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Students march against proposed higher education reforms

Students stand on the steps of Melbourne State Library. Photo by Julia Pillai.
Students stand on the steps of Melbourne State Library. Photo by Julia Pillai.

Today hundreds of students from Victorian universities gathered at the Melbourne State Library to protest again the Federal government’s attempted attacks at higher education.

The rally was one of many in Australian capital cities as part of a national day of action.

Speaking at the rally, National Union of Students president Rose Steele said that proposed higher education reforms ‘are not a budget saving measure but is purely an ideological attack on education.’

Christopher Pyne’s higher education bill which included a number of reforms such as the deregulation of the universities, funding cuts to research and the imposition of an interest rate upon HECS loans, failed to pass the Senate for the second time on the 17th of March. Despite the repeated failure, Pyne has claimed that he will continue to negotiate with crossbenchers, Labor and the Greens in order to pass the bill.

Pictured (from left): NUS Victorian Education Officer, Declan Murphy and NUS President, Rose Steele. Photo by Julia Pillai
Pictured (from left): NUS Victorian Education Officer, Declan Murphy and NUS President, Rose Steele. Photo by Julia Pillai

The Monash Liberal Club support these reforms. Membership Officer, Ross Katsambanis says ‘the club believes that universities are in a better position to set the cost of their degrees than bureaucrats in Canberra and believe the decentralised model will benefit the country for many years.’

In response to the Senate’s refusal to pass the bill, Group of Eight Chief Executive Vicki Thomson said that ‘it has been sad and depressing to see a legislative package so crucial to our nation’s future become a political football’ and worries that the ‘quality [of Australian universities] cannot be maintained with current funding.’

Students at the rally vowed to continue fighting against these attacks at the higher education sector until no part of the bill is considered in its entirety.

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