Monday, 9 November 2015
Education Legislation Amendment (Overseas Debt Recovery) Bill 2015, Student Loans (Overseas Debtors Repayment Levy) Bill 2015; Second Reading
It gives me great pleasure as the Chair of the Senate Education and Employment Legislation Committee to stand here and speak to the government delivering on the Senate doing its work. That is what is so exciting as a chair of a Senate committee—when we work very hard on some of these reports into legislation, we come up with a set of recommendations and those recommendations go on to be adopted by government. During the course of the investigation by my committee into the Higher Education and Research Reform Amendment Bill 2014, the committee report recommended, at recommendation 4:
The committee recommends that the government explore avenues to recover HELP debts of Australians residing overseas.
I will go into the detail of that a little later—fantastic.
Senator Simms, I know you are new to this place, but I tell you what: it was a little frustrating to sit here and be lectured by the Greens on red tape, to be lectured by the Greens on fairness, to be lectured by the Greens about standing up—through you, Mr Acting Deputy President—and to be lectured by a Greens senator on regulation and impost as if somehow the Department of Education and Training and the Australian Taxation Office will suddenly be donning a hat and dark sunglasses, taking a dog and racing around the world searching for those intrepid graduates who are not paying back their HECS debts. I am sorry; that just fails the pub test. It might pass all right down in Fitzroy or whatever the fancy inner-urban suburb of Adelaide is—