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Fighting for free education: What happened, Joe?

Media Release
Lee Rhiannon 28 May 2014

The Australian Greens spokesperson for higher education, Senator Lee Rhiannon said that Joe Hockey's comments in support of well-funded and accessible public higher education, made when he was a 22 year old student activist, had more economic credibility than his actions as Australia's Treasurer.


"As a student, Joe Hockey clearly recognised the importance of accessible, well-funded and high quality public higher education," Senator Rhiannon said.

"He effectively was backing the current Greens policy of free education. At the time he referred to funding cuts and deregulation of student fees as a ‘suicidal' policy.

"Under Mr Hockey's current policies, students will pay a lot more than the $250 he was protesting against in 1987.

"The Coalition's plan for higher education will see degrees skyrocket in price and will result in interest bills running into the tens of thousands of dollars.

"Women and low-income graduates will be the hardest hit under these regressive and unfair changes.

"Australia is close to the bottom of the list when it comes to public funding for higher education, according to the OECD.

"The OECD has estimated that the net public return on investment per graduate is US$80,000. That is about three times the amount of public investment per student, on average.

"22 year old Joe Hockey got it right. A well-funded, accessible and free public higher education system is crucial to Australia's economic success," Senator Rhiannon said.


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