The Federal Minister for Education Simon Birmingham is a slippery character. When he appeared on the ABC’s 7:30 Report pre-budget to discuss the Liberal Government’s policy on tertiary education, his strategy was not surprising, but it was illogical. Presenter Leigh Sales started with the following statement:
The annual cost to the Federal Government of subsidising university degrees for Australian students is set to skyrocket over the next decade… an ABC Freedom of Information investigation has found the Government is preparing to write off billions of dollars in [university student loan] payments as the …bad debt soars.
Minister Birmingham responded by blaming the previous Labor government for policy changes that led to a blow-out in the cost of loans for vocational education students. This is something quite separate from the income-contingent concessional loan system for university students. So when asked about oranges he spoke of lemons.