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Pyne on the run – to another defeat

Lee Rhiannon 16 Mar 2015

Commenting on Education Minister Christopher Pyne’s decision to split his higher education Bill, Greens higher education spokesperson Senator Lee Rhiannon said:

“Christopher Pyne’s announcement is the latest desperate manoeuvre from a desperate government. Having lost several key votes in the Senate, the government’s plan to split the Bill is a last-ditch attempt to save face by avoiding a negative vote.

“Mr Pyne’s plan for $100,000 degrees and massive cuts to universities has not changed. 

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Time for Tony Abbott to pull Pyne into line and secure Australian research

With the government’s higher education bill set to fail in the Senate this week, the Australian Greens have called on Tony Abbott to withdraw his government’s higher education Bill and pull Education Minister Christopher Pyne into line and confirm funding for Australian research infrastructure.

“Support for fee deregulation is crumbling. The Senate crossbench looks set to join university students, staff, and the community who have already rejected these reforms,” said Greens higher education spokesperson Senator Lee Rhiannon.

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Research and Higher Education Press Conference - Parliament House

The government’s Higher Education reforms are destined to fail in the Senate, with Labor, the Greens and most of the crossbench opposing fee deregulation in any form.

Senator Lee Rhiannon is calling on the government to scrap the Bill and open up a national dialogue about higher education.

Adam Bandt MP has called on Tony Abbott to immediately confirm $150 million in funding for Australian researchers and research infrastructure that Education Minister Christopher Pyne has placed under threat.

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Abbott government pretends to take on dodgy colleges to help out Baird

Lee Rhiannon 12 Mar 2015

The Abbott government’s so called clean-up of dodgy colleges is a politically driven announcement timed for the NSW state election as the Baird government is losing support for its plan to expand private, for-profit companies in the vocational education and training sector, Senator Lee Rhiannon Greens higher education spokesperson said. 

“The way to end the dodgy colleges isn’t by fines and audits. For profit private colleges should not be allowed to operate in the vocational education and training sector,” Senator Rhiannon said. 

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Science, research and jobs threatened by Pyne's Parliamentary blackmail

Greens Deputy Leader and science, research and innovation spokesperson Adam Bandt MP today said that world-class research facilities around the country and about 1700 jobs face the axe from June 30 this year under Education Minister Christopher Pyne’s desperate attempt to pass his Higher Education bill by blackmailing the Senate.

“Education Minister Christopher Pyne is blackmailing the Parliament, saying that unless the Parliament passes his plan to increase university fees, he’ll take the axe to science and research facilities in this country,” Mr Bandt said.

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Motion: Employment in Regional NSW

Senator RHIANNON (New South Wales) (15:48): I move:

That the Senate—

(a) notes that:

(i) the average unemployment rate in regional New South Wales has risen by 2.6 per cent since the Liberal/National Government came to office in New South Wales,

(ii) unemployment in regional New South Wales is now 8.5 per cent, compared to 5.8 per cent in the greater Sydney area,

(iii) more than 10 000 jobs have been lost in the Shoalhaven and Southern Highlands area - 16 per cent of the workforce - since the Abbott Government came to office,

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Pyne’s fine plan for universities to hit students

Lee Rhiannon 4 Mar 2015

Greens higher education spokesperson Senator Lee Rhiannon commenting on the Liberal/National government plan to fine universities that overcharge for degrees said:

“Pyne’s penalty plan is more evidence that deregulation does not work.

“Government fines imposed on universities will be passed onto students, adding to the cost burden university fees already impose.

“The Minister has spent a year singing the praises of the marketplace as the way to determine fair fees for students. His arguments are in tatters now.

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Speech: Tony Abbott's Higher Education Changes

Lee Rhiannon 4 Mar 2015

Senator RHIANNON (New South Wales) (16:23): The Liberal-National government are trying anything to win the numbers to get this higher education bill passed. What we saw announced today by Minister Pyne is not a compromise; it is the Abbott government's great big new tax. But it is not a tax on those who should pay, the big end of town; it is a tax on ordinary people. It is a tax on, effectively, prospective students, students and their families, They are the ones who will cop it if these measures go through. We know that because of the way it has been set out.

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Government's $500,000 higher education call centre a flop

Lee Rhiannon 25 Feb 2015

Commenting on revelations today that the Federal Department of Education budgeted $500,000 for a higher education information hotline that received only 135 calls, Australian Greens spokesperson for higher education Senator Lee Rhiannon said:

"If half a million dollars was spent on this call centre, this equates to $3700 per phone call received.

"It is extraordinary that the Abbott government is spending millions of dollars in a broad advertising campaign to sell their higher education cuts that would rip billions out of university funding.

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