Prime Minister Julia Gillard
Prime Minister Julia Gillard Rob Williams

Reluctance and outrage over Gillard's education reforms

HOPES of getting state-by-state support for her proposed education reforms faded quickly for Prime Minister Julia Gillard on Friday as state premiers tried out various ways of saying "no" at the COAG meeting in Canberra.

Some were reluctant, others were outraged.

Western Australian Premier Colin Barnett described the reforms as an "insult" to his state.

Victorian Premier Dennis Napthine and Queensland Premier Campbell Newman wanted more tweaking before they signed on the dotted line.

The National Times reported Northern Territory Chief Minister Adam Giles said it was a case of "death or Siberia" for his territory when it came to education.

The response from South Australia, Tasmania and the ACT was more receptive but in the end, the result was the same.

Ms Gillard appeared undeterred by the negative response, telling reporters later in the day that she was determined to "get this done".

Rather than admit no-one wanted to play, she said "no jurisdiction is in a position to sign on today", but promised all would be engaged in "further talks".

She said states which did not sign up by June 30 would continue to follow the former Howard Government's model.

When one reporter asked for a show of hands from premiers who would support the reforms, Ms Gillard said.

"We don't do shows of hands".

Under the National Education Reforms Agreement, the Commonwealth would allocate funding to states and territories on a needs basis, as determined through the Schooling Resources Standard.

Union chiefs have been quick to condemn the response from the states.

Australian Education Union President Angelo Gavrielatos accused the premiers of falling to put children first.He said the "education of every child was at stake" and urged state's to reconsider their support.



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