Time for Tony Abbott to pull Pyne into line and secure Australian research

With the government’s higher education bill set to fail in the Senate this week, the Australian Greens have called on Tony Abbott to withdraw his government’s higher education Bill and pull Education Minister Christopher Pyne into line and confirm funding for Australian research infrastructure.

“Support for fee deregulation is crumbling. The Senate crossbench looks set to join university students, staff, and the community who have already rejected these reforms,” said Greens higher education spokesperson Senator Lee Rhiannon.

“Education Minister Christopher Pyne may continue the façade that there is still room for negotiations, but Labor, the Greens and most of the crossbench don’t support fee deregulation in any form.

“So far, Senator Bob Day is the only confirmed backer for the higher education reforms. This Bill could end up with less support in the Senate than its predecessor. It’s clearly time for the government to scrap this Bill.” Senator Rhiannon said.

Greens Deputy Leader and science and research spokesperson Adam Bandt MP today called on Tony Abbott to pull Education Minister Christopher Pyne into line and confirm $150 million in funding for Australia’s research infrastructure.

“Education Minister Christopher Pyne’s blackmail of Parliament has backfired. Yet he is still threatening the future of 1700 jobs and Australia’s world-leading science and research by saying to Parliament unless you lift university fees, I’m going to sack 1700 scientists and researchers,” said Greens Deputy Leader and science and research spokesperson Adam Bandt MP.

“Christopher Pyne’s threat is nothing short of blackmail.”

“The government is saying to Parliament ‘lift university fees or the scientist gets it’. This is no way to run the country.”

“It’s like saying we’re not going to fund schools unless the Parliament passes the GP-fee.”

“The two issues are completely unrelated. The only place that the funding of scientists in this country and the plan to lift university fees is connected is in Christopher Pyne’s head.”

“The Chief Scientist Ian Chubb has warned that with ongoing uncertainty about whether Australia’s research facilities will get funding past June this year, scientists have already decided that there’s better places to take their brains than Australia.”

“This is now a test for Tony Abbott. The Prime Minister, if he is committed to medical research and science in this country, must now pull his Education Minister into line and immediately confirm the funding for Australian research infrastructure is secure.”

Media contact:

Senator Rhiannon – Maiy Azize, 0487 350 880
Adam Bandt – Adam Pulford, 0429 109 054

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