Palmer rules out supporting bill to deregulate education

THE Abbott government's plans to deregulate the higher education fee system may not become reality, after key crossbenchers Clive Palmer ruled out any of his bloc voting for the bill in the Senate.

Lengthy debate on the Education Minister's bills to reform higher education during sittings this week saw the bill passed by the lower house, and it is expected to come before the Senate in October.

The bills propose deregulating university fees, changing research grants schemes and open diplomas and advanced diplomas to a demand-driven system.

But with both Labor and The Greens against the proposals, Palmer United Party leader Mr Palmer waited until Friday to confirm his party's official position.

Mr Palmer said in a statement he had written to Minister Christopher Pyne to tell him all the PUP senators, which make up the balance of power in the upper house, would vote against the bill.

He said deregulating universities would mean degrees would "cost more for all Australians to have a decent education to provide for their families".

Rather, he advocated for a return to the original free higher education system, as well as abandoning its plans for the Medicare co-payment and Prime Minister Tony Abbott's paid parental leave scheme.

"To make Australian students pay for their own education before they have earned any money only destroys their capability, enterprise and creativity," he said.

"It also costs the nation the leadership that they can provide when they graduate."

Mr Pyne's office has not yet responded to Mr Palmer's position on the bills. - APN NEWSDESK



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