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THE HON BILL SHORTEN
LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION
MEMBER FOR MARIBYRNONG

 

SUBJECT/S: A Degree shouldn’t be a Debt Sentence.
TUESDAY, 12 AUGUST 2014 WESTERN SYDNEY DOORSTOP E&OE TRANSCRIPT

It’s great to be at UWS in Western Sydney with my colleagues, Deputy Leader, Tanya Plibersek and hardworking local western suburbs member Michelle Rowland. The campaign by Labor to protect higher education from Tony Abbott’s cuts is well and truly underway. All across Australia in university campuses, Labor will be talking to students, to their parents, to staff and the wider community on the basic proposition that a university degree should not be a debt sentence. The Abbott Government lied before the last election. They promised black and blue there would be no cuts to education. Now after the election, at the Budget, Joe Hockey, Tony Abbott and Christopher Pyne having lied to Australia in order to get Australia to vote for them, have now broken their word, broken their promises and the losers are going to be the universities and the students and staff in those universities.

Six in every 10 students at UWS are the first people in their families to go to university. Three in every 10 come from non-English speaking backgrounds. 75 in every 100 kids at UWS come from the western suburbs of Sydney. This new tax, these new charges, these new fees on UWS is a direct attack on western Sydney. Western Sydney’s the third largest economy in Australia, so if you’re discouraging kids in Western Sydney from going to university, that will affect not only Western Sydney but the whole of Australia. In Australia, we are at a cross roads. We can choose the American path, where how much your parents earn or your credit card limit determines whether or not you go to university.  Or we can take the high road, with Australian values, where hard work, not your postcode, determines your opportunity in life. Labor will most strongly oppose the broken promises and lies, the unfair Budget which will create $100,000 degrees and higher. We will oppose UWS losing $195 million over the next four years. We will make sure that women don’t get extra debt because of the fact that they have broken periods of service and parenting, so it costs them a lot more to go to university. We will make sure that working class kids get the opportunity to go to university.