How Nigel Scullion voted compared to someone who believes that Higher Education Loan Programme (HELP) debts - also known as HECS-HELP debts - should be indexed in line with the ten-year bond rate, capped at six per cent, instead of the generally lower rate of the Consumer Price Index (CPI)

Division Nigel Scullion Supporters vote Division outcome

2nd Dec 2014, 5:58 PM – Senate Higher Education and Research Reform Amendment Bill 2014 - Second Reading - Agree with the main idea of the bill

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The majority disagreed with the main idea of the bill (in parliamentary jargon, they refused to give the bill a second reading). This means the bill is now rejected and won't be considered any more. Read more about this division in ABC News.

Main idea of the bill

The main idea of the bill is to introduce broad ranging changes to the higher education sector, including the three changes mentioned below.

1. Deregulating university fees

One of the most controversial aspects of the bill is that it will remove any restrictions on the amount that universities can charge students for tuition in Commonwealth Supported Places (CSPs). It is not known how much tuition fees would rise if this bill is passed and becomes law (read more in the bills digest).

2. Indexing HECS-HELP debt by ten year bond rate

The bill will also introduce new indexation arrangements for Higher Education Loan Programme (HELP) debts (also known as HECS-HELP debts). Currently, these debts are indexed by the Consumer Price Index (CPI). The bill proposes to index them by the generally higher ten year bond rate, with a cap at 6%.

3. Charging fees for postgraduate research degrees

Currently, postgraduate students in research degrees don't have to pay any tuition costs. The bill will allow universities to charge these students fees of up to $3,900 per unit for high-cost courses and $1,700 for low-cost courses.

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).

absent Yes (strong) Not passed by a small majority

How "never voted" is worked out

Normally a person's votes count towards a score which is used to work out a simple phrase to summarise their position on a policy. However in this case Nigel Scullion was absent during all divisions for this policy. So, it's impossible to say anything concrete other than that they have "never voted" on this policy.