Australian Greens Education spokesperson Senator Mehreen Faruqi has said that the Liberal National Government has condemned Australian higher education to a bleak future that will be difficult to salvage.
The costs of university education have been shifted substantially onto students and away from the Commonwealth, with dire consequences for student debt and public funding of university for years to come.
Senator Faruqi said:
“The Coalition’s hatred of public education is on full display today. Job-ready Graduates will do horrendous damage to our universities.
“One Nation and Centre Alliance have maimed our future by doing a grubby deal with the government to hurt students, staff and researchers.
“Now is not the time to lose hope. Now is the time to get angry, and get active.
“Our work for lifelong free university and TAFE, the abolition of all student debt and generational new investment in research is only made more urgent by this bill’s passage.
“We need to take a hard look at how our universities are run. Over the years we have seen a corporatisation of universities, the creeping influence of money, and power concentrated in the hands of overpaid Vice-Chancellors and management. Staff and students have been stripped of power and marginalised. This needs to change.
“The reality is cowardly Vice-Chancellors refused to go in to bat for their staff and students while presiding over devastating job losses and some of the country’s most casualised workplaces.
“We can never trust the Liberals to do right by higher education. But we should expect university leaders to fight for their communities and the value of higher education. Those who refuse to do this don’t deserve their power or positions.
“We won’t see a mass campaign for big picture reform without a restoration of university democracy that puts staff and students in control. The Greens are committed to supporting more democratic universities and building collective power on campuses.
“University management weren’t alone in their hesitation to oppose this attack on students and unis. It took Labor 75 days to confirm they would vote against these changes. I call on Labor to immediately commit to reversing these fee hikes and funding cuts should they win the next election.”