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Greens launch campaign to fight Coalition's attack on students

Media Release
Lee Rhiannon 21 May 2014

The Australian Greens spokesperson for higher education, Senator Lee Rhiannon, today announced the party would launch a campaign to oppose the Coalition's $5.8 billion worth of cuts to the higher education sector.

"The Greens will vote against every one of the cuts to the higher education budget," Senator Rhiannon said.

"If the Labor Party and the Palmer United Party vote with us we can defeat these cuts in the Senate and stop them from being legislated.

"The Palmer United Party campaigned on a platform of free university education and opposing cuts to public education.

"The Greens will be working with students, staff and the broader community to make sure PUP and Labor stick to their word and vote against these massive cuts.

"It is clear that the biggest burden of the cuts, including massive fee increases, and regressive changes to the HECS repayment system, will fall on low-income graduates as well as working women.
"Students should not be forced to pay more for their degrees while the government cuts funding to the public sector in order to fund private, for-profit education companies.

"Students in the United States currently graduate with $29,000 of debt on average. The Coalition's own higher education policy advisor, Andrew Norton, has calculated that under the Coalition's proposed system an engineering student in Australia would graduate with $61,000 of debt, an arts student with $47,000 in debt and a teaching student with almost $60,000 in debt.

"The Greens will stand alongside students and staff at tomorrow's National Day of Action against university funding cuts protests across the country.

"This week we will kick off our campaign against these cuts by starting regular doorknocking and calling Australians impacted by these changes and asking them to get involved and take a stand for well-funded, high quality and accessible public education." Senator Rhiannon said.

Senator Rhiannon will be addressing the rally and will be available for comment.

National Day of Action Protests
WHERE: University of Technology Sydney
WHEN: 2:30pm
Contact: 0487 350 880



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