Media Releases

An Inquiry into Higher Education, Just Minus the Student Voice

12 Aug 17

It would seem that the Senate Education and Employment Committee has forgotten that the key stakeholders of higher education are the students, according to the Council of Australian Postgraduate Associations (CAPA). The tabling of the inquiry report into the Higher Education Support Legislation Amendment Bill 2017 has shown a remarkable bias by ignoring student submissions and testimonials.

CAPA has notices an interesting trend between the recommendation from the committee compared to Labors’ and the Greens’ dissenting reports. The dissenting reports, in which student submissions and testimonials are considered, then the recommendation is to reject the bill.

CAPA is disappointed that is was not invited to present at the public hearings given that it is the peak national representative body for postgraduate students in the country. Especially considering there are aspects of the bill that specifically focus on the provision of funding for postgraduate students.

CAPA also questions the lack of any Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander student representatives at the public hearings. Theses proposed changes to enabling courses are expected to directly disadvantage these students and it is essential that their input is sought.

To have student voices ignored but allowing Andrew Norton two bites of the cherry is galling. Not only was Andrew Norton on the “expert panel” that developed this package but also presented a submission and appearing as a witness to the inquiry.

CAPA would like to renew its call for senators to reject the bill in its current form. It is essential for the Senate to stand with students and protect Australia’s future.

CAPA National President Peter Derbyshire says:

“It is shameful that an inquiry into higher education barely considers the student voice in this issue.”

“What does it say about the committee inquiry process when key student representatives are not provided with the opportunity to present about issues that directly affect their education?”

“Even during the debacle that was the Liberal parties last attempted attack on students the senate committee had the decency to invite student leaders to present as witnesses”

For Comment: CAPA National President Peter Derbyshire
M: 0435 047 817