It is relieving to hear that university deregulation has been blocked by the Senate for the second time in four months. Removing limits on university fees will be disastrous for Australian students. But despite most cross bench senators vote against the government’s proposed legislation, Christopher Pyne has vowed the government “will not give up.”
Deregulating universities is an unfair and unjust principle that will widen inequality, damage Australia’s ability to participate competitively on a global scale, exacerbate the youth unemployment crisis and increase the difficulty for young people to enter the housing market.
Inequality of opportunity is guaranteed if this legislation is passed, as only the well off will be able to afford soaring university fees. Basic three year degrees are estimated to jump to $48,000 according to The Australian. The wide gap between the rich and poor will become a gaping abyss. It is alarming that our leaders even consider taking this risk with concerns about growing inequality in mind.
The deregulation scheme is bound to reduce the number of qualified professional, hence injuring the professional workforce, as fewer young people will be able to afford university fees. The quality of university education in Australia which today attracts citizens from all over the globe will dramatically diminish under this scheme. The number of professional researchers will decrease as a result of fewer university graduates, potentially damaging Australia’s status as a global competitor and contributor.
This proposed legislation is frightening for young people with existing worries regarding entering the housing market. A study by the Australian National University indicates that it will take young people 30 years after graduation to repay their education loans when deregulation policies are in place, compared to 16 years in the current system. How are young people expected to begin saving for a housing deposit while repaying off ridiculously high education loans?
Around 20% of Australia’s youth are unemployed today. This already alarming figure will soar with the implementation of deregulation legislation with fewer higher education graduates resulting in a decreased number of youth directly entering the professional workforce.
Mr Pyne, Mr Abbott, if you vow to “never give up” on the matter of deregulation, it is crucial that you take this issue to the next election to ensure the fulfilment of liberal democracy. University deregulation proposals are fundamentally flawed and must not be passed if Australia is to place pride and value in it’s higher education system.