The majority voted in favour of a motion to agree with the main idea of the bill. In parliamentary jargon, they voted to read the bill for a second time. They can now discuss the provisions of the bill in more detail.
However, in this case, the House went straight ahead and voted to pass the bill, meaning that the bill will now be sent to the Senate for their consideration.
What is the bill's main idea?
According to the bills digest, the bill was introduced along with the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency Amendment (Cost Recovery) Bill 2021:
to create a framework for the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA), Australia’s independent national higher education regulator, to begin phasing-in cost recovery arrangements from 1 January 2022.
In other words, the bill will allow TEQSA to seek more money from universities to cover certain government costs in respect to the tertiary sector. Read the bills digest for more detail on what costs will be recovered from universities.
This bill is controversial in light of the dire financial situation most Australian universities are now in, mostly due to a combination of government funding cuts and COVID-related drops in international student intakes.