The majority agreed to pass the bill (in parliamentary jargon, they agreed to read the bill for a third time). This means that the bill will now go to the Senate to see if the senators agree with the members of parliament (MPs) and also want to pass the bill. If they do, it will become law.
Main idea of the bill
This bill "essentially replicates" the previous Higher Education and Research Reform Amendment Bill 2014, which was rejected by the Senate last year. These measures include:
- deregulating university fees by removing any restrictions on the amount that universities can charge students for tuition in Commonwealth Supported Places (CSPs);
- indexing HECS-HELP debts by the ten year bond rate (with a cap at 6%) instead of the generally lower Consumer Price Index (CPI), which it is currently indexed at; and
- allowing universities to charge postgraduate students in research degrees fees up to a fixed cap (currently they don't have to pay tuition fees).
Read more about these measures in the description of the previous Higher Education and Research Reform Amendment Bill 2014 as well as this bill's bills digest.
Background to the bill
As part of its 2014-15 Budget, Prime Minister Tony Abbott's Government has announced a series of changes to government funding arrangements and this bill is part of those changes (read more in the bills digest).