Monday, 16 March 2015
Matters of Public Importance
I just want to make some brief comments in the sight of Labor's appalling scare campaign, which just continues. The vacuum that exists around this policy area from those opposite is astounding when the former Prime Minister took such a passion to this area and continued Labor's great tradition of reform, which includes bringing in the HECS system. I took to the streets then too, Senator Carr. I was the first cab off the rank that year when HECS was brought in. We took to the streets, but do you know what? What I thought was bad policy at 18 or 19 I now realise meant that a lot of my friends who could not afford to go to university or who did not go to grammar school could actually access higher education through the Chapman designed HECS system. It is that system and that enfranchisement that we are seeking to continue.
In terms of this side's commitment to research and to scientific endeavour and how it underpins not only our economic development and future, Senator Carr, but our social and environmental future, it was the National Party that actually set up the CSIRO—I bet you did not know that, Senator Carr—and it was the Howard government that funded the NCRIS system and set it up with $542 million over seven years, Senator Carr, in our Backing Australia's Ability package.