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Lazarus exit may help reforms

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The decision by Glenn Lazarus to leave the Palmer United Party could be good for the government’s contentious university reforms, Education Minister Christopher Pyne says.

The coalition will press ahead this week with its higher education package, although Mr Pyne has so far failed to convince Senate crossbenchers to back fee deregulation.

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But on Sunday an optimistic Mr Pyne pointed to the shock resignation of Senator Lazarus, who has been a staunch opponent of the reforms.

He said this “might present opportunities” to convince sole PUP senator Dio Wang to back deregulation.

Senator Wang has in the past publicly indicated his support for university reform.

The measures were too important to give up trying to get them through the Senate, Mr Pyne told ABC Television.

“We will fight right through to the vote, which will probably be on Wednesday,” he said.

“I’m contemplating victory on Wednesday because it’s too important not to win for students and for universities and for Australia.”

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