Page 965 - Week 03 - Thursday, 19 March 2015

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federal member for Fraser, who said, on deregulated fees, that there is no reason to think that it will adversely affect poorer students. That was imagining our future from Andrew Leigh in 2004. Andrew Leigh knew. Paul Keating knew. Only those opposite think that there is no role here for reform.

We have already seen that a number of the universities—for instance, Queensland University of Technology—have now published their fee structures, showing that the scare campaign that is being run is false.

It is important to get on the record quotes from those who actually know what they are talking about. Let me quote from Senator Seselja’s speech in the Senate. He said that Universities Australia, the Regional Universities Network, the Australian Technology Network, Innovative Research Universities, the Group of Eight, TAFE Directors Australia, the Australian council of private education and teaching and the Council of Private Higher Education are all supporting the higher education reforms, with some amendments. The only exception on that point seems to be the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Canberra.

We know that the business community sees that there is some need for reform, with groups like ACCI and the BCA also calling for it.

Universities Australia said:

The peak body representing Australia’s universities calls on the Parliament to support the deregulation of Australian universities with changes to the Government’s proposals that will assure affordability for students and taxpayers.

Professor Paul Craig of the Australian Catholic University said:

Rejecting the package wholesale is not a vote for university equity. It is a vote against reality.

That doyen of Labor politicians Professor Gareth Evans, now the Chancellor of ANU and former Labor minister, with his vice-chancellor, Ian Young, said:

The bottom line is that if Australia is to develop universities which can truly compete internationally, that can provide an excellent educational experience for students and provide outstanding graduates of the kind that are so vital to our nation’s future, we have to not only allow, but encourage, diversity by removing constraints that prevent innovation.

If you want diversity, Chief Minister, take the word of Gareth Evans and Ian Young: if you want that, you must remove the constraints that prevent innovation.

Canberra is a city whose foundation was clear. It was right there from the start. This was to be a city of governance, education and the arts. We have concentrated on governance; I think we have done pretty well out of it. In that regard it has certainly proved its worth to the ACT as a place to live and in relation to its economy. But there is an opportunity here with education and with the arts.

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