Labor urges separate bill for non-controversial higher ed measures

Labor will vote against the Higher Education and Research Reform Bill in its entirety.

Labor will not countenance a plan that would slash university funding, lead to $100,000 degrees, and impose a real interest rate on HECS.

Labor will not vote for the Americanisation of Australia’s world-class university sector.

Labor calls on the Abbott Government to withdraw this bill. To start again. To genuinely consult universities, students and Australians.

At the same time, we urge the Government to introduce separate legislation to implement the small number of non-controversial measures that have been included in the bill, but are not part of Christopher Pyne’s package.

These minor amendments are required to:

  • extend HECS-HELP eligibility to certain New Zealand citizens;
  • update the Australian Research Council Act to give effect to its new annual funding rates; and
  • update references to Federation University (formerly the University of Ballarat).

Labor announced the extension of HECS-HELP eligibility for New Zealand citizens who hold Special Category Visas in its 2013-14 Budget.

This is a very important measure for affected individuals and they do not deserve to have their future held hostage by a reckless and short-sighted government.

Labor will introduce a Private Member’s Bill to implement this policy change if the Government refuses to split its current bill.


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