Read my full speech below.
Ms BUTLER (Griffith) (13:55): What is the problem with the Turnbull government? I am not talking about the fact that they all just flew here so they could make a decision about how to avoid making a decision—
Honourable members interjecting—
Ms BUTLER: which is what you did this week. Well done, fellas! But what about this? Graduate incomes are going down. Household incomes are going down. The WPI was exceeded by the CPI this year. Household debt for under-40s is at record levels, and of course homeownership for under-40s has dropped in the last 15 years from 36 per cent to 25 per cent. What does this mob want to do in those circumstances? 'Oh, I've got an idea,' they think to themselves. 'Let's increase student debt. What a great idea that would be. Let's put up student fees. Let's hike up the fees, make students have more debt and make sure that those households in the future, a 35-year-old couple with two kids and a massive mortgage—if they can afford to get a mortgage, of course—have a lot more debt weighing on them from their student fees.' What a silly idea that is.
At the same time as they want to hike up student fees, are they going to match that with additional public investment in the university sector? Of course they're not. They are going to cut public funding to universities. It's a $4 billion cut in fiscal terms to universities, and that's what's in their own budget paper. That is what is in the government's budget papers—an almost $4 billion cut to universities, at the same time as they want to hike up student fees for university students. It is an absolute disgrace. Today is a national day of protest. I commend all of those people who are protesting against this ridiculous universities package.