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Wednesday, 11 May 1994
Page: 672


Senator BELL (6.05 p.m.) —by leave—I move:

1.Schedule, item 25, page 12, omit paragraphs (a) and (b).

2.Schedule, item 25, page 12, omit paragraph (c), substitute:

    "(c)Omit `(being the amount applicable under subparagraph 68 (4) (a) (ii) of the Higher Education Funding Act 1988 in relation to the year of income ending on 30 June 1993)';".

3.Schedule, item 25, page 12, omit paragraph (d).

4.Schedule, item 26, page 13, omit paragraphs (a) and (b).

5. Schedule, item 26, page 13, omit paragraph (c), substitute:

    "(c)Omit `(being the amount applicable under subparagraph 68 (4) (b) (ii) of the Higher Education Funding Act 1988 in relation to the year of income ending on 30 June 1993)';".

6.Schedule, item 26, page 13, omit paragraph (d).

7.Schedule, item 27, page 13, omit paragraphs (a) and (b).

8.Schedule, item 27, page 13, omit paragraph (c), substitute:

    "(c)Omit `(being the amount applicable under subparagraph 68 (4) (c) (ii) of the Higher Education Funding Act 1988 in relation to the year of income ending on 30 June 1993)';".

9.Schedule, item 27, page 13, omit paragraph (d).

I have moved those amendments together because they are consequential upon each other and have the effect of negating the government's attempt to increase the speed at which repayments are made under these student assistance arrangements. It has already been indicated that there is little chance of success for the Democrats in persisting with these amendments. In defiance of that, I have moved these amendments for the reasons outlined in my speech during the second reading debate.

  There is no justification for seeking to impose this extra speed of repayment upon students. The Student Assistance Amendment Bill stands on its own. There is no legislative nexus between the Higher Education Funding Act 1988 and this bill. There is no logic that needs to be satisfied to bring these aspects of education funding together.

  The immorality of the first reduction of the threshold, and the increase in repayment rates with regard to HECS, is not an immorality which should be repeated for the benefit of this particular package. I cannot, for the life of me, see why a government of the colour of this government should be seeking to rake off money from students who are in the circumstances of needing this sort of assistance. I cannot see why this government would want to get that money back any faster than under the previous repayment regime.

  All it does is put the government in the position of obtaining the money a little faster. It brings no advantage in an educational sense. It brings no advantage to the students. In fact, it delivers to the students a situation where they are without adequate funds to begin their life after education. I believe that it is in breach of the understandings that were originally reached. We will persist. Therefore, I have moved the first nine amendments, which would have the effect of negating the government's attempts to speed up repayment.