Just 48 hours after its announcement, the Gonski education reform package is dangerously poised.
This is a highly symbolic moment for the Gillard government. It is surely the last major reform that the government will enact before the election, and for Gillard it's a signature reform. It also has broad public and industry support.
And yet the debate so far has been dominated by the cuts to tertiary funding proposed to pay for it. Even the architect of the original reforms, David Gonski, has criticised the government over these.
Victoria, NSW and QLD are unlikely to sign up to anything at COAG on Friday, preferring to wait until the final June 30 deadline, while WA Premier Colin Barnett maintains he won't ever sign the current deal.
Christopher Pyne says the Coalition won't support the reforms unless all states sign on, which would leave the Gillard government again relying on the Greens and crossbenchers to pass legislation.
This issue will drag on, and instead of providing a victory the government can proudly take to the next election, it will likely join the long list of well-intentioned reforms the government can't sell for love or money.
Nick Feik Politicoz Editor
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“Don’t call it Gonski, we’re told: it’s the National Plan for School Improvement. Fair enough. Let’s call it Gonski Lite, because that’s what it really is. But full-strength or light, this is one of the big reforms Australia needs to carry out to make the most of its future. ”