to the Australian context, embedding institutions and ideas from a colonial past. It is shown that the funding arrangements used to distribute and account for public education funds are political devices to mediate enduring historic relationships between government and non-government schools, while at the same time masking these relationships in the veiled rhetoric of a broader Australian cultural imperative of egalitarianism. It concludes the current funding and accountability of school education in Australia is a simulacrum of accountability. It reifies in a replicating simulated state the status quo of an historical education funding and accountability context that has no engagement with education, but does represent colonial funding arrangements and historical tensions between federal and states’ governments.