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Democrats oppose student loans



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PRESS R E L E AS E A

THE SENATE

No. 82/128 CANBERRA 13th October, 1982

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DEMOCRATS OPPOSE STUDENT LOANS

Senator Michael Macklin, Australian Democrat Spokesperson

on Education, today reaffirmed the Democrats total

opposition to the Government's proposed student loans scheme.

"This scheme again demonstrated this Government' s complete

lack of concern for the principle of equal access for all

Australians to a tertiary education. First we had the issue

of the re-introduction of fees for second and higher degrees,

clearly a first step towards the general re-introduction

of fees. Now we see the Government intent on pursuing

this objective of making a tertiary education the preserve

of the wealthy elite through this highly inequitable scheme."

Senator Macklin said "the provisions enabling the Government

to disqualify certain categories of people from this scheme

despite their eligibility on the assessment criteria, and

to change the amount of interest subsidy paid by. the Government

at any time are particularly odious. Moreover, the

Government has made it clear in various statements that

this loans scheme will affect the levels of TEAS allowances."

The Democrats' national policy on education states that TEAS

needs to be set at 20% above the Poverty Line and indexed to

the C.P.I. It also says that tertiary students of whatever

age should be eligible to apply to an Australian Students'

Aid Foundation for low interest loans which would be repayable

upon graduation as a surcharge on income tax. The Democrats

see this as a "package deal" and will not accept the Government'

proposals for loans unless TEAS is established at a reasonable

level and indexed.

"We are particularly appalled that the ALP have had difficulty

in clarifying their position on this scheme, obviously an

indication of their lack of real concern for the cause of

equal access to tertiary education in this country," Senator

Macklin concluded. . .

FOR INFORMATION:

Senator Michael Macklin (062) 72 7595

Conny Lenneberg (062) 72 7128