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Gonski vote splits National Party

Media Release
Penny Wright 14 Jul 2014

A widening split in the National Party over the Gonski school funding reforms has been highlighted by an Australian Greens motion in the Senate today.

Federal Nationals MPs opposed a motion supporting the New South Wales Nationals Annual General Conference vote in favour of the full six years of Gonski funding.

The motion, moved by Australian Greens spokesperson for schools Senator Penny Wright, came as Federal Nationals Senators mocked the Gonski reforms in a Senate Committee report.

Senator Wright said schools in rural and regional areas would be big losers as a result of the Abbott Government's decision to cut the majority of Gonski funding by slicing out the final two years of the funding agreement signed with the NSW State Government.

"It's very disappointing that the Nationals Senators voted against their own party, but worse still, that they voted against the interests of their own communities.

"Regional communities have been huge supporters of the Gonski reforms, because they were designed to help seriously underfunded local schools whose students lag behind city kids in literacy and numeracy by as much as two years."

The Senate Select Committee into Schools funding last Thursday handed down its final report, recommending the Government reinstate the full funding package. Nationals Senators did not sign up to the majority report.

"NSW Nationals Senator John Williams has signed off on a dissenting report which says the Gonski review was a 'failure', despite the clear endorsement of Gonski by his own party's members," Senator Wright said.

"That dissenting report also implies rural schools don't need more money by saying there's no correlation between extra investment in students and higher results.

"Ask any teacher and they'll tell you without the right resources, they can't do their job.

"The Australian Greens are very disappointed that federal Nationals MPs keep toeing the Coalition line, even though they know it will hurt their communities."

The full text of the motion, supported by the Senate, can be foundĀ here.

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