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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.

Sally Whyte — Political reporter

Sally Whyte

Political reporter

“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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12 thoughts on “Dear Christopher Pyne, here is your HECS bill

  1. Electric Lardyland

    Aww, it’s okay, we’re all getting the benefits of the Raging Poodle’s education.

  2. zut alors

    Judging by the end product we taxpayers were robbed.

  3. Jase Goldsmith

    I just used ‘What will my degree cost’ using Mr Pyne’s current information.

    “Before the 2014 budget your studies would cost $49,000 and take 4 years to pay off” but “after the 2014 budget your studies will cost $121,522 (incl. deregulation + interest) and take 8 years to pay off”

    So, basically, you’re up for another $72,522

  4. Greig White

    A jolly old jape for sure, but have you run this through legal? I’m not sure whether people sending letters on forged ATO letterhead is likely to land them in trouble.

  5. Andybob

    What about the time value of money ? I don’t see why the Poodle should be immune to compound interest.

  6. David Penington

    Charge him interest since 1988, at the Government bond rate – that’s what he wants to do.

  7. Tony Marshall

    A road in WA is one paid for by the taxes of all, the majority of whom haven’t had the privilege of driving on it. Ask yourself if you think that is a fair thing.

  8. deft descender

    $80k x 100 students = $8,000,000 divided by 4 yrs = $2M per year.


    Three lecturers x $200k = $600k pa

    Building rent = $150k pa

    Admin = $250k pa

    Sundries = $75k

    Total expenses = $1,075,000.00

    Income = $2,000,000.00

    Profit = $925,000.00 pa.

    Zero tax………….

    Not a bad earn for the university.

    I’d say competition will put paid to that $80k bill.

  9. AR

    Apart from wanting similar accounts sent to all the drones on the government benches who scarfed up the benefits of the Whitlam years, there is also the daily, demonstrable fact that a uni edjakashun can’t make a silk purse out of a pig’s scrotum.

  10. deft descender

    No excuse for crappy degrees in the future, the universities will have shed loads of money to deliver the best. My quick calcs above show near 100% profit margins with $80k fees.