Statements by Members - Higher Education


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Ms BIRD (Cunningham) (13:55): There is a simple message for this government and the Minister for Education today: give up on trying to be nimble. The project has failed abysmally. It has gone through various policy proposals, packages, propositions and, indeed, all sorts of variations across the period since the last budget, and on each occasion it has failed. The minister is not nimble. He should stop trying to be so. It culminated last night in the most amazing interview with David Speers on Sky where he claimed to be a nimble fixer. He was not a nimble policy maker, he was not a nimble legislator, and he most certainly is not a nimble fixer. It is quite simple: just start being fair. Try fairness. Give fairness a go. That would be a nice start. The minister consistently presents the argument that vice-chancellors and peak university bodies support his packages in all their iterations, and no-one else does. Well, I can tell him who does not support the packages and that is the thousands of students in each of our electorates whose voice has been loudly and clearly heard, along with their families and their parents, saying, 'We will not tolerate our university system that has unfairness at its heart.' That is exactly what this package is. You have failed on being nimble. You have failed on being clever. You have failed on being a fixer. Just give fairness a go.