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Federal

Jun 5, 2014

Dear Christopher Pyne, here is your HECS bill

Education Minister Chris Pyne didn't pay HECS for his four-year degree, but he's very keen to make sure future students pay very high fees. We've prepared a bill for Mr Pyne to pay his fair share.

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“There is no such thing, of course, as ‘free’ education — somebody has to pay.”

That was Education Minister Christopher Pyne’s response when asked in question time who among the Coalition frontbench had benefited from a free education. Pyne responded that he hadn’t taken a survey of the frontbench (don’t worry, we have!). Quoting former PM Paul Keating, Pyne said:

” … a free higher education system is one paid for by the taxes of all, the majority of whom haven’t had the privilege of a university education. Ask yourself if you think that is a fair thing.”

Like the government we’re all about fairness and paying our way. But unlike Pyne, we didn’t get our degrees for free. Pyne did a four-year Bachelor of Laws at the University of Adelaide in 1985-88, for which he paid no fees (HECS was introduced in 1989).

So Crikey has prepared an invoice for the amount Pyne would pay for his degree if he were to do it under the Coalition’s new system. Lets hope he pays up instead of free-riding.

A Bachelor of Laws at the University of Adelaide currently costs $40,300. The amount shown on our invoice is based on modelling by Universitites Australia that shows “student debt levels are likely to at least double”. Compared to The Greens’ whatwillmydegreecost website, our bill is a conservative estimate of what Pyne’s degree would cost in the future.

If you’d like to see Pyne pay his fair share, why not print it out and post it to his electoral office, care of the address on the invoice? Click here to download a printable version.

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