Caucus has been told the Labor opposition will keep up the fight on the government’s schools funding arrangements.

Federal opposition leader Bill Shorten has told caucus no-one could have predicted how poorly the new government would start, describing a broken promise on education as “cataclysmic”.

Mr Shorten told Labor MPs the opposition would not “let go of the education issue”, arguing the government’s redrawing of the schools funding agreement was still a clear broken promise.

The Abbott government has been accused of flip-flopping on schools funding, after first appearing to walk away from the so-called Gonski model, before recommitting itself with $1.2 billion in funding for Western Australia, Queensland and the Northern Territory.

“The broken promises on education have been cataclysmic for the government,” Mr Shorten told caucus in Canberra on Tuesday.

It had been the “shortest honeymoon in history” for a new government.

Caucus also resolved to oppose savings measures targeted at the university sector, even though they were initially flagged by the former Labor government to help pay for its Gonski reforms.

The Higher Education Support Amendment (Savings And Other Measures) Bill 2013 would cut almost $1.2 billion to universities funding, through a two-year efficiency dividend and by ending discounts for up-front and voluntary student repayments.

But with the government stepping away from Labor’s original schools funding reforms, and the six-year funding commitment, the opposition now says there is no justification for the savings measures.