Senate facing late night Gonski debate

MALCOLM Turnbull has secured enough support from the crossbench to pass the federal government’s school reforms.

The Senate is set for another late night marathon debate to pass the Gonski 2.0 schools package and needs 10 crossbench senators to get the package through the Upper House.

It’s relying on the Nick Xenophon Team, One Nation, Derryn Hinch, Jacqui Lambie and Lucy Gichuhi who are all voting with the government.


The Greens were willing to negotiate but found themselves out in the cold, and Labor is likely to turn down the vote.

The government has extended sitting hours, forcing the Senate to sit indefinitely today until the legislation is passed.

Some headway was made last night night with several amendments clearing the Senate before it adjourned at midnight.

The federal government insists it will allow as much debate on the bill as necessary, vowing not to gag debate.

If it gets the green light the new deal will mean schools receive an extra $5 billion over the next 10 years.

Under-funded schools will reach funding targets in six years instead of 10 and $50 million will be spent on a transition fund for Catholic and independent schools over 12 months.

The government has also agreed to a new watchdog conducting a review of the schooling resource standard, which is the basis of the new needs-based funding model, and a guarantee the states won’t withdraw their funding as more federal money flows through.

But the National Catholic Education Commission says a meeting with Education Minister Simon Birmingham last night night failed to ease its concerns about the plan.

It’s urging senators to reject the legislation, insisting it still poses an unacceptable risk to Catholic schools.