Law students partially condemn HECS

October 23, 1996

By Emily McCosker and Marina Cameron

Law students at Sydney, NSW and Melbourne universities, and the University of Technology, Sydney, have condemned the federal government's proposals to introduce differential HECS and lower the repayment threshold.

Jacqui Lennon from the Sydney University Law Society called the changes "illogical", saying that "the words 'access to education' have no meaning in the light of the government's proposals". Law societies are particularly concerned by the placement of law in the highest HECS bracket when it is one of the cheaper course to run.

The Law Students' Society at the University of NSW, however, accepted the principle of students "contributing" towards their education, but criticised differential HECS and a lower repayment rate as "against the spirit of HECS". This position has also be promoted in the media by the scheme's architect Bruce Chapman.

Resistance member and activist at Sydney University, Sarah Peart, told Green Left Weekly, "This is simply a way of justifying what the Labor Party did in government, shifting education towards user-pays. The changes to HECS have already been shown to restrict access to education, with thousands less people applying to go to uni next year. Specialist course like law will only be more restricted.

"It is good to see law students come out against the changes. However, it is essential that the campaign against education cuts demand no HECS and no fees at all. If we accede to the principle of user-pays, we will be constantly back-peddling in the face of more and more cuts", Peart said.

You need Green Left, and we need you!

Green Left is funded by contributions from readers and supporters. Help us reach our funding target.

Make a One-off Donation or choose from one of our Monthly Donation options.

Become a supporter to get the digital edition for $5 per month or the print edition for $10 per month. One-time payment options are available.

You can also call 1800 634 206 to make a donation or to become a supporter. Thank you.