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Opposition Pigheadedness Leaves Students With Nothing

Media Release
Sarah Hanson-Young 24 Nov 2009

The Federal Opposition has betrayed students across Australia by blocking Youth Allowance legislation that would have removed the worst elements of the original flawed legislation and helped students to access income support for their tertiary careers.

Senator Hanson-Young, Greens spokesperson on Education, says the Government's amended legislation, though imperfect, would have allowed scholarships for students and removed the retrospective nature of the original bill that the Coalition had objected to in the first place.

"The Coalition by its selfish and destructive decision tonight has left tens of thousands of students across Australia without a dollar of income support from January 1,'' Senator Hanson-Young said.
"City kids and rural kids alike will be worse off because of this appalling abrogation of responsibility by the Opposition.

"These parties never lifted a finger to help students in the dozen years they were in office, and now they have continued this shameful record on the Opposition benches.''

The Greens amendments, which had been agreed to by the Government and Independent Senator Nick Xenophon, would have guaranteed a review of the package and made it possible for students to access the independent rate of Youth Allowance by working for an average of 30 hours a week instead of a minimum of 30 hours a week.

"This is the worst possible outcome where students are the losers and we have no guarantee that the situation can be rescued,'' Senator Hanson-Young said.

"We call on the Government to bring replacement legislation on as soon as possible and urge the Opposition to rethink their untenable position and let this measure pass.''

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