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Howard Government cuts threaten academic freedom.



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Media Release Jenny MacklinMP

HOWARD GOVERNMENT CUTS THREATEN ACADEMIC FREEDOM

Deputy Leader of the Opposition

Shadow Minister for Employment, Education, Training & Science Federal Member for Jagajaga

RMIT has been forced to succumb to pressure from the Indonesian Government and withdraw support for a conference on West Papuan independence, according to a report in today’s Australian.

The university’s decision reveals how the Howard Government’s staggering cuts are damaging Australian academic freedom.

Since 1996 the Howard Government has ripped out more than $1.3 billion from Victorian universities including $200 million from RMIT.

RMIT has had to rely on international student fees to make up the missing millions, with more than 20 per cent of total funding now coming from international students.

International student fees are propping up the university because of the Howard Government’s cuts.

If a major source country stopped its students from going to RMIT, the impact on the university would be devastating.

International students broaden Australia’s educational experience and export education is a vital and growing industry, but over-reliance on international student fees due to government cuts has serious dangers.

The Howard Government must invest in our universities to protect Australian academic freedom.

More info: Joanna Brent 02 6277 4045; 0408 473 278

14 February 2003