June 6, 2014
The Coalition is still struggling to overcome the budget backlash by selling its budget with slogans ---repairing Labor's debt and deficit disaster---rather than arguing on behalf of its policies. Slogans won't work given the extent of the broken promises and the budget's inherent inequity.
A classic example is higher education--a deregulation of fees in the university system was sprung on the electorate without warning. It is seen to be unfair and having little to do with the national interest and more to do with neo-liberal ideology of cutting public funding for universities by an average of 20% and getting students to pick up the shortfall.
The cost of university courses will rise dramatically, the debt load of students will increase and it wont pay women to do some courses --eg nursing -- because of low pay and time out from the workforce for family life. Low income students will be priced of the market in the face of being saddled with huge debts deep into middle age whilst the middle class is squeezed.
Even the university sector, which is favour of universities "being set free" to compete as businesses to avoid an inevitable decline in the quality of Australian universities is opposed to the increase in the interest rate on all student debts and the cuts to university funding.
Letting the market decide will see changes within the university sector--more low cost nimble private universities offering quick low cost business type courses, less cross subsidization of the humanities, more teaching only universities and squeeze the smaller universities.