The Abbott Government continues to insult the intelligence of the Australian people. After the humiliating defeat of its deeply unfair higher education bill in the Senate yesterday, it has introduced another equally flawed and unfair higher education bill into the House of Representatives today.
Christopher Pyne’s plan B for higher education is almost a carbon copy of his plan A and will still see $100,000 degrees become the reality for Australian students.
“The Bill will effectively be nine-tenths of the previous Bill…”
[Christopher Pyne, Press Conference, 3 December 2014]
Today’s bill will still see a 20 per cent cut in funding for universities and deregulation, which together will hike up fees and saddle students with a lifetime of debt.
The Abbott Government is cutting the guts out of Australia’s universities and making our young people pay for its liberal ideological vandalism.
The Education Minister is deaf to the chorus of complaint from students, academic staff and even Vice-Chancellors who universally oppose the 20 per cent cut.
"The amendments to be proposed (in the new bill) are unlikely to go far enough for either the university sector or the cross bench."
[Belinda Robinson, Universities Australia, ABC NewsRadio 3 December 2014]
Mr Pyne is plowing ahead at the expense of a university sector that wasn’t broken until he chose to fix it – creating a crisis of his own making by ripping away funding for our tertiary institutions.
He is leading people up the garden path in his determination to ram these disastrous changes through.
Last night Mr Pyne publicly promised Universities Australia that:
“We will have a $300 million dollar transition fund for universities over the next three years in order to transition over to the new system.”
[Christopher Pyne, Speech to Universities Australia, 2 December 2014]
This morning $200 million of that has disappeared into the ether with the plan B bill only making provision for a $100 million fund over three years.
Continuing his preference for spin over substance, Mr Pyne expressed confidence that his new package would be passed, despite crossbench comments directly contradicting this.
"If it's got any indication of cutting funds to the universities and the deregulation of university fees which will then give potential to increase university fees, I won't be voting for it."
[Senator Glen Lazarus, ABC Radio National, 3 December 2014]
“We will never vote for the education bill which privatises education.”
[Clive Palmer, Sky News, 3 December 2014]
In fact the Minister has managed to speak only one truth today, in itself surprising for such a deceitful Government:
JOURNALIST: The information I think that parents want most is what increase there will be in fees.
PYNE: There won't be any. The Bill didn't pass.
[Christopher Pyne, Press conference, 3 December 2014]
Labor will keep fighting this package, every step of the way.
WEDNESDAY, 3 DECEMBER 2014