The Greens have launched their campaign for ‘Free Higher Education' to set out the alternative to Abbott government's deregulation plan for public universities.
Campaign website: www.freehighereducation.com.au
"We launched our campaign in a Sydney pub room packed with university students, young Greens members, unionists, TAFE campaigners and high school students," said Greens spokesperson for tertiary, technical and further education Senator Lee Rhiannon.
"Writer, activist and feminist Van Badham and Sydney University SRC president Kyol Blakeney spoke passionately in support of the campaign at last night's launch.
"It is time to shift the debate on the future of higher education away from deregulation.
"Increasing numbers of countries are introducing free higher education.
"Tuition-free higher education is a reality in countries such as Cyprus, Denmark, Greece, Malta, Slovenia, Finland, Sweden, Scotland, Norway, Turkey, Germany, Iceland, Scotland and Brazil.
"These countries are reaping the social and economic dividends of this approach. Free education will become more and more critical in assisting nations meet the 21st century challenges of climate change, ending poverty and building liveable communities.
"We have international students from Germany and Netherlands studying for free in Australia. This is possible as there are no fees in their own country.
"The Greens are working for a restructuring of university funding. We support the phasing in of free universal education from preschool through to higher education.
"This is the way to ensure Australia has a world-class higher education system and that our TAFEs and universities are the nation's engine rooms of cultural and economic innovation.
"It is shameful that a rich country like Australia, which gives billions of dollars to big polluters, under-funds public higher education compared to the OECD average.
"For people from disadvantaged and marginalised communities and low socio-economic backgrounds, education is the key to creating opportunities for future life choices.
"The Greens are working to build a broad based campaign in support of free higher education.
"Education should be a human right, not a privilege and the only way we can ensure this is if it is free," said Senator Lee Rhiannon.
Contact: Brami Jegan 0487 350 880