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Politically inept GST leaves postgraduate students worse off

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29/06 '99 12:20 © 0 3 254 1950 CAPA PARLIAMENT LIBRA @001/001

capaCouncil of Australian I Postgraduate Associations Incorporated1st Flooi. 120 Clarendon St PO Box 1326 Telephone: (03) 99.54 1917 Email: posrgrad@ ozem .auSouth IV Blboume vie 3205 South Melbourne vie 3205 Facsimile: (03) 92541950 Web: http://w ww .oz9m .au/-postgrad CAPA MEDIA STATEMENT

Politically inept GST leaves postgraduate students worse off

The Council o f Australian Postgraduate, Associations says students generally, and postgraduate students especially, nave been let down by Meg Lees and the Australian .Democrats in the GST deal passed yesterday by the Senate.

Students generally were let down when five Democrats Senators abstained from voting on amendments to the package which would have exempted books and student organisations memberships from the GST. The Greens, Labor, Senator Hairadine, Senator Bartlett, and Senator Stott-Despoja voted in favour of both amendments.

CAPA President Mr Tom Clark today said, ‘The Democrats locked themselves into a deal hat was always going to be harmful to students, then they lacked the courage to support amendments to it. We are extremely disappointed.*

Postgraduate students were let down by the failure of the Democrats to secure any compensation for postgraduate scholarship holders beyond the promise to index Australian Postgraduate Awards in the Government’s package. This leaves thousands o f postgraduate students unsure of the value of their living incomes from 1 July 2000.

Mr Clark said, ‘CAPA went to great lengths to make sure the Democrats understood that scholarship holders were being left behind. They assured us they understood the issues, but students now have nothing to show for their assurances. Without supplementation, postgraduates living on scholarships income will be worse off under the GST.

‘Throughout their negotiations with the Government, it was clear the Democrats had signed the biggest tax deal in Australia’s history without knowing what it contained. They still cannot tell us what the effects will be for postgraduate scholarship holders. Frankly, we have been stunned by their amateurishness -— and now we fear that postgraduates are going to suffer for it.’

For further comment and any queries please contact: Tom Clark (CAPA President): 0412-533-562, 03-9254-1917.