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
Thursday, 25 September 2014
Page: 10621

Higher Education

Mr HAYES (FowlerChief Opposition Whip) (14:34): My question is to the Minister for Education. I refer to a letter signed by 317 staff at the University of Western Sydney, which states:

… it is expected that most will increase fees by between 100% and 200%, or more.

Minister, why are you saddling Australian students with a debt sentence whilst Americanising our universities?

Mr PYNE (SturtLeader of the House and Minister for Education) (14:35): I just do not feel that the member for Fowler's heart was in that question. Obviously, it was his turn to turn up and ask a foolish question without the facts, but I will deal with it. On the Americanisation issue that Labor raises—I explained this yesterday to the member for Lalor but I will explain it again—the United States does not have a higher education loan program. It does not bear any relation to the Australian system in how it supports its students. The idea that the government's reforms are making our system more like that of the United States is an absolute falsehood. The bizarre thing about the point is: imagine if the Australian university system were as successful as the United States system. The United States has 27 universities in the top 50 universities in the world. More than half of the top 50 universities in the world are in the United States. Apparently, America is the bogeyman of universities—

Ms Rishworth interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for Kingston will desist.

Mr PYNE: yet it is the most successful higher education system in the world. In spite of that, Australia has the Higher Education Loan Program; the United States does not. Our HELP system is the envy of the world. Students pay, when they earn over $50,000 a year, two per cent of their income at the lowest loan rate they will ever get in their lives. That is why, in spite of the Hawke government introducing the Higher Education Contribution Scheme, when Labor was led by great leaders rather than the current Leader of the Opposition, the participation rate of Australians in the higher education system—

Mr Champion interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for Wakefield will desist.

Mr PYNE: has continued to exponentially rise to the point where there are now 750,000 Australians—

Mr Champion interjecting

The SPEAKER: I said: the member will desist.

Mr PYNE: getting an education offering in Australian institutions. If the Labor Party's logic were right, those students would not be enrolling at Australian institutions, but they are doing so in droves, because they know they can borrow their debt from the taxpayer.

Mr Champion interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for Wakefield is the champion of the league table for people leaving the chamber. Do you want to add to it? If not, desist.

Mr PYNE: I also think that perhaps the member for Fowler might have wanted to check his question given the revelation that the Leader of the Opposition has in fact said that America shows us the way. He only said that in an address to the New York Academy of Sciences in July this year. So, he says one thing in New York—

Ms Butler interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for Griffith will desist.

Mr PYNE: and a different thing in Canberra. Now, there is a pattern here, of course, as we have seen before. He obviously does not realise that we can follow his statements when he is making them in New York—it's called Google! The reality is that you cannot say in New York that America shows us the way and then try to run a scare campaign about our great ally the United States when you are back here in Canberra.