CANBERRA -- Federal Treasurer Scott Morrison has declared children's education has to be "beyond politics, beyond unions, beyond any sectional interests and beyond special deals".
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull insists the federal parliament has a "golden opportunity" now to bring the schools funding wars to an end.
But the 'Gonski 2.0' negotiations now have more participants than the factions fighting in Syria. The Greens are split and the Coalition appears to be fracturing, for a number of reasons, on this issue. There is a reported backdown for disgruntled Coalition types, but neither the Prime Minister nor the Minister will confirm any compromise.
There are claims on Tuesday of "dirty deals", "bogus pledges" and Scott Morrison has even praised the Greens for being, on occasions, more "economically responsible than the Labor Party".
Everything is finely balanced and it is increasingly likely the multi-billion dollar revamped schools funding package will not -- as the Government has been hoping -- pass the Senate this week before the long winter break.
Where are we at? Well, we think a noodle soup whiteboard is needed. Just to, you know, clear things up.
Labor - Out of the picture.
The Greens - Negotiating more money for the system. In particular, a faster funding growth for needier schools.
Some Greens – Against the entire 'Gonski 2.0' package.
Education unions – Want more money for the system, but are now targeting the Greens
WA education union - Supports the 'Gonski 2.0' deal IF states are compelled to meet funding obligations.
One Nation - Broadly supportive. Earlier, Brian Burston said One Nation would pass the 'Gonski 2.0' package as is, but Malcolm Roberts said on Tuesday the party will look at amendments.
Conservative Government MPs – A growing cohort (Chris Back, Eric Abetz and Kevin Andrews) is concerned about Catholic schools and vehemently against any "dirty or horrific" deal with the Greens. There are Liberal threats to cross the floor.
Chris Back - The Liberal Senator wants a stay and a 12-month review of the education system. Reportedly Back has got what he wanted, but neither the Prime Minister nor the Minister will confirm any compromise.
The Catholic Education Commission - Has lost confidence in the Turnbull Government. Also wants a stay and a new review of education funding.
Education Minister – Only out rightly criticising Labor for "funny money" promises and the education unions for running a "dishonest, misleading" campaign.
The Nick Xenophon Team – Negotiating, but like the Greens, NXT wants faster funding growth for needier schools.
Derryn Hinch – Supports the legislation.
David Leyonhjelm – Looking kindly at it after getting his own costings showing 'Gonski 2.0' will reduce funding to schools over ten years.
Jacqui Lambie – Undecided.
Lucy Gichuhi – Unknown.
Cory Bernardi - Is opposed to the package as a "bogus pledge" by the Turnbull Government and has attack his former party for going "Labor-lite".
The deal as it stands is still $18.6 billion over 10 years, including a five percent increase for public schools, but all eyes are on what will -- or can -- be offered to various groups get the package across the line.
Asked on Tuesday about his confidence in getting the deal through the Senate this week, the Education Minister could only say he would "just keep working" and that he was "hopeful".
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