Shorten and Carr Launch Campaign In North Court

Monday, 11 August, 2014

Words by Sean Mantesso
Photos by Bede McKenna

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten and the Shadow Minister for Education Kim Carr today visited the University of Melbourne to speak briefly to a small crowd of students and press at North Court.

They continued their fight against Tony Abbott’s unpopular budget with a rousing speech clearly aimed to incite the student body to fight against proposed changes to higher education.

Shorten and Carr were specifically there to launch an ALP campaign entitled ‘A Degree Shouldn’t Be A Debt Sentence‘ and were invited by representatives from the UMSU Education Department.

Shorten spoke with an impassioned plea to students to take up the fight and not to be complacent as “the foundations of education in this country” are undermined by Joe Hockey’s budget.

He labelled the Liberal’s enigmatic Education Minister Christopher Pyne “the worst in Australia’s history” and asked students to support him in the “fight for a fair education”.

Afterwards both Shorten and Carr remained at North Court to speak with students and pose for photographs, both seemingly comfortable in an enclave of strong support from both students and faculty.

Shorten also signed a giant pledge, which stated that his government would “block proposed changed to higher education in the senate, including cuts to university funding, deregulation of student feeds, and applying increases to HECS debt”.

Various UMSU Office Bearers had the opportunity to meet and discuss the proposed changes with Shorten in front of the cameras.

The atmosphere was passionate yet calm with no signs of opposition anywhere, Shorten also spoke to the media about other political affairs.

In a recent budget development Clive Palmer’s PUP has publicly stated that they will not support the current proposed changes to higher education, buoying the Labor parties hopes of blocking Abbott’s budget in the Senate.

Tony Abbott and his party seemingly have a huge fight on their hands to get the proposed changes through the Senate in their current form.

His and Joe Hockey’s ideological battle against the Left is appearing to fail as support for his changes to education, healthcare and the pension continue to be overwhelmingly unpopular.

With protests planned by the NSU to take place on 20 August, the pressure will continue to mount against Abbott and his ministry while Shorten can continue to take advantage of the Liberal Governments unpopularity and boost his own standing as potentially Australia’s next Prime Minister.