The Senate today voted to send the Abbott Government’s retrograde higher education bill to an inquiry reporting on 28 October.
The Senate crossbench voted with Labor to reject the Government’s attempt to ram through a woefully inadequate inquiry to report on 22 September, opting instead to hold a proper inquiry.
The Government had proposed the committee receive submissions and take evidence from 15 government witnesses all in the space of two weeks – not to mention witnesses called by the opposition and crossbench.
This for a bill which has 325 pages of material and which goes to the most radical changes to the higher education system in this country in 40 years.
Two weeks for a bill which is completely at odds with what the Prime Minister said would happen before the election, and on which there was no consultation before it was announced.
The Senate has a right to know clause by clause what the implications of this Act are and nothing but a proper inquiry will suffice.
This is one of the fundamental principles of the Senate as a house of review and of the Senate committee system.
The Senate will be able to consider the Bill following the committee’s report from the 28 of October. It will then be up to the Government to bring on the debate before the end of the year.
THURSDAY, 4 SEPTEMBER 2014