It was probably just as well that Education Minister Simon Birmingham outlined his savings plan a week before the Federal Budget arrives, ’cause it’s going to take a while for voters to come around to the the HECS debt repayment threshold dropping to $42,000. 

Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce was effectively charged with defending that budgetary decision on Q&A last night, and look, it’s still not looking like an entirely grouse proposition for would-be students already be questioning the cost of a tertiary education.

While largely dodging the obvious, tangible benefit that university-educated Australians bring to the nation (and to the economy, ’cause higher earnings necessitate higher taxes), Joyce reminded the panel that “loans do actually have to be paid back.”

The government’s figure for how big that loan is – $52 billion, buy their count – does pose some questions for those in charge of recuperating costs. But Joyce reckoned that since doctors make bank later in their careers, tampering with the threshold and raising fees is justified – ‘Cause everyone who attends university becomes a doctor.

Australian National University vice-chancellor Brian Schmidt even questioned whether the decision is “fair and just”, considering how many Aussies rely on the government’s HECS scheme to attain a higher education. It’ll be a hard sell, and this is only the beginning. 

Check it out below:

Source and photo: Q&A / ABC.