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
Wednesday, 24 September 2014
Page: 10402

Higher Education


Ms RISHWORTH (Kingston) (14:18): Thank you, Madam Speaker. My question is to the Minister for Education. Yesterday in question time, the Prime Minister said the Commonwealth taxpayer will continue to cover 50 per cent of people's university education. But the University of Western Australia's fee schedule released yesterday shows that the Commonwealth will cover only 10 per cent for commerce students and 43 per cent for science students. Minister, isn't the Prime Minister's 50 per cent claim just another sham that will massively increase the cost of university for young Australians?

Opposition members interjecting


Mr PYNE (SturtLeader of the House and Minister for Education) (14:19): It never rains but it pours!

Mr Conroy interjecting

The SPEAKER: We will have some silence on my left, including the member for Charlton.

Mr PYNE: Having had very few questions from the opposition about education for 12 months, it is now a welter of questions on education! And I am very glad to get them, Madam Speaker, because the point is—

Opposition members interjecting

The SPEAKER: There will be silence on my left! The member for Moreton.

Mr PYNE: that the opposition can spin their wheels as much as they like about the higher education reforms. The simple fact is, they are out of step with the rest of Australia.

Opposition members interjecting

Mr PYNE: They are out of step with all the sensible economic commentators in the country who recognise the need for reform. For example, Paul Kelly, writing in The Weekend Australian

Opposition members interjecting

Mr PYNE: Oh, you laugh at Paul Kelly do you? One of the most eminent journalists in Australia. Have a good old laugh; no wonder you are so out of touch with reality over there!

Ms MacTiernan interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for Perth will desist!

Mr PYNE: Paul Kelly, writing in The Weekend Australian

Opposition members interjecting

The SPEAKER: The minister will resume his seat. The Manager of Opposition Business on a point of order.

Mr Burke: Madam Speaker, to be directly relevant the minister needs to refer to the 50 per cent claim made by the Prime Minister.

The SPEAKER: The call goes to the Minister for Education.

Mr PYNE: Madam Speaker, before I quote from Paul Kelly I will answer that specific question, since I am perfectly happy to do so. The Labor Party can fabricate figures as much as they like—

Opposition members interjecting

Mr PYNE: and they can make up quotations as much they like. They can pick out and parse—

Mr Dreyfus interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for Isaacs.

Mr PYNE: sentences and tables. The reality is, our reforms will mean that that students will be required to pay 50 per cent of the cost of their education, across the university sector, and they are currently on average paying 40 per cent.

Opposition members interjecting

Mr PYNE: They are currently paying 40 per cent of the cost of their education. That is what the student cohort is paying. And they are getting the lowest unemployment rates of anybody in our community, long life expectancy, better health outcomes—and they will earn 75 per cent more, on average—

Mr Albanese: What's the percentage?

The SPEAKER: The member for Grayndler.

Mr PYNE: than people who did not go to university. And more than 60 per cent of Australians do not have a university degree. So rather than complaining about being asked to pay 50 per cent of the cost of their education rather than 40 per cent, they should actually be buying a bunch of flowers and knocking on the door of a neighbour who does not have a university degree and saying: 'Thank you for paying 50 per cent of the cost of my education.'

Ms Owens interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for Parramatta.

Mr PYNE: That is what they should be doing. Because they are going to get a much better opportunity in life than those people who do not get the chance to go to university. Now, returning to Paul Kelly—who those over that side of the House think is an absolute riot, but most of us see him as a very serious person; I certainly do—

Opposition members interjecting

The SPEAKER: There will be silence on my left!

Mr PYNE: He was quoting Mike Gallagher, the executive director of the Group of Eight. Mike Gallagher says: 'It is outrageous that the Labor Party have washed their hands of responsibility for the mess they created'—the mess you on that side created—that we are prepared to fix up, because we are an adult, responsible government getting on with the job—methodically, calmly and carefully—of fixing this country after the six years—the six Rip Van Winkle years—of the Labor government.

Opposition members interjecting

The SPEAKER: There will be silence on my left.

Ms Macklin interjecting

The SPEAKER: That includes the member for Jagajaga. I call the honourable member for Mitchell.