Summary

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The majority voted in favour of passing the bill in the Senate. In other words, they voted to read the bill for a third time. Because new amendments were agreed to in the Senate, the bill needs to return to the House of Representatives for a final time before it can become law.

What does the bill do?

This bill will implement part of the government's Job Ready Graduates Package and includes major proposed higher education funding changes, including how the government currently subsidises university tuition costs.

If successful in its current form, the bill will decrease the subsidy for most areas of the humanities and social science as well as in engineering, science, surveying, environmental studies and other areas. On the other hand, it will increase the subsidy for most health fields, education, mathematics and other areas. At the same time, the bill will set new maximum student contribution amounts, which means the degree costs for students are going to change significantly. Humanities, law and commerce degrees are going to increase in price while mathematics, agriculture and certain science degrees will decrease.

Sometimes, such as in the case of engineering, the changes appear somewhat contradictory: both the subsidy for engineering and the maximum student contribution rate is being reduced. According to Science and Technology Australia ("STA"):

...the proposed reduction of funding could risk the teaching of engineering especially at smaller or regional universities. The impact of the funding changes would also be particularly acute in the ‘heavy engineering’ disciplines – the teaching of which often involves expensive large-scale facilities and infrastructure. This affects fields such as mining engineering, petrochemical engineering, electrical engineering, heavy mechanical engineering and advanced manufacturing.

The most significant change will be in the cost of humanities degrees, which will go from being one of the cheapest subject areas to one of the most expensive.

According to the bills digest:

Analysis from the Centre for the Study of Higher Education at the University of Melbourne has estimated the overall impact of the proposed change:

University revenue for teaching would be reduced by nearly one billion dollars in 2021 and every year thereafter for the same domestic student load as in 2018 as a result of the funding caps imposed in 2018 and the 2021 funding cluster changes in Job-ready Graduates

In other words, the overall affect of the bill appears to be a reduction in government funding for the university sector.

Read more about the bill in the bills digest.

Votes Passed by a small majority

Nobody rebelled against their party.

Party Votes
Australian Greens (67% turnout) 0 Yes 6 No
Mehreen Faruqi NSW No
Sarah Hanson-Young SA No
Nick McKim Tasmania No
Rachel Siewert WA No
Lidia Thorpe Victoria No
Larissa Waters Queensland No
Janet Rice Victoria Absent
Jordon Steele-John WA Absent
Peter Whish-Wilson Tasmania Absent
Australian Labor Party (68% turnout) 0 Yes 17 No
Tim Ayres NSW No
Carol Brown Tasmania No
Kim Carr Victoria No
Patrick Dodson WA No
Don Farrell SA No
Katy Gallagher ACT No
Jenny McAllister NSW No
Malarndirri McCarthy NT No
Deborah O'Neill NSW No
Helen Polley Tasmania No
Louise Pratt WA No
Tony Sheldon NSW No
Marielle Smith SA No
Glenn Sterle WA No
Anne Urquhart Tasmania No
Murray Watt Queensland No
Penny Wong SA No
Catryna Bilyk Tasmania Absent
Anthony Chisholm Queensland Absent
Raff Ciccone Victoria Absent
Alex Gallacher SA Absent
Nita Green Queensland Absent
Kristina Keneally NSW Absent
Kimberley Kitching Victoria Absent
Jess Walsh Victoria Absent
Stirling Griff SA Centre Alliance Absent
Sam McMahon NT Country Liberal Party Yes
Sue Lines WA Deputy President No
Rex Patrick SA Independent No
Jacqui Lambie Tasmania Jacqui Lambie Network No
Liberal National Party (0.0% turnout) Absent
Matthew Canavan Queensland Absent
James McGrath Queensland Absent
Liberal Party (79% turnout) 23 Yes 0 No
Eric Abetz Tasmania Yes
Alex Antic SA Yes
Wendy Askew Tasmania Yes
Simon Birmingham SA Yes
Andrew Bragg NSW Yes
Michaelia Cash WA Yes
Claire Chandler Tasmania Yes
Richard Colbeck Tasmania Yes
Mathias Cormann WA Yes
Jonathon Duniam Tasmania Yes
Concetta Fierravanti-Wells NSW Yes
Sarah Henderson Victoria Yes
Hollie Hughes NSW Yes
Jane Hume Victoria Yes
Andrew McLachlan SA Yes
Jim Molan NSW Yes
Matt O'Sullivan WA Yes
Gerard Rennick Queensland Yes
Linda Reynolds WA Yes
Anne Ruston SA Yes
Paul Scarr Queensland Yes
Dean Smith WA Yes
Amanda Stoker Queensland Yes
Slade Brockman WA Absent
David Fawcett SA Absent
James Paterson Victoria Absent
Marise Payne NSW Absent
Zed Seselja ACT Absent
David Van Victoria Absent
National Party (67% turnout) 2 Yes 0 No
Perin Davey NSW Yes
Bridget McKenzie Victoria Yes
Susan McDonald Queensland Absent
Pauline Hanson's One Nation Party (50% turnout) 1 Yes 0 No
Malcolm Roberts Queensland Yes
Pauline Hanson Queensland Absent
Scott Ryan Victoria President Yes
Totals (71% turnout) 28 Yes – 26 No