South Australian independent senator Lucy Gichuhi has given the Turnbull government and education minister Simon Birmingham the numbers they needs to break the deadlock on its schools funding package.
Gichuhi, who entered parliament this year following the resignation of Family First’s Bob Day, joins fellow crossbench senators Derryn Hinch and Jacqui Lambie and the Nick Xenophon Team and One Nation blocs, giving the government the 10 votes it needed to back the plan, with Labor opposed and the Greens still not saying which way they’ll vote.
It’s believed that fellow South Australian senator Nick Xenophon coaxed an additional $4.9 billion in funding from the government in addition to the $18.6 billion pledged in the Budget last month for a total of $23.5 billion. The funding will also speed up, with the money rolling out in six years, rather than the decade the government originally proposed.
The breakthrough for the government before the winter recess comes as The Australian reports that the Catholic education sector launched a campaign against the Gonski 2.0 plan into four Victorian marginal Liberal-held seats on Tuesday night, using 240,000 robo-calls.
More to come.
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