Senate debates

Tuesday, 11 October 2011


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

1:17 pm

Photo of Brett MasonBrett Mason (Queensland, Liberal Party, Shadow Minister for Universities and Research) Share this | Hansard source

In my quiet way, I would like to make a further contribution on this important bill, the Higher Education Legislation Amendment (Student Services and Amenities) Bill 2010. Before the apparent sad passage of this bill, I just want to remind senators of what this means for students—in other words, those who are footing the bill. This is a tax on students, forcing them to pay for services that many will not or cannot use. It will be levied on all students: the rich and the poor; the old and the young; the black and the white; part-time students and full-time students; external students and internal students; men and women—all irrespective of whether they will or are able to access the student services that they are being asked to pay for.

I am not one for technology, I am afraid, but I have been receiving tweets in relation to this bill. I am moving into the 21st century as best I can. I received a tweet from 'mickthejones', and he said: 'I'm never on campus. Why should I have to pay for others' entertainment?' I think 'mickthejones' asks a very good question that goes to the heart of this bill. Then there is Mr 'gilalbertson', and he says in his tweet to me: 'If you have to rely on legislated theft for funding, you should probably explore alternative revenue-raising methods'—again, a most appropriate and apposite tweet. I have to say they go to the core of this debate.

This bill is a subsidy for largely middle-class, fashionable, left-of-centre student activists. That is who is being subsidised here. The disadvantaged students that I mentioned in my previous contribution are out working. They are working in the pizza shops, they are working in the laundrettes, they are working in the car lots and they are driving the trucks, while the middle-class, left-of-centre activists are in the union court protesting about causes that most students do not agree with. The only place on earth that these people are popular is on university campuses.


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