University Deregulation Defeated In The Senate

Christopher Pyne’s terrifying impression of a crazy ex-boyfriend has apparently been for naught after the Abbott government’s contentious Higher Education reform was defeated in the Senate today.
The reform, which would have allowed Australian tertiary education institutions to set their own fees and create an education ecosystem whereby students would be required to eat Mi Goreng for decades upon graduating, was voted down 33 to 31.

Needless to say, we’ve really dodged a bullet here. 

As we reported earlier this year, the ramifications could have been devastating:

“Total Government funding for Higher Education will fall by 20 percent, according to the Department of Education. Depending on what discipline you study, that cut will have significant knock-on effects. It’s worth noting that not all tertiary disciplines are going to take a hit. Law, accounting and commerce are expected to remain relatively stable for the time being. And in cases such as mathematics, humanities, and allied health, the minimum cost to students will fall under deregulated fees; in the case of mathematics, by 26.3%.  

But it’s in other areas such as Environmental Studies, Communications, and Visual and Performing Arts that will really cop the brunt of the cuts. Funding to the Arts, for example, will see minimum fees increase by 49.6%, meaning you’ll be paying $9042 per year, which is an increase of some $3000 on the current fee model. And that’s the lesser of the three worst hit. Communications will rise by 99.4%, from the current $6044 to $12,054 per year, and Environmental Studies will be slugged with an incredible 112% increase on minimum fees, rising to a whopping $18,275 per year.”

The result were somewhat telegraphed after Pyne’s thirsty attempts to convince key crossbench senators to join the government resulted in former Rugby league enforcer and Palmer Uniter Party senator Glenn Lazarus saying, “I am being inundated with text messages from Christopher Pyne virtually begging me to support the Abbott government’s higher education reforms. I have never given Christopher Pyne my mobile phone number.”

I didn’t even give you my number bro. 

“Christopher Pyne’s office and other Abbott government ministers are continuing to contact my office and other crossbenchers offering all sorts of deals and incentives to get our support for the higher education reforms,” he continued. “I won’t be bought and I am not prepared to horse trade.” 

In the end, the swing votes of the Palmer United Party and independent Jacqui Lambie were cast with Labor and the Greens.  
“I don’t think the Australian public ever marks anyone down for having a go,” Mr. Pyne told the ABC’s 7.30 after the push was defeated.  “Tomorrow I’ll be introducing a new reform bill which picks up nine of the 10 elements of the previous bill.”  

Mr Pyne said that the new legislation would consider many of the requests of crossbench senators.  

“It drops the indexation at the 10-year government bond rate and picks up a number of the amendments that Universities Australia and some of the crossbenchers have wanted, and I’ll represent that bill tomorrow and debate it in February,” he said. “As far as I’m concerned, round one is over, round two begins tonight.”

Now let us celebrate with a beloved symbol of tertiary education.

Via SBS News

Photo: Robert Cianflone via Getty Images