Christopher Pyne’s shameless attempt to blackmail the Senate is a disgrace.
Threatening to cut research funding to our universities unless the Senate passes his deeply unfair changes to higher education is extortion.
This blatant and dishonourable tactic reveals just how callous, short-sighted and ideologically driven these changes are.
Tony Abbott and Christopher Pyne are ripping away the opportunity of a university education and a good job from young Australians.
Tony Abbott promised “no cut to education” – any cut to research funding would be yet another broken promise.
International university rankings are based on research – deep cuts to research programs would be disastrous for the reputation of Australian universities.
Christopher Pyne has repeatedly claimed the reason for the Government's changes is to lift the international standing of Australian universities.
To cut research funding therefore becomes self-defeating.
Not only does it defeat the purported purpose of the changes, it exposes the fact that Christopher Pyne’s agenda is driven entirely by short-sighted objectives around funding cuts and ideology, not by any positive long-term vision for Australia's future.
The Government also fails to understand that cutting significant parts of the research agenda requires legislation.
Appropriation bills cannot be used to subvert other legislative instruments such as the Australian Research Council Act.
As the Government has already found with its recent attempt in the Senate to privatise public assets, this tactic is doomed to failure.
Assumptions that appropriation bills will "sail through" the Senate unchallenged are wrong – appropriation bills can be amended.
Labor will fight these changes every step of the way.
Labor will fight the Americanisation of our universities, we will fight $100,000 degrees.
A degree shouldn’t be a debt sentence – it should be the doorway to opportunity and prosperity for young Australians, and the nation.
SUNDAY, 24 AUGUST 2014