Herald Sun, 18 Mar 2015
By Ellen Whinnett and Annika Smethurst
Pyne vows to resurrect fees plan
THE Federal Government’s bid to allow universities to set their own fees was defeated last night when the Senate voted down the higher education reform Bill.
Crossbench senators Nick Xenophon, Jacqui Lambie, Ricky Muir, Glenn Lazarus and Dio Wang joined Labor and the Greens to block Education Minister Christopher Pyne’s proposals.
Senators John Madigan, Bob Day and David Leyonhjelm supported the Government but the vote was lost 30-34.
Mr Pyne vowed to reintroduce the Bill and have another attempt at reforming Australia’s university sector.
“Few dispute that without reform, Australia’s higher education system will steadily decline,” he said.
“We will, therefore, bring back the higher education reform package for the Parliament to consider. We will not give up. This reform is too important,” he said.
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said Labor would never support the “deeply unfair policy which will see Australians from ordinary working families locked out of getting a higher education”.
The Group of Eight leading universities body, which had supported the proposals, said: “It has been sad and depressing to see a legislative package so crucial to our nation’s future become a political football.”
The Government has six sitting days left to get its controversial Budget reforms from last year through the Senate before Parliament rises ahead of this year’s Budget.
Assistant Treasurer Josh Frydenberg told Parliament yesterday that about $30 billion of reform savings were still deadlocked in the Senate.
But in some good news for the Coalition, its metadata laws will be passed, after the Labor caucus agreed to support the laws in return for government support of Labor amendments to protect journalists’ sources.
The decision was not an easy one for Labor, sparking a 40-minute debate in the party room yesterday and being taken to a vote. The Left had deep concerns about some of the privacy aspects and what some perceived as a power grab by security agencies.
Source: Herald Sun