Labor Senators call for rejection of Higher Education Bill

Labor Senators today called for Parliament to reject the Abbott Government’s Higher Education and Research Reform Amendment Bill (HERRA) 2014.

In a dissenting report on the Education and Employment Committee’s inquiry into the Bill, Labor Senators described the Abbott Government’s proposals for massive funding cuts, deregulation of fees and real interest rates on student loans as the antithesis of the Australian ethos of a fair go.

Shadow Higher Education Minister Kim Carr said the report found that the Government’s plan to Americanise the Australian university system would jeopardise young Australians’ access to higher education and undermine the nation’s economic prosperity.

“Australians believe, justly, that fairness in higher education is under threat as a result of the proposals outlined in this Bill,” the report said.

“The provisions in this legislation will see $100,000 degrees become the reality as Australians deal with unprecedented education costs, and crippling debt which will take decades to pay off.”

“Australia’s university system is an invaluable national asset, a powerful enabler of human potential and a creator of national wealth.”

Deputy Chair of the Committee Senator Sue Lines said that evidence presented to the inquiry clearly demonstrated that universities were only supporting aspects of the Abbott Government’s plan under duress.

“Contrary to claims by Education Minister Christopher Pyne, not one vice-chancellor had given the package unequivocal support” she said.

“The Abbott Government’s proposals put the future of the university system, our young people and our economy at risk. They should be rejected entirely,” Senator Lines said.


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