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- Start of Business
QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE
(Senator BOLKUS, Senator VANSTONE)
(Senator CHAPMAN, Senator ALSTON)
(Senator JACINTA COLLINS, Senator VANSTONE)
(Senator McGAURAN, Senator PARER)
(Senator CARR, Senator VANSTONE)
Small Business: Franchising Code Council
(Senator MURRAY, Senator PARER)
(Senator FORSHAW, Senator VANSTONE)
Apple and Pear Industries
(Senator HARRADINE, Senator PARER)
Labour Market Programs
(Senator MACKAY, Senator VANSTONE)
(Senator WOODLEY, Senator PARER)
(Senator SHERRY, Senator KEMP)
(Senator SANDY MACDONALD, Senator NEWMAN)
- Regional Development
- University Fees
- PERSONAL EXPLANATIONS
- QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE
- MID-YEAR ECONOMIC AND FISCAL OUTLOOK
- QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE
- NOTICES OF MOTION
PRIVATE HEALTH INSURANCE INCENTIVES BILL 1997
HEALTH LEGISLATION AMENDMENT (PRIVATE HEALTH INSURANCE INCENTIVES) BILL 1996
MEDICARE LEVY AMENDMENT BILL (No. 2) 1996
TAXATION LAWS AMENDMENT (PRIVATE HEALTH INSURANCE INCENTIVES) BILL 1997
- QUESTIONS ON NOTICE
Thursday, 27 February 1997
Senator TIERNEY(11.02 a.m.) —This is the third occasion this week where the Minister for Employment, Education, Training and Youth Affairs, Senator Vanstone, has been attacked by the opposition—first, in an urgency motion, then at estimates last night and then at question time today. But they have all had the same effect; they have all fallen totally flat because of the ineptitude of the opposition in the way in which they have tried to mount this debate.
Where are the five opposition senators who asked Senator Vanstone questions today? This debate is about taking note of answers, but the opposition have left it to a member of the second XI. They have left it to Senator Neal—who did not even ask a question—to come in here and put up a pathetic defence of the opposition's position on this matter.
We have tried to explain what is happening on the issue of fees on a number of occasions in this place, but we have some real slow learners on the other side. I really wish we had some coloured blocks or something so we could explain this concept. What our proposal actually does is increase equity in the system. You had equity in your system. Boy, was it equal. Everybody missed out. That was really equal. Under this system, both groups can actually get in.
Senator Neal —You only miss out if you are not well off.
Senator TIERNEY —Let me explain it to you very simply, Senator Neal. People pay for a place. What that then does is free up a place, and the person who would have missed out actually gets that place that we have freed up.
Under your system, Senator Neal, both of those people would have missed out. Under our system, students can purchase a place. Mind you, they must meet the requirements of the university. As was pointed out by Senator Vanstone, quite a lot of students who are capable of doing the course miss out because the supply and demand forces up the TER. Under your system of restricted quotas, they could not get into the course. Under our system, if they meet the requirements, they get into the course.
Let me give you the good news, Senator Neal. That frees up a place for the ones you were most concerned about. They can get a place. We have freed it up. There is a public place for those people who would not have got one under your system. Why would they not have got one under your system? Because you put artificial restrictions on the whole system.
I was absolutely shocked when I came into this parliament in 1991 when, in the depths of the recession which you created, you were turning away 55,000 people from the gates of universities. If you had brought in this policy back then, you would have had a whole new group of people able to get into universities, not only because they could purchase places but because the other group—
Senator Neal —I was at university when—
Senator TIERNEY —Senator Neal, are you picking up the concept? I am explaining it for the third time. That other group, who are also disadvantaged and who would have missed out under your system, get in too. Under your system, the two of them miss out. Under our system, the two of them get in. Isn't that more equitable? You left them equitably poor; we leave them equitably educationally rich. I cannot understand why you cannot see that very basic concept.
A second point was made in your rather pathetic questions today relating to the university review. What a contrast to what the opposition did in terms of changing the university system. My colleague Senator Patterson will remember this because she was in the system at the time. In fact, Senator Patterson and I were both in the system. We woke up one morning and discovered all of a sudden that, instead of having 18 universities, we actually had 37. When the Labor Party was in government, Dawkins woke up one morning and said, `I'm going to create all these new universities and put them all together.' What a pathetic way to do public policy.
What we have done is set up a proper review where we are not determining the outcome of the review. We have an independent group that will review the situation very thoroughly and then come up with recommendations so we can sensibly plan for the future provision of higher education in this country—something that you never did; something that, under this government, we will do.