Full transcript below:
I know that education is the great enabler in Australian society. When I visit Griffith University's Nathan campus, I see the transformative power of education up close, changing the lives of individual students, creating alternative futures, rewriting family stories and family trajectories, and transforming our economy as a whole as we embrace the information revolution. For so many uni students an education can lead to a lifetime of higher earnings. It brings exposure to those things that make life truly rich: friendship, social mobility, creative thinking and lifelong learning.
Our society is richer when we are challenged with new ideas that shape debates and foster creativity. Therefore, it is completely unacceptable that the Turnbull government is seeking to build barriers against students, dashing their dreams of ever entering university. Access to university should be determined by your willingness to work hard and how smart you are, not your parents' bank balance. This year Malcolm Turnbull's budget has delivered fresh attacks on the tertiary education sector. He has hiked up student fees, slashed funding by nearly $4 billion and lowered the HECS repayment threshold to only $42,000.
Labor fought for universities after the horror show that was the 2014 budget, and we will do so again. The PM's focus group research told him to keep repeating the word 'fairness'. He needs to do more.