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Tuesday, 2 September 2014
Page: 9385

Mr GILES (Scullin) (13:54): On higher education, a matter that the member for Aston, the parliamentary secretary, used to care about when he stood up for students: perhaps if he is listening to contributions today he might change his mind on these reforms. I tell him this: many constituents have written to me in recent weeks to express their views and their concerns about this government's attacks on accessible quality higher education in Australia. I have heard from students, I have heard from parents, I have heard from prospective students and I have heard from grandparents, all of whom oppose this regressive and retrograde package. Today I want to share the story of Nick from Mill Park, a Melbourne university graduate who is deeply concerned. He says that he wishes to pursue a PhD in immunology, where he would be able to further contribute his skills, expertise and knowledge to Australian society and the world. He says:

However, cuts to basic research funding would hinder such progress, seriously damaging the capacity of research in Australia. …

Cuts to education would mean that instead of educating the best and brightest here in Australia, they may either go overseas and never return, or they are discouraged from higher education, meaning they may never reach their full potential, or are prevented from contributing significantly to Australian society.

These cuts, in effect, would stop me from being the best that I could be, not for myself by for Australia.

These are affecting words. I ask members opposite to have regard to them and to Australia's future.