Christopher Pyne’s desperation has been palpable today as he took the extraordinary step of splitting his higher education deregulation legislation.

On top of the Minister’s humiliating retreat on holding research funding hostage today, Christopher Pyne has shown how far he is willing to go to implement his extreme agenda.  

The Liberal Government is 100 per cent committed to its unfair and unnecessary plan for $100,000 degrees.

Mr Pyne’s latest proposal simply divides the existing bill into two: one that would implement an unsustainable deregulation agenda; and the other would cut university funding by 20 per cent.

Crossbench Senators’ public comments indicate they remain opposed to both parts – whether they are combined or separate. Just like the overwhelmingly majority of Australians.

Yet the Abbott Government remains wedded to its short-sighted cuts to university funding.

They remain committed to their ideological uncontrolled experiment of privatising higher education.

They continue to hold the future of mid-career researchers hostage by failing to commit funding for the Future Fellowships program.

And they have refused to say where the funding for the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS) is now coming from – leaving the research sector worried that some other program is about to be slashed.

Australians will not be tricked into thinking this Government has abandoned $100,000 degrees.

The Government is proceeding with this legislation against the advice of experts and the objections of the Australian people.

Labor will continue to fight this short-sighted plan because it is the only fair thing to do.

We cannot with good conscience agree to any plan which will remove all restraints on the cost of a degree.

The Government’s plan remains bad for students, bad for taxpayers and bad for the country.

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