Universities Australia today calls on the Australian Parliament to resolve its differences and do the right thing for all current and prospective Australian university students and support the Social Security and Other Legislation Amendment (Income Support for Students) Bill.
Last night the Senate failed to pass the Bill, relegating it to legislative limbo.
"It is incredibly disappointing that the Parliament has not been able to pass this legislation that is crucial to Australian students for the future," said Dr Glenn Withers, Chief Executive of Universities Australia.
"We are now faced with the ridiculous possibility of students being denied access to both new and old scholarships due to a political impasse. This is simply irresponsible and represents a backwards step in support for Australian university students," Dr Withers said.
"It is impossible for young Australians to plan sensibly for university enrolment for next year while this situation continues. The universities of Australia call on the Senate to pass this legislation now before the Parliament rises for 2009," Dr Withers said.
"The Parliament is letting down the students who need support the most," Dr Withers said.
"The legislation properly targets the less well-off who really need this support, including through very beneficial scholarship arrangements that make all the difference to the ability of students to attend university and meet up-front expenses," Dr Withers said.
"Negotiation between all the political parties and independents has led to amendments that meet the valid concerns of many Senators, so the package should now be passed.
"The time for politics on this issue is over, and the needs of our students and their families must be given priority," Dr Withers said.
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