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More Howard lies on higher education.



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Media Statement

Jenny Macklin Deputy Leader of the Opposition Shadow Minister for Education Employment and Training

More Howard Lies On Higher Education

5th September 2004

John Howard's claim on Sunday Sunrise this morning that he had not misled Australians about university changes is a clear denial of the truth.

The fact is that John Howard made a number of clear promises to the Australian people before the last election which he has now broken.

$100,000 DEGREES There will be no $100,000 university fees under this Government. (John Howard, Parliament, 14 October 1999)

The facts:

• According to the Good Universities Guide, there are now at least 45 full fee degrees over $100,000.

• John Howard's claim on Channel 7 this morning that he was talking about HECS university degrees is false - he made absolutely no mention of HECS degrees when he made promised no $100,000 degrees - first in Parliament and then in the media (see attached).

FEE DEREGULATION John Howard committed his Government to: A clear rejection of the deregulation of university fees. (Parliament, John Howard, 18 October 1999)

The facts:

• The Howard Government

changes mean that university fees have been deregulated with universities able to increase HECS charges by 25 per cent in almost all courses.

• John Howard's claim on

Channel 7 that 'deregulation is an

absolute term (that) means you don't have any controls' is false.

• Page 6 of the Government's

own information booklet on what the changes mean for HECS students, Information for Commonwealth supported students in 2005, states that fees have been deregulated: (http://www.hecs.gov.au/pubs/icss200 5/icss_booklet.pdf)

1.2. What has happened to HECS?

Deregulated student

contributions

These HECS places will continue

to be provided but will be called Commonwealth supported places (see Section 2). From 2005, higher education providers are able to determine student contribution amounts for these Commonwealth supported places within ranges from $0 up to a maximum that the Australian Government sets. As student contribution levels vary between courses and higher education providers, higher education providers will become more competitive in terms of cost and quality, and will focus more on what is important to students.

AMERICAN STYLE HIIGHER EDUCATION The Government will not be introducing an American style higher education system (John Howard, Parliament, 14 October 1999)

The facts:

• The Howard Government's university changes means that 35 per cent of Australian students can buy a university place through full fees.

• Australia's student fee structure is already one of the highest on the world scale. We are currently the fourth most heavily dependent on private funding out of all OECD countries. Only Korea, the US and Japan have higher dependence on private income.

The facts are that John Howard has broken every one of these promises on higher education and is now denying the truth to try to save his own skin.

John Howard's broken promises mean that if the Howard Government wins the election he will create an American-style system where money more than marks open university doors.

The Howard Government cannot be trusted on education.

A Latham Labor Government will stop John Howard's 25 per cent HECS hikes, abolish full fee $100,000 degrees and create 20,000 more university places each year by 2008-9.

What's more, if John Howard is serious about his claims this morning that Australia needs to address skills shortages and support the technical education sector, he should adopt Labor's policy to create new 20,000 TAFE places each year by 2008-9 and abolish TAFE fees for secondary students.

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JOHN HOWARD'S 'NO $100,000 DEGREES' PROMISE The Prime Minister made absolutely no mention before the last election that his promise referred to HECS university degrees when he promised that there would be no $100,000 degrees - first in the Parliament and then in the media.

In the Parliament, the Prime Minster was answering a question that made no mention of HECS university degrees whatsoever:

Mr WAKELIN (2.05 p.m.)—My

question is addressed to the Prime Minister. Prime Minister, does the government stand by its commitments in the area of higher education made at the time of the release of the West report into higher education and at the last election? (Parliament, 14 October 1999)

The Prime Minister's answer made no mention of HECS university degrees whatsoever:

We have no intention of

deregulating university fees nor have we any intention of introducing HECS for TAFE courses. Those undertakings were repeated by the minister at the time of the election and they remain undiminished today. The government will not be introducing an American style higher education system.

Dr Lawrence interjecting—

Mr SPEAKER —The member for Fremantle! Mr HOWARD —There will be no $100,000 university fees under this government. That is a figment of the Labor Party's propaganda machine, and everyone knows that is what it is. (Parliament, 14 October 1999)

he next day, the Prime Minister repeated his claim on Melbourne radio - and again made no mention of HECS university degrees.

Well, I can go back to what I

said at the beginning. The ..(inaudible).. in that is that we're not going to walk away from the current system and I don't foresee any fundamental change. If you're saying to me, will fees remain at a particular level forever, nobody can guarantee that but I can guarantee we're not going to have $100,000 university degree courses. We're not going to deregulate university fees. (Radio 3AW, 15 October, 1999)

The fact is that John Howard has broken his promise that there would be no $100,000 university degrees.

The Howard Government cannot be trusted on education.