Comments from university Vice-Chancellors reported in The Australian today expose the Abbott Government’s dogged insistence that its unfair higher education package enjoys universal support as a complete sham.
More than half of the 25 Vice-Chancellors who provided comment are either openly critical of, or express serious concern with, Mr Pyne’s plan B package announced yesterday.
The Education Minister has acted dishonestly by saying there has been “an avalanche of support for the Government's higher education reforms” when there most clearly has not.
Mr Pyne has been told straight out that his higher education reform plans remain fundamentally unfair.
The Government’s continued attempts to blame the Senate for blocking the first iteration of its disastrous package are a lame attempt to distract from its own culpability.
Mr Abbott, having promised ‘masterly inactivity’ prior to the election, is now trying to foist the most radical changes to higher education in this country’s history on the Australian people.
The contempt this Government has shown for the sector, the parliamentary process and the electorate by reintroducing yesterday the twin of a bill that was defeated less than 24 hours before is breathtaking.
The Government is presenting this package as a fait accompli, and in an act of cowardice and government-by-stealth is refusing to take it to an election because it knows the majority of Australians will not support it.
Mr Pyne now looks set to proceed with a taxpayer funded advertising campaign to try and sell the reform plans he hid from the electorate at the election.
No amount of false advertising from the Government will fool students, staff, Vice-Chancellors or Australian families: they know this is a dud deal.
Labor will fight the privatisation of our universities and $100,000 degrees no matter how many variations of the same rotten plan Mr Pyne puts forward.
“I am glad that the original legislation with massive cuts and the additional cost burden on students was not passed by the Senate. (And) I am disappointed that even the new concessions fall far short of what is required.”
- Professor Attila Brungs, University of Technology Sydney, The Australian, 4 December 2014
“Deregulation, if implemented hastily, is likely to have many adverse outcomes both for students and for universities. What the Bill most needs is a mechanism to ensure that student fees do not rise substantially if fees are uncapped.”
- Professor Linda Kristjanson, Swinburne University, The Australian, 4 December 2014
“Research intensive regional universities have been and remain the ‘blind spot’ of the fee deregulation debate.”
- Professor Caroline McMillen, University of Newcastle, The Australian, 4 December 2014
A complete list of comments was published on The Australian's website PDF: What the VCs said
THURSDAY, 4 DECEMBER 2014