The majority voted in favour of a motion to read the bill a second time.
This means that the majority of members agree with the main idea of the bill.
Someone who voted Aye supported the main idea of the bill, which was to allow universities to impose an annual capped compulsory student services and amenities fee. Since the majority voted Aye, the bill can now be discussed in greater detail.
However, in this case, the members agreed to give the bill a third reading immediately after this division.(That division is available here. ) This means that the bill was passed in the House of Representatives and would now be sent to the Senate for their consideration.
Debate in Parliament
The bill was introduced by Labor Party MP Kate Ellis, the Minister for Youth and Minister for Sport. She said that the bill delivers “the government’s election commitment to rebuild important university student services and to also ensure that students have representation on campus”.(See MP Ellis' full discussion of the bill here. )
Liberal Party MP Sophie Mirabella, the Shadow Minister for Youth, claimed that the bill’s "primary purpose is to impose a new tax on the one million students attending universities across the nation, whether the students are full time, part time, studying on campus or external".(See MP Mirabella's contribution here. )
Background to the bill
Compulsory student union fees were abolished under then Prime Minister John Howard’s Coalition Government with the Higher Education Support Amendment (Abolition of Compulsory Upfront Student Union Fees) Bill 2005. This meant that universities could no longer require students to pay a compulsory fee for facilities, amenities or services that were not of an academic nature.
This bill aims to re-introduce a compulsory student services and amenities fee.(More information about this bill and its context can be found here.)