Senate debates

Tuesday, 20 September 2011


Higher Education Legislation Amendment (Student Services and Amenities) Bill 2010; Second Reading

5:19 pm

Photo of Sean EdwardsSean Edwards (SA, Liberal Party) Share this | Hansard source

I rise to speak on the Higher Education Legislation Amendment (Student Services and Amenities) Bill 2010. This bill is nothing more than an attempt by the Labor Party to roll back a good Howard government policy so that it can curry favour with left-leaning student unions.

We know what happens when the Labor Party, handcuffed to the Greens, attempt to roll back good policy from the Howard era. We see it with their lack of border security and in many other facets of the way in which the Australian public has to live its life.

This issue of student services and amenities fees, also called student union fees, has been before this parliament on many occasions, most recently with a similar bill in 2009, which was defeated in the Senate in August of that year. The second bill lapsed at the end of the 42nd Parliament. My friend and colleague Senator Brett Mason tells me that this has been coming backwards and forwards since the 1970s. It is a bit like going back to the future.

The student union fee push is not only driven by leftist activists but is also aided and abetted by like-minded university administrators, who see the great bulk of students as a lucrative source of funding for the services that once upon a time were provided by the universities themselves.

This bill will force students to pay for services they may not want. These are services that some cannot use and many do not want to pay for. We on this side do not believe students should be forced to pay for services that they would not or cannot use.


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