Problematic crossbencher Jacqui Lambie has announced she won’t vote for the government’s proposed changes to uni funding because it “makes university life harder for poor kids”, which makes today one of those miraculous days where Jacqui Lambie is very much the voice of reason.
In true Lambie style, she roasted the government’s proposal to the spit. The bill basically involves the government deciding what people should study by shifting funding around.
For example, some arts students could see their fees double (while law and commerce fees will also likely increase) in order to create around 39,000 cheaper placers in courses like teaching, nursing, maths, science and engineering.
Oh, and the overall government contribution to uni funding will fall from 58% to 52%.
“I’ll be damned if I’m going to be the vote that tells the country that poor people don’t get dream jobs,” Lambie said in a statement.
“The ones who get pushed out of their preferred courses based on price are the ones who are watching every dollar, knowing they might need that money down the track.
“Instead, we’re telling them, no matter how talented, no matter how determined, to dream a little cheaper.”
I’ve gone and taken the time to do my homework about the Government’s uni bill, but the more I look at it, the less it makes any sense to me. Here’s my statement: pic.twitter.com/zoV9OFQOYa
— Jacqui Lambie (@JacquiLambie) September 30, 2020
Labor, the Greens and independent Senator Rex Patrick already opposed the bill, and with Lambie’s announcement, it’s all down to one senator: Centre Alliance Senator Stirling Griff.
One Nation are backing the government on this one, after negotiating discounts for students who pay upfront, which Lambie slammed as “sweetheart little discounts.”
“Nothing about this indulgence [negotiated by One Nation] could be considered to be helpful to the battler,” she added.
Lambie also skewered other aspects of the bill, including the fact it would remove funding from students who fail more than half of their first-year subjects.
She explained how this would disproportionately affect people unable to study full time or on-campus, students who work, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
“Focusing on first-year failures just bakes in disadvantage,” Lambie added.
Centre Alliance Senator Stirling Griff still hasn’t said which way he’ll vote, but the government may well have to make some pretty decent concessions if it wants to get the policy through the Senate.
Fingers crossed Griff makes his own Lambie-esque announcement slamming the bill sometime soon.Image: Getty Images / Tracey Nearmy