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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 7 Hansard (16 August) . . Page.. 2274..

MS PORTER (Ginninderra) (5.15), in reply: I would like to thank members for their participation in this debate. As I said before, I am very concerned about the welfare of international students. I thank Dr Foskey for her concern for them and for her additional remarks and points about how isolating it can be without the extra support and the recognition that the student associations afford these students.

Like Dr Foskey, I am very concerned about the level of fees. I listened to, I think, the same radio program that she heard this morning and I was staggered to learn that some students are expected to outlay or go into hock for what I thought was an amount of up to half a million dollars for one course. Apparently some university chancellors are calling for more federal funding for universities to allow them to offer lower fee paying courses to students as their universities are not reaching their quotas. Of course, if that is the case, this is very damning for the federal government. The effects of these Howard policies, with the lack of funding for universities and the VSU legislation, are clear to see. I agree with Ms Gallagher that these policies are typical of what the Howard government is doing.

As Mrs Dunne said, we are here to talk about international students and to celebrate the fact that we enjoy the presence of so many international students here in Canberra. We appreciate the extent to which they add to the life of Canberra and to the life of our universities and in fact increase the educational experience of our young people. I would like to say how grateful I am that we have so many international students here. But in closing, I would emphasise that this is all under threat because of the VSU legislation and the high fees that students face.

Question resolved in the affirmative.


MRS DUNNE (Ginninderra) (5.17): I move:

That the ACT Government extend the consultation and decision period on school closures until the end of March 2007, and further that no school closures occur before December 2007.

This is it. This is what this government has been trying to avoid for most of the day, but we will get some of the way through this. The pain will not go away as a result of the filibustering that has gone on today. The motion the Liberal opposition is moving today is an exact replica of the amendment to the controversial general resolution No 6 moved on the 28th at the ACT ALP conference.

Ms Gallagher: The Chris Uhlmann idea.

MRS DUNNE: Actually, Chris got it from me, but do not worry about that. We decided to do that long before Chris wrote about it.

Ms Gallagher: You were one step ahead.

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