Time to pack in Pyne package

Palmer United Party leader Clive Palmer’s categorical statement that his party will not vote for deregulation of university fees in the Senate is the latest signal for the Abbott Government to withdraw its unfair higher education package, Shadow Higher Education Minister Senator Kim Carr said today.

“Without the Senate’s support for his unfair changes and deregulation, Pyne’s package is a dead duck,” Senator Carr said.

“Christopher Pyne needs to go back to the drawing board and start over.

“Australian students already pay among the highest fees in the OECD and Pyne’s plan to slug them harder with skyrocketing fees and lifelong debt is both unfair and short-sighted.

“Australians do not want to see young people paying $100,000 for their degrees or to follow in the footsteps of the US where student debt now exceeds credit card debt.

“But Mr Pyne’s plan to cut up to 37 per cent from course funding, to allow universities to set their own fees and to charge up to 6 per cent compound interest on student debts is the recipe for that sort of a disaster.

“No matter how much Mr Pyne goes on about his ability to persuade the cross-bench senators to support his plan, the fact is it is fatally flawed and needs to be ditched sooner rather than later.”

Mr Palmer’s statement comes after Christopher Pyne said at the National Press Club last week that he was heartened that Mr Palmer had not said he would vote against the higher education package.

“In fact, Mr Palmer has repeatedly ruled out supporting the package and, as the latest reiteration of his position clearly shows, Mr Pyne is trying to con people into thinking that most of his proposals will get up in the Senate,” Senator Carr said.

“What possible reason does he have to think people will change their minds, other than to play a giant confidence trick on the Australian people?”

SUNDAY, 10 AUGUST 2014


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