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Lee speaks against cuts to student support

Senator RHIANNON (New South Wales) (17:10): The higher education package that the government has put before us is very troubling because what it would do to Australia in the long term is extremely serious. It would rip billions of dollars of funding from our public universities, it would put enormous hardship on our students and their families and it would really change the make-up of the types of people who would have the opportunity to gain an education.

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Christopher Pyne’s elitist higher education reforms set to hurt Australia’s uni rankings

Lee Rhiannon 2 Oct 2014

The Greens say today’s Times Higher Education world rankings exposes the myth peddled by Minister Pyne that our universities can only be world class by ripping out government funding and massively increasing fees.

“Australian universities are already world class and as the Times Higher Education points out, the excellence and egalitarian nature of our university system is at risk from the Coalition’s $5 billion cuts and deregulation plans,” said Greens higher education spokesperson Senator Lee Rhiannon.

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Motion: Scholarships and Student Support

I move the Greens amendment circulated in Senator Siewert's name:

At the end of the motion, add:

but the Senate is of the opinion that, rather than punishing the vulnerable and most disadvantaged, revenue should be raised from big miners, bankers and polluters through:

(a) applying a "public insurance" levy on the big four banks that are too big to fail;

(b) removing fossil fuel subsidised fuel for big mining companies;

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Private higher education providers win - student debt skyrockets

Lee Rhiannon 23 Sep 2014

The Greens have condemned the Abbott government for pouring $449.9 million into the coffers of private for profit higher education providers instead of public universities - a move that will cause student debt to sky rocket.

"The University of Western Australia's decision to charge $48,000 for an undergraduate degree is the start of a series of price hikes for student fees that for some will mean a lifetime of debt," said Greens spokesperson for higher education Senator Lee Rhiannon.

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Labor backs Coalition student payment cuts - after signing pledge to block changes

Lee Rhiannon 22 Sep 2014

Responding to reports that Labor will support cuts to student payments in the Social Services and Other Legislation Amendment (2014 Budget Measures No. 2) Bill 2014, Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon said:

"It is disturbing that Labor has reaffirmed their support for the Coalition's student payment cuts, only weeks after signing a pledge to block changes to higher education.

"On August 11, Labor leader Bill Shorten signed a public pledge which said "I, Bill Shorten, pledge that the ALP will block proposed changes to higher education in the senate,..."

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Universities Australia should get off the Pyne bandwagon

Lee Rhiannon 9 Sep 2014

Commenting on reports that the university sector want the Senate minor parties and independents to cut a deal on Christopher Pyne's higher education reforms (, Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon said:

"Instead of putting pressure on Senators to support the Coalition's regressive and discriminatory changes to higher education, Universities Australia would better off calling on the government to boost public funding to universities.

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Liberal/National plan further damage public vocational education

Lee Rhiannon 8 Sep 2014

Greens higher education spokesperson Senator Lee Rhiannon said the Coalition government was on a destructive course of further cuts to public VET funding while setting up targeted benefits for certain industry sectors. ( "Bosses get more say on training" )

"The Abbott government has a narrow, rigid approach to vocational education that undermines the role of the public TAFE system in building an educated, skilled workforce that meets the needs of our rapidly changing society," Senator Rhiannon said.

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Pyne's business mates insult Senate crossbenchers on higher education cuts

Lee Rhiannon 2 Sep 2014

The Greens say the government's reliance on business people to build support for its unpopular higher education bill highlights that the cuts benefit those who will never need to worry about increased fees and higher student debt.

"Businessman David Gonski's comment that, ‘leaving the future of all of us to a few crossbenchers is sad' is out of touch with reality and offensive to democratically elected minor party and independent Senators," Greens spokesperson for higher education Senator Lee Rhiannon said.

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