The National Union of Students called a national day of action to “celebrate” education minister Christopher Pyne’s 47th birthday on August 13.
Students used the occasion to protest the federal government’s funding cuts to higher education, which will mean students will have to pay up to three times more for a university degree than they do now and will pay more interest on their HECS-HELP fee.
Protests were held in capital cities around the country.
At Murdoch University in Perth, students signed a giant unhappy birthday card for Pyne and played pin the tail on Tony Abbott.
The messages on the card ranged from “I don't want to have a debt sentence when I turn 47” and “Hope you enjoyed your free education. Thanks for the debt slavery” — pointing out that Pyne enjoyed a free university education.
In Sydney, students occupied the lobby of the NSW Liberal Party headquarters and sang an unhappy birthday song.
The actions are in the lead up to a national day of protest on August 20 for education rights.