RUDD BREAKS COMPULSORY STUDENT FEE PROMISE
The Government today introduced legislation that breaches an election commitment and hits struggling students with a new compulsory fee.
From 1 July 2009, Labor plan to slug Australia’s university students with a new tax of up to $250 per year, which will rise annually with automatic indexation.
This breaks a clear election commitment.
JOURNALIST: Are you considering a compulsory amenities fee on students?
SMITH: No, well, firstly I am not considering a HECS style arrangement, I’m not considering a compulsory HECS style arrangement and the whole basis of the approach is one of a voluntary approach. So I am not contemplating a compulsory amenities fee.
(Doorstop, Stephen Smith, Shadow Minister for Education and Training 22/5/2007)
The Government will also establish a new loan scheme to assist students to defer their payment. This not only breaks another election promise, but is an admission that students cannot afford a new fee.
The Prime Minister has called student debt in Australia a “national disgrace” yet he plans to lump students with more debt in the middle of an economic crisis.
The best way to help struggling students is not to hit them with a new tax to fund services chosen by a university or union. The best way to help students is to allow them to keep more of their own money and let them decide which non-academic services they need.
The Government claim the new fee is not compulsory student unionism because the university would collect the fee rather than the union. This is a con and a sham. Students can choose not to be a union member, but will still have to pay an equivalent fee, much of which will be passed to student unions. It’s “no fee, no start”.
Students should get to make their own choices about what sort of university experience they want, rather than forcing them to subsidise the choices of others.
No one should be forced to support any organisation against their will.