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Wednesday, 2 December 2015
Page: 9589

Senator KIM CARR (Victoria) (11:33): I would remind you that the constructiveness extended right through this conversation. It may well be that we will have a difference of opinion which we have not abrogated our responsibilities to express, particularly on something as significant as these matters.

It would be incorrect for you to suggest that the opposition has not been constructive in these questions. These are matters of deep concern, involving expenditure of $3 billion. I just indicate and repeat that the opposition will be voting in favour of the government's amendments, despite our reservations about the speed with which they have been put together; despite our concerns as to whether or not they will do the job that the government intends them to do. Nonetheless, as I think was put to me yesterday, these amendments are a step in the right direction. I think, however, there may well be a broader application required—I trust I am wrong on this, but my expectation that it will soon become apparent that the private colleges will find ways around these measures. I have no doubt that there will be substantial concerns expressed by some private colleges about the way in which these measures are being brought forward without consultation. There may be well be others that claim that there have been injustices imposed on them and, obviously, the appeal mechanisms, which have been outlined, will mean for many people there will not be an opportunity to appeal them. There are no appeal mechanisms, as far as I can see, for students, and the problem within the scheme is that the Commonwealth's approach is to give priority to company operations rather than the welfare of students. With those reservations, we will indicate our support for these amendments.