Australia Gonski 2.0: Liberal senator threatens to cross floor on Government's school funding bill

07:05  19 june  2017
07:05  19 june  2017 Source:   ABC News

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News National Gonski 2 . 0 : Liberal senator threatens to cross A soon-to-retire Liberal senator is threatening to vote against the Government ’ s school funding plan, which West Australian Liberal Chris Back told AM he would cross the floor unless Education Minister Simon Birmingham agreed to

Retiring Liberal Senator Chris Back has vowed to cross the floor and vote against the government ' s education funding package, if it doesn't better support Catholic schools .

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A Liberal senator is threatening to vote against the Government's school funding plan, which would make it harder for the Government to get its bill through the Senate.

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Divine intervention: Liberal senator Chris Back threatens to cross the floor for the Catholic school system. Photograph: Mike Bowers for the Guardian. Coalition Gonski 2 . 0 funding package in doubt as union digs in.

Education Minister Simon Birmingham says Gonski 2 . 0 will help schools in need. The Turnbull Government has defended its changes to the Gonski education funding model after secret figures reportedly showed Catholic schools would lose billions of dollars.

West Australian Liberal Chris Back told AM he would cross the floor unless Education Minister Simon Birmingham agreed to some changes, including a 12-month delay on implementation.

Senator Back has had a longstanding interest in education, especially the Catholic sector.

The Government wants to spend an extra $18.6 billion dollars on schools by the end of the decade. © Provided by ABC News The Government wants to spend an extra $18.6 billion dollars on schools by the end of the decade.

He said his main concern was that proposed changes to the distribution of school funding between different educational systems were not fair.

Senator Back retires from the Senate at the end of this week, which would make crossing the floor one of his final acts.

But he said he expected his concerns could be fixed.

"I'm confident that we can resolve it," he said.

Labor lashes potential school funding deal

  Labor lashes potential school funding deal Labor has struck out at reports the Greens could agree to a deal with the Turnbull government to pass the Gonski 2.0 schools funding model.Labor has lashed out at the prospect of the Turnbull government sealing a deal with the Greens on schools funding reforms, despite the fact it could result in fast-tracked spending and significantly more cash.

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You have exceeded the allowed page load frequency. AEU appearance at Senate Select Committee on School Funding ( Gonski ).

Senator Birmingham said there were "technical issues" being discussed with Senator Back and, "I am sure that in the end he will support what is a very significant additional investment into Catholic education across the country".

If Senator Back does refuse to vote for the plan, the Government would need 11 extra votes to get the plan through.

The nine Greens senators have not ruled out voting for Senator Birmingham's plan but are still negotiating on the Government's plan to spend an extra $18.6 billion on schools by the end of the decade.

Greens education spokeswoman Sarah Hanson-Young said the Coalition was offering to bring the timeline forward so more money would be spent sooner.

"It's encouraging of course that they've been prepared to make improvements," she said.

"My partyroom is going to have consider all of the details of this, how it works, work out whether it does deliver for public schools."

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Education Minister Simon Birmingham says Gonski 2 . 0 will help schools in need. The Turnbull Government has defended its changes to the Gonski education funding model after secret figures reportedly showed Catholic schools would lose billions of dollars.

Education Minister Simon Birmingham says Gonski 2 . 0 will help schools in need. The Turnbull Government has defended its changes to the Gonski education funding model after secret figures reportedly showed Catholic schools would lose billions of dollars.

As well as seeing the package brought forward, the Greens and the Nick Xenophon Team (NXT) want an independent watchdog set up to oversee how school funding is being allocated.

The body would, for example, make sure the Catholic system was distributing its pool of money between its schools fairly and based on need.

The Greens and the NXT also want the Commonwealth to force the states to better meet their school funding responsibilities.

NXT education spokeswoman Rebekha Sharkie said she understood why the Government wanted a quick outcome.

"Parents overwhelmingly say to me they like the idea of it being sector blind, so whether a school has a Catholic sign on the gate or a Lutheran sign on that gate, it's about the children within and the parents capacity to support that."

It is understood Department of Education modelling shows the Catholic school sector could be $700 million worse off over the next four years under the Government's plan than if the system stayed the same.

The Coalition argued it was redistributing the funding pool based on need.

Gonski 2.0: Government close to having enough votes to pass school funding package

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Education Minister Simon Birmingham says Gonski 2 . 0 will help schools in need. The Turnbull Government has defended its changes to the Gonski education funding model after secret figures reportedly showed Catholic schools would lose billions of dollars.

Federal Government Negotiating Gonski 2 . 0 With Senate Crossbench. Senior Liberal Minister Josh Frydenberg also defended the coalition' s education package, saying the coalition' s plan would boost funds for schools across the country.

Government data shows some top tier Catholic schools have been receiving nearly three times the taxpayer funding they are entitled to under the Gillard government's Gonksi school funding model.

But the National Catholic Education Commission's executive director and former Labor MP Christian Zahra argued the Coalition's changes would be anything but fair.

"There are a lot of low-fee Catholic schools which will have funding cut from them under the Minister's model," he said.

When asked whether that would only happen if the Catholic system did not redistribute money from its wealthy schools to its poorer ones, Mr Zahra said, "No, I think that's a misleading thing to say, there are many schools, right around Australia which are identified as being low-fee systemic Catholic schools, which under the Minister's model are going to have their funding decreased next year".

The Government said overall its plan would see a 3.5 per cent funding increase for each Catholic school student.

Debate on its legislation is set down for Wednesday.

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