The student movement is experience an exciting revival across the world, particularly in the UK where over twenty campuses are striking in solidarity with the UCU strike. We’ve seen a reinvigoration of the trade union movement in the education sector, as UCU branches voted overwhelmingly in favour of continuing industrial action to save their pensions, under the slogan #NoCapitulation. More and more Vice-Chancellors have been forced to change their position on pension cuts due to the pressure effective student-staff solidarity has exerted on them.
This is what we should be inspired by as we experience severe attacks on students THIS WEEK with the introduction of the Higher Education Support Legislation Amendment (Student Loan Sustainability) Bill 2018 in the Senate. The proposed legislation would introduce a new minimum repayment threshold of $45,000 (before tax). A yearly income of $45,000
is just over half the average full-time wage of an adult in Australia, and is only marginally higher than the national full-time minimum wage. I think it is shocking that the amendment targets the most vulnerable graduates.The Liberal Government is also introducing a cap on the HECS-HELP debt you can accrue over your lifetime. So when a student reaches their loan limit, they must pay their fees upfront. This will especially hurt students studying a combination of Commonwealth supported and full-fee paying degrees, which typically oc
curs under a “Melbourne model” style of education. This restricts students’ ability to access certain higher status degrees, such as postgraduate law, unless they can cough up tens of thousands of dollars (or more) upfront.
The Liberals have just cut $2.2 billion from universities, and now they are seeking to further rip money from students who are barely earning
above the minimum wage. We had an incredible National Day of Action last week, but we must continue that anger, bury the bill and fight for better quality education. Join the Education Action Group and urge these Senators to not vote through the bill:
Stirling Griff (firstname.lastname@example.org),
Rex Patrick (email@example.com),
Peter Georgiou (firstname.lastname@example.org),
Derryn Hinch (email@example.com),
Fraser Anning (firstname.lastname@example.org),
Steve Martin (email@example.com), and
Timothy Storer (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Feel free to email me at email@example.com if you have any concerns or wish to get involved with the SRC. If you are experiencing any academic, personal or legal issues and wish to seek the advice of an SRC caseworker or solicitor, contact us at 9660 5222 or firstname.lastname@example.org.