Malcolm Turnbull is copping it from both sides with the NSW coalition government and Queensland attacking him over schools policy.
Malcolm Turnbull is under fire from political allies and enemies alike over his musings about the Commonwealth withdrawing from funding public schools.
Queensland education minister Kate Jones didn't hold back when she fronted a Senate inquiry in Brisbane on Tuesday, unfavourably comparing the prime minister to his predecessor.
"Tony Abbott never said that he would walk away from national funding for public education at all," she said.
The Labor minister said needs-based additional funding was helping students improve their future job prospects.
"So why would we cut them off at the knees before they walk out of the school gate - that's what Malcolm Turnbull is proposing."
NSW education minister Adrian Piccoli said the federal government risked making the biggest mistake in the history of education policy if Mr Turnbull put his thoughts into action.
Doing so would entrench a two-tiered education system between private and public schools.
The non-government system would be funded by the Commonwealth with plenty of revenue-raising ability, while public schools would be fighting for funding against hospitals and policing, the Nationals MP said.
The Turnbull government argues a new agreement is needed after 2018 to replace Labor's model of extra money for disadvantaged schools.
The government says that spending more money on schools does not result in better results.
Federal education minister Simon Birmingham said NSW, along with other states, rejected the opportunity to take responsibility for raising taxes and paying for the extra spending.
"Rather than seeking to play class warfare over school funding, perhaps Mr Piccoli should acknowledge that he completely controls decisions over funding allocations to each school, teacher wages, class sizes, year 12 curriculum and pretty much every other operational decision in NSW schools," Senator Birmingham said.
Mr Turnbull echoed those sentiments when asked whether education would become a sore point for the coalition in an election year.
"There is clearly a lot more going on here than simply a funding debate," the prime minister told reporters in Sydney.