The majority voted against a motion to read the bill a third time.
This means that the bill did not have the support of the majority of senators and so it will not become law.
Someone who voted Aye supports the bill, which allows universities to impose an annual capped compulsory student services and amenities fee. Since there were an equal number of senators who voted Aye and No, the bill was rejected. This is because bills need the support of a majority in order to be passed.
Debate in Parliament
Labor Senator Kim Carr said that the bill would introduce a fee that will “assist the rebuilding and the restoration of student services and amenities”.(Read Senator Carr's contribution here. ) He emphasised that the fee “will be paid directly to universities and not to student organisations”.
Liberal Party Senator Brett Mason said that the Opposition “do not believe that students should be forced to pay for services they will not or cannot use”.(Read Senator Mason's contribution here. ) He argued that the demographic of universities has changed: “Most students are older; many more now study part-time and in the evenings, with work and other commitments”. He said this fee “will be subsidising students who live on campus and that is just not fair”.
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.)