Uni hecklers go overboard
By ALEX EASTON
DON'T mention the war. Or the children overboard. Or the GST. The civilised air at Southern Cross University's election candidate forum yesterday collapsed briefly after questions on these issues were lobbed at Page MP Ian Causley in the final minutes of the event. The 90-minute forum was dominated by higher education issues, with members of the 40-strong crowd asking candidates about their positions on issues such as HECS, the age at which Centrelink decides young people are independent for Austudy purposes (25), and government funding for staff and student places and research. That ended when a student asked Mr Causley how voters could trust the Coalition after the GST, the children overboard issue, and Iraq. The veteran MP easily got through the GST answer, pointing out that the Government campaigned on a policy of introducing the tax. But he had less luck with children overboard: Asylum seekers did throw their children overboard, he told the crowd, just not those asylum seekers. The heckling that followed had to be stopped by forum chairwoman and National Tertiary Education Union presi- dent Carolyn Allport.