The Greens say that a Senate Inquiry should go ahead into international education in Australia, following a recent spate of violent attacks on Indian students and other concerning reports.
Senator Sarah Hanson-Young announced last month that she would move for a Senate Inquiry into Australia’s international education sector, which the National Union of Students had also called for. Education Minister Julia Gillard later said that the Government would be convening a roundtable to discuss issues affecting international students.
“The horrifying recent attacks on a number of Indian students have cast a stark spotlight on some of the challenges faced by international students in Australia,” said Senator Hanson-Young, Greens spokesperson on Education and Immigration.
“We welcome the attention paid to these issues from the Education Minister, and welcome her contributions through our proposed Senate Inquiry.
“Student safety is just one issue that must be addressed, as well as student welfare, access to adequate accommodation, exploitation and discrimination within employment, the conduct of migration agents, and visa requirements.
“For the sake of not only international students’ rights and wellbeing, but also Australia’s reputation internationally, we need to establish effective benchmarks and quality control mechanisms within the international education sector, and make sure that it is regulated properly.
“A Senate Inquiry will be an effective way of dealing with this whole range of issues, through a transparent process in which state governments, education providers, students and the public can participate.”
Senator Hanson-Young said that international students contributed positively to Australian society, and deserved to have their rights and wellbeing protected.
“International students and other migrants have enriched the social fabric of the Australian community, and the relationships built between nations and cultures over years should not be jeopardised by the actions of a despicable minority,” she said.
“I will move for this Senate Inquiry into Australia’s international education sector when Parliament resumes in two weeks.”