The proposed new sanctions send a powerful signal to shonks trying to sell cheating services to university students.
Universities Australia Chief Executive Catriona Jackson said legislation would back up the strong existing work by universities to deter students from cheating.
“While the penalties in this legislation are aimed at the cheating services, we always remind students: if you’re tempted to cheat, just don’t do it,” she said.
“Not only is there a strong chance you will get caught, but the people selling you these services can hold it over you for the rest of your life.”
Universities Australia thanks Education Minister Dan Tehan for taking a strong stance on the issue and for incorporating our feedback into the revised Bill.
The legislation now draws a distinction between commercial cheating services – which face criminal penalties – and civil penalties for people who help a student cheat without payment.
“This change reinforces that the real target of criminal sanctions are the people exploiting stressed and vulnerable students,” Ms Jackson said.
“They’re quite rightly the focus of this piece of legislation and should face the full force of the law.”
The legislation has also been changed to make it an offence to help a student with “a substantial part of a piece of work”.
The original draft proposed banning help with “any part of a piece of work” – which could have included editing or proofreading by family and friends.
UA proposed both changes and we are pleased the Government has revised the legislation to tighten the remit and give more clarity to regulators, universities, students and their families.
“Strong criminal penalties should make contract cheating companies think twice about offering their services to our students,” Ms Jackson said.
“Contract cheating services operate globally – and other countries including Ireland and New Zealand have brought in legislation to outlaw it.”
“Catching contract cheating services will rely on a continuing partnership between universities and the regulator sharing information and good practice to help put these shonks out of business.”