The Australian Greens today expressed their solidarity with the demands of students and staff opposing the Coalition government’s $5.8 billion cuts to higher education.
“The Greens will vote against every one of the cuts to the higher education budget,” said Greens higher education spokesperson Senator Lee Rhiannon.
“If the Labor Party and the Palmer United Party vote with the Greens we can defeat these cuts in the Senate and stop them from being legislated.
“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.
“As this campaign grows, we will stand alongside students and staff in their calls for a well-funded, high quality and accessible public education system.
“The Greens have long supported free education and it is good to see some Labor MP’s as well as the Palmer United Party backing these calls.” Senator Rhiannon said.
“Treasury has previously costed the Greens’ policy of free higher education at $2.5 billion a year,” said Senator Rhiannon said.