The funding bill: all over bar the voting

The Senate committee report on the bill to change funding rates for undergraduate places was published Friday with just one obscure but important change proposed

No amendments but one suggestion:  The government controlled committee is not for turning on the bill, rejecting all amendments. But there is one concession in the report, a recommendation that the legislation be reviewed in two years.

This is especially relevant given warnings that the new funding rates for teaching in the bill are based on inadequate analysis. As Vin Massaro points out, the changed funding levels for teaching appear to assume the average spend is representative of the actual cost, “despite the fact that the proportion of costs attributable to teaching range from 39 per cent to 73 per cent,” (CMM July 15).

What now: That the government is going with the bill as-is may mean it accepts the legislation is sunk in the Senate, or it thinks it has the numbers. Labor, the Greens and Rex Patrick (Independent-SA) are opposed. Pauline Hanson and Malcolm Roberts (Pauline Hanson’s One Nation-Queensland) are expected to back the government. If so, Education Minister Dan Tehan needs one vote. It could come from Jacqui Lambie (Independent-Tasmania) or Stirling Griff (Centre Alliance-SA).  If Senator Lambie takes advice from the University of Tasmania she will back the bill. As for Senator Griff, if he is convinced by evidence to the committee from the vice chancellors of SA’s three public universities, he won’t.