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Nelson turns his back on students.

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Media Release Jenny MacklinMP

Thursday, February 20, 2003

Deputy Leader of the Opposition

Shadow Minister for Employment, Education, Training & Science Federal Member for Jagajaga


Federal Education Minister Brendan Nelson today turned his back and walked away from students trying to voice their concerns about Howard Government plans to deregulate university fees.

The students had gathered outside Crown Towers in Melbourne where the Minister was due to make a public statement about student protests against the government’s plans.

But as soon as he saw the students the Minister turned tail and fled, leaving his spokesman to do the talking for him.

Deputy Labor leader Jenny Macklin said that if the Minister planned to hit students with big fee increases the least he could do was to meet with them and explain his decision.

“This is a gutless performance by the Education Minister.

“Students have every right to expect the Education Minister to at least listen to their concerns about the Howard Government’s plan to let universities increase HECS.

“Students are already leaving university saddled with debts of $30,000 or more. At the very least he owes these people an explanation about why they and their families should carry even more debt to fund the higher education system,” she said.

“The Howard Government has ripped more than $5 billion from higher education funding since it came to office. It is dumping its responsibilities to invest in universities onto students and their families.

“Australia now has among the highest rates of private contribution to the cost of university education among developed countries. Under the Howard Government public investment in education is collapsing.”

More information: Adrian Rollins, 0438 950 375