Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Current HansardDownload Current Hansard    View Or Save XMLView/Save XML

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Tuesday, 7 December 2004
Page: 38


Senator LUDWIG (2:55 PM) —My question is to Senator Vanstone representing the Minister for Education, Science and Training. I refer the minister to the Howard government's higher education reforms. Is the minister aware that New South Wales is the only state that delivers police recruit education in the tertiary sector? Minister, isn't it the case that the Howard government's higher education reforms will mean the majority of New South Wales police recruits who undertake a diploma course in policing will now have to pay full fees? Minister, why is the Howard government taking action which will put police careers beyond the means of ordinary young Australians?


Senator VANSTONE (Minister for Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Indigenous Affairs) —Senator, I think if you had asked me whether there is any state other than New South Wales that offers that type of tertiary training for police officers I would have said no, but I would probably then have had to check. I gather by your question that that is the case. If it is not, then there is some small course somewhere. I am sure the minister will provide information and confirm that for you.

As to the impact of the higher education reforms with respect to those students, I do not have any information. I will ask the minister if he can give a very swift response to your question. Policing plays a very important role in the Australian community. Whether it is community policing, organised crime policing, international policing, whatever it is, we all depend on it and it is very important. I will ask the minister to give you a response as quickly as he can.


Senator LUDWIG —Mr President, I ask a supplementary question. I thank the minister for taking the question on notice to seek an answer from the minister. While the minister is doing that, I ask again: why is the Howard government seeking to prevent students from modest income families from entering the police force? Isn't it the case that the Howard government's action in charging up-front fees for police diplomas will make it even harder to attract young people to a dangerous and difficult profession? While you are taking the first question on notice, perhaps you could check whether the Minister for Justice and Customs alerted the Minister for Education, Science and Training to the damage that the Howard government's higher education policy would do to police recruiting. If he has not done so, why not?


Senator VANSTONE (Minister for Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Indigenous Affairs) —If the good senator would like me to work as his admin assistant and check up on a few other things from other ministers because he does not have the time and will not make the effort to chase them up, I am reasonably efficient and I am happy to give it a go for you! If anyone wants to talk about support for policing in Australia, particularly the Australian Federal Police, they need only look at the budgets for the Australian Federal Police prior to this government coming to power and look at them now. Then the good senators opposite might think twice about the value of the question that was just asked.