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Wednesday, 2 December 2015
Page: 9587


Senator KIM CARR (Victoria) (11:21): In terms of the approach to these matters, could I advise the chamber that the Labor Party will be supporting the government's amendments. We will be opposing Senator Lazarus's amendment to the government's amendments. We will not be proceeding with amendments to schedule 1, given the conversation we had last night, and I accept the advice that was tendered to us last night. I might remind Senator Lazarus that there was some advice on this matter tendered last night, too. We will be proceeding with schedule 1 after item 8 and we will not be proceeding with the third request that is listed on the running sheet.

In regard to the question of containing the costs to students, I will be seeking to argue the case strongly in regard to those provisions about putting caps on the prices that students are charged as distinct from the ceiling on the loans, which has been the government's approach. I am saying that our amendment to schedule 1 is quite compatible with the government's position—it is not inconsistent with the government's position—but it provides a proper and thorough supporting measure to provide the secretary with the capacity to set prices as occurs within the university system at the moment. I will explain how that can be done and done within the period for the start-up date. I know there has been some advice tendered that this cannot be provided within three weeks. I can show how it can be. The advice that I have sought overnight from state officials has explained how it can be done. I believe the advice the government has received on this matter to be incorrect; that there are schedules that are readily available and there are at least two ways in which this matter can be attended to within the three weeks that this government wishes to introduce these emergency measures. I hope that is helpful to the chamber.