Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young is calling for a nationwide Australian Student Card to be introduced, as the Senate Inquiry into the welfare of international students continues, and student groups prepare to rally at NSW State Parliament House this afternoon.
The Inquiry, established by Senator Hanson-Young in June and carried out by the Senate’s Education, Employment and Workplace Relations Committee, holds a hearing in Sydney today. Senator Hanson-Young will also address the Fair Education: Justice for International Students rally when it reaches Parliament House.
“The Greens want to see an Australian Student Card created to grant all students – undergraduate and postgraduate, domestic and international – concession rates for public transport in every state and territory,” said Senator Hanson-Young, Greens spokesperson for Education.
“The need for consistent transport concessions for all students across all Australian states and territories, through a national concession card that is recognised everywhere, has been repeatedly raised in this inquiry process.
“At present, New South Wales and Victoria deny concession rates to international students – students who are often more vulnerable than their Australian counterparts due to their lack of support networks and work restrictions imposed by their visas.
“This form of discrimination against students from other countries certainly doesn’t do much for fostering the sense of inclusion and welcome that we know is so badly needed, especially at the moment.
“The Council of Australian Governments should place the matter of a nationwide Australian Student Card on the agenda for its next meeting in December.”
Senator Hanson-Young said this afternoon’s Fair Education rallies for international student rights around the country were public expressions of the frustration being experienced by students from overseas.
“It’s a shame that the turmoil in Australia’s international education sector has had to boil over to this point,” she said.
“However, I look forward to addressing the Sydney rally, meeting students, and hearing their stories first-hand to better understand how we can solve the problems.”