The Morrison government has announced a tough new plan under which anyone caught fraudulently taking university exams or writing essays on behalf of other students could be jailed for up to two years.
Federal education minister Dan Tehan announced the proposal today, saying that in addition to possible jail time, those caught cheating could face fines of up to $210,000.
Tehan said in part that the plan is meant to address the problem offshore cheating services, which are utilised by a number of university students in Australia.
Speaking in Canberra earlier today, the minister said:
“It’s simply not good enough. It’s not fair for those students who are doing the hard yards, for those students who are doing all the work, for those students who put hours into studying.”
He then addressed a number of specific concerns, saying:
“If you’re a cheating service, understand now you are going to face the full force of the law if you provide those services to students here in Australia. For those services based overseas, we are going to use blocking to make sure that they cannot provide those services. For those who are here and operating in Australia, understand that we will come after you.”
In 2015, dozens of students across five New South Wales universities were caught using the essay ghost writing service MyMaster, with more than 1000 more suspected of utilising it.
This plan will come into effect if the Morrison government is successful in the coming federal election.