House debates

Thursday, 14 May 2020

Statements by Members

Higher Education

1:54 pm

Photo of Andrew GilesAndrew Giles (Scullin, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Minister for Cities and Urban Infrastructure) Share this | | Hansard source

University jobs are worth saving and they are worth fighting for. I'm proud to be part of a Labor team that's working with university administration, unions and student activists to save these important jobs. But the Morrison government has been doing exactly the opposite. It is pushing university workers into unemployment queues. The last time I was here, I argued for a wage subsidy. I argued to keep the connection between workers and their work through this pandemic. I'm pleased the government listened, but there are enormous holes in the JobKeeper scheme, and the government must do more. The shadow minister, the member for Sydney, reminded us today that there are 21,000 jobs at risk in higher education because of the ideological pig-headedness of this government and its contempt for higher education and the people who work in it. Don't they know how important our universities are? Don't they value their staff, their students, the research and the contribution to our export earnings? We know that's not the case because the minister and the Prime Minister tell international students, who paid good money to study here, to go home, and they have left them without income support. But I am here, with my colleagues—in particular, the member for Jagajaga, the member for Cooper and the member for Bendigo—to stand up for university jobs, particularly those at La Trobe University, which has been treated so badly. Our communities won't stand for that. They know that we will keep fighting for jobs at La Trobe and at universities everywhere.