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Tuesday, 17 November 2009
Page: 8058


Senator WILLIAMS (7:07 PM) —I find the government’s attitude amazing: it is all about saving money. If these students just gave up the gap year and went on the dole the government would gladly give them $453 a fortnight but not $371.40 a fortnight to carry out their studies. Life is about fairness. These students finished year 12 last year and they sought advice from Centrelink, careers advisers et cetera, and you have changed the rules halfway through the game. That is unfair. As I said, you will gladly give someone who leaves year 12 and who does not get a job $453 a fortnight and you gladly spend a billion dollars extra for the ceiling batts, but when it comes to educating our students in a tertiary degree to provide the essential services that all Australians require you are now pulling the pennies. It is unfair, it is retrospective in effect and that is why this amendment should be passed.