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Wednesday, 15 October 2003
Page: 21550

Mr WILKIE (7:28 PM) —These amendments are essential if we are to provide a decent education system for Australia's young people. Amendment (3), which talks about abolishing up-front fees, gives people who have the ability to go on to higher education the opportunity to undertake that education. This is essential if our country is to proceed in the future.

It is ridiculous that the government would even consider the possibility of introducing an American style system in which money more than marks opens university doors. This is obscene to the ordinary Australian. They believe that their young people's talent and ability to do a degree or get into a course should be the benchmark for whether they get that opportunity or not. Under this government, since 1998 full fee payers have been able to buy a university place, and they are talking about making that even worse. These people get in ahead of people with higher marks.

Debate interrupted.