The Council of Australian Postgraduate Associations (CAPA) today launches the campaign “Support Postgrads – Australia’s Future” which assesses political parties on their commitment to the policy reforms most needed to improve conditions for postgraduate students.
We found that the Australian Greens were the strongest supporter of our policy priorities, including through committing to income support for postgraduate students and supporting a cap on full-fee tuition for postgraduate coursework students. Meanwhile, Labor has stated in-principle support for many issues impacting postgraduate students, and has committed to conducting a full review of the higher education system should they form government. The Labor party has confirmed that this review will consider extending income support for postgraduate students in financial need.
CAPA is disappointed that the Liberal-National Coalition could not be bothered to respond to our election questionnaire. However this may be reflective of publicly stated policy positions that are opposed to the key priorities of postgraduate students.
We implore voters to take the parties’ higher education policies into consideration when going to the polls on May 18.
We asked each major party their stance on policy issues of most relevance to postgraduate students. Our main requests are:
• Extend income support (e.g. Austudy) to all full-time domestic postgraduate students, subject to means testing
• Guarantee the continuation of the Student Services and Amenities Fee (SSAF)
• Reverse the cuts made in the last term of government to higher education and research funding, and return the HELP loan repayment threshold to pre-2018 levels
• Cap the cost of tuition for postgraduate full-fee places
In addition, we call on the incoming government to:
• Increase the number of covered sessions with a mental health professional
• Increase research grants targeted at early career researchers
• Make part-time government-issued scholarships tax-free, like full-time scholarships
• Outlaw conversion therapy Australia-wide
The full report is available at http://www.capa.edu.au/2019-federal-election-campaign-support-postgrads-australias-future/
CAPA National President Natasha Abrahams
M: 0430 076 993