Tasmanian Senator Jacqui Lambie today doubled down on her opposition to the Coalition’s proposed university funding reforms, saying she’s “not going to tell the country that poor people can’t get their dream jobs.”
Her stance creates an almighty headache for the Morrison Government, whose uni funding shakeup now rests on one independent senator.
Speaking on RN Breakfast this morning, Lambie again said she won’t side with the government on the controversial legislation.
“The bill itself hurts the poorest kids the most, and I’m not going to tell the country that poor people can’t get their dream jobs,” Lambie said.
“I just want everyone to have a chance at being what they want to be, and not because there’s a cost attached to it.”
The proposed funding reforms would reduce the level of student contributions to certain degrees, like teaching, nursing, and agriculture, while effectively doubling the cost of some humanities degrees.
Basically, the plan would see students pay less for qualifications the government feels will net Australians a job in the future, while saddling arts students with massive debts.
That’s not all: the proposal changes would also see students who fail more than 50% of their course load barred from accessing further HECS-HELP loans or other government subsidies.
Lambie today said courses like the Bachelor of Arts are a “gateway” for many students, and limiting Commonwealth support to folks who initially fail some courses “is completely at odds with giving people a leg up in this country.”
She also savaged the Coalition for not providing her with modelling to back up claims the funding shake-up will help to create 100,000 extra uni places by 2030.
“Did they just pluck that out of their clacker, mate?” she asked.
The Tassie firebrand yesterday revealed she won’t support the legislation, saying that increasing the student contribution for arts degrees wouldn’t stop richer students from taking them anyway.
“The ones who get pushed out of their preferred courses based on the price are the ones who are watching every dollar, knowing they might need that money down the track,” she said.
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 Rex Patrick also oppose the legislation.
While the Coalition has won the support of One Nation in the Senate, it must now convince Centre Alliance’s Stirling Griff to back the bill.
He told The Guardian yesterday that he’s yet to come to a conclusion on the thing, meaning one of the most controversial funding shake-ups in recent memory now rests on the shoulders of one dude.Image: David Gray / Getty Images