Jacqui Lambie names her terms

The independent senator for Tasmania rejects the government’s funding reform bill, denouncing, “weird and obscure culture wars where universities are the enemy and the working class are collateral damage”

Last night Senator Lambie cut the political heart out of the government’s bill; hiking the cost to students of humanities courses. And she rejected reported concessions to Senator Pauline Hanson and colleague Malcolm Roberts, to restore discounts on student fees paid up front. “The wealthier you are the cheaper university becomes. It’s just a good break for those who’ve enjoyed more than a few good breaks. Meanwhile, poor kids get a raw deal from this bill.” Senator Lambie stated.

She also flat out opposed provisions in the bill penalising students who fail half their first-year subjects as, “completely at odds with the idea of helping people get a leg up.”

However, Senator Lambie left a life-line for a bill of sorts, adding; “there’s scope to reduce the Commonwealth’s contribution for some courses if we are trying to save money. And I am open to a debate about how much to reduce it by. I do not accept the status-quo ‘do-nothing’ scenario is as good as it gets. I think we can save the taxpayer some money and still make university accessible and affordable.”

With parliament resuming and his legislation ready to go, Education Minister Dan Tehan has two apparent options. If Senator Hanson and Senator Roberts stay solid, he needs one senate vote, either from Senator Lambie or South Australian Stirling Griff. Perhaps the minister might be amenable to amending the bill to provide more UG places for SA, which has a lower participation rate than other states. Or perhaps the minister will look to salvage what he can in negotiations with Senator Lambie.

Whatever occurs the bill as it now stands is either dead or about to be very different.