House debates

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Questions without Notice

Higher Education

3:03 pm

Photo of Andrew GilesAndrew Giles (Scullin, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

My question is to the Prime Minister. I refer to NATSEM modelling which shows that, under the Prime Minister's plan to saddle Australians with a 'debt sentence', a young woman studying to become a dentist would pay over $308,000 for her degree and it would take her 18 years to repay her HELP debt. Why does the Prime Minister want to saddle millions of Australians with a debt sentence?

3:04 pm

Photo of Tony AbbottTony Abbott (Warringah, Liberal Party, Prime Minister) Share this | | Hansard source

Because we think universities should be 'free to set student fees according to the market value of their degrees'. That means universities 'will have a strong incentive to compete on price and quality' and that:

Much-needed additional funding will be available to universities that capitalise on their strengths and develop compelling educational offerings. The result will be a better funded, more dynamic and competitive education sector.

That, I say to the member who asked the question, is a complete and absolute answer to the question that he posed—and that is the answer provided by the member for Fraser. That is his answer. You do not have many friends over there. Come over here; come on!

They did think, when they heard he had been to the ANU, that was a union. But no: it was a university where he actually learnt—on this issue at least—some good sense. I endorse his words.