Higher education bill sinks: congratulations to the students

December 2, 2014​

​Susan Price, Socialist Alliance candidate in the March 2015 NSW elections, has welcomed the student protest in ​the Senate today ​organised by the NSW Education Action Network ​against higher education deregulation.

Students reminded the Senate today of the dire consequences of allowing the education deregulation bill through. They unfurled banners, and chanted their opposition to the government's cuts until they were escorted from the gallery.

"Students, again, are the conscience of the nation​", Ms Price said.​

"They are the ones who should be devoting what ends up being a very short time of their lives to focus on attaining their higher education. Instead, they are worried sick about what the Abbott government's budget cuts to higher education will mean for them and future generations", said Ms Price​ ​who has worked for many years at a higher education facility.

​Ms Price, a member of the National Tertiary Education Union, also paid tribute to fellow unionists who met with MPs today to press their opposition to the higher education de-regulation bill.

"Neither the students nor the union which covers academic and general staff are supporting any of the compromises being put by Education Minister Christopher Pyne, nor the PM.

"It's an outrage that Pyne, together with his wife, can spend $30,000 of tax payers money on a trip to London and Rome.

"Yet, I know of students who are wavering on whether or not to even apply for tertiary education because of fears that they will never be able to pay off the​ costs of the​ir degree.

​"I heard the howls of indignation from the Liberal-National side in the federal parliament yesterday about education 'not being free'.

"Of course, it's not free. Workers pay for it - and workers by and large want their kids to be able to undertake tertiary education without being priced out of the sector.

"Australia is a rich nation and does not need to cut billions about of the education budget. It's a question of priority: if you value an educated population, eduction should be free.

"Germany has just decided on this course. Australian can too. But first we must stand firm against any attempt to cut the education budget.

"We know what a two-tiered education system does: it privileges the rich students over the poor. This may be the sort of class society that Pyne aspires to, but it's not the type most workers do. And it's not what most students do either.

​"We also need to stop this, the TAFE system which is already under massive pressure will become even more corporatised.

"We won't have seen the last of the Abbott government's attempts to corporatise higher education, but today we can say we've had a win.

"Education is a right not a privilege."

Susan Price is standing for the Socialist Alliance for the NSW seat of Summer Hill.

Media release date: 
Tuesday, December 2, 2014