NSW Greens Senator Mehreen Faruqi has gone into parliament today and said what we’re all thinking about the government’s cuts to universities: “This bill is shit.”
The comment was part of her evisceration of the Job-Ready Graduates bill, which is set to pass through parliament after the Centre Alliance today announced they’d support it.
“University staff – researchers and teachers – should be protected. Our universities should be fully funded,” Faruqi said.
“And this bill achieves none of those aims.
“This bill is cruel. This bill is punitive. This bill is an irredeemable mess. This bill is shit.”
Greens Senator Mehreen Faruqi on the Liberals’ university fee rise: “This bill is shit.” from australia
Earlier in the speech, Faruqi also slammed Centre Alliance Senator Stirling Griff, who was the deciding vote for the bill to pass, as well as his lower house colleague MP Rebekha Sharkie.
“You bought the government’s spin hook, line and sinker,” she said.
“You should be ashamed of condemning generations of young students to decades of debt.”
The whole speech goes for about 12 minutes and it’s a solid takedown of a bill which will fuck up higher education for the next wave of uni students.
Around halfway through, Faruqi even gets told off for using “unparliamentary language”.
This bill is cruel. This bill is punitive. This bill is an irredeemable mess. This bill is shit. This bill is not worth the paper it is written on. https://t.co/heDJPULdrI— Mehreen Faruqi (@MehreenFaruqi) October 6, 2020
As a quick refresher, the bill is considered shit because it’s set to make courses way more expensive than they already are.
The government wants double the price for some courses like arts and law in order to reallocate funds for things like maths, science, engineering and teaching, making it harder for poorer students to study the courses they really want.
It’ll also cut funding across the board, meaning unis will somehow have to do more with less. Right now they cover 58% of course costs, but that’s set to fall to 52%.
Students who fail more than half of their classes in the first year will also lose government funding, something that’s expected to disproportionately affected Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students, students who work or study part-time, and student who study via distance education.
Faruqi’s condemnation of the bill comes after independent crossbencher Jacqui Lambie gave her own brutal takedown of the funding cuts.
But unlike Lambie, who violently oscillates between being cancelled and being the occasional voice of reason, Faruqi has been backing students and faculty members since day one.
After all, she is the Greens’ spokesperson for education and a long champion of free uni and TAFE.
Sometimes, a policy is so bad that one has no choice but to call it for what it is: shit.