|Foreign minister Julie Bishop confronted by student protestors in Sydney last week|
|John Howard faces protestors in 1996, pic by Ray Strange|
Prime minister Tony Abbott is pushing a budget that will force students to incur huge debts (with compounded interest) for even the most basic degrees, laying the ground for the eventual near full privatisation of Australia's universities. But Abbott cuts and runs when he has to face students unhappy with this decision.
The Prime Minister cancelling his trip to Geelong over security fears was a ploy to make students look like spoiled brats, the National Union of Students said.A tiny minority of allegedly violent protestors is the excuse for Abbott and Pyne cutting and running.
Tony Abbott and Education Minister Christopher Pyne were due to visit a research facility at Deakin University today -- but cancelled on advice from the Australian Federal Police.
“I think the Prime Minister and Minister Pyne are trying to make it look like students are violent rabble rousers who are out to cause trouble and that’s absolutely not the case at all,” said NUS president Deanna Taylor.
Ms Taylor said Mr Abbott was “obviously scared of facing up to students” over the Budget.
Ms Taylor said students protesting today did not have access to the corridors of power and were making it clear they were upset and fearful over the government’s plans.Abbott claims he didn't want to be part of "a riot":
She said Mr Abbott and Mr Pyne had a “hidden agenda and vested interest in making (students) look like spoiled brats who don’t know how good they’ve got it”.
Greens senator Richard Di Natale said the security fears were a furphy.
“He was a bully in opposition and now he has shown himself to be a coward in government,” he said last night.
“If you’re going to wield the axe so brutally you owe it to the people to front up and explain yourself. The least he can do is put up with a few noisy protesters.”
Prime Minister Tony Abbott says he cancelled a visit to a university to avoid what he predicted would be a riot on national television...
Mr Abbott told Fairfax Radio it was about not giving the protesters what they wanted, “which is a riot on national television”.
He played down the protests pointing to his days as a student activist at Sydney University when protests and counter-protests were regarded as sport.
“I think they were looking forward to a big rumble today,” he said.
Labor frontbencher Richard Marles, whose electorate covers Geelong:
“security measures can always be managed”.
“At the end of the day this was a decision by the Prime Minister and it is a really disappointing decision that he is not taking up the opportunity of coming to Geelong today in order to tell the people of our city — the people at Deakin University — why he’s deregulated the university system, why he’s going to make fees higher for Geelong students who want to study at their university.”
The Prime Minister was advised by the Australian Federal Police to ditch his planned university visit today after other high-profile Coalition figures were targeted by protesters opposed to the deregulation of university fees.
“The visit to Deakin University has been postponed, based on security advice,” the Prime Minister’s office said in a rare statement about security matters.
Liberal frontbenchers scorned student protests as driven by “socialists” who are “intent on shutting down democracy in Australia”.
Education Minister Christopher Pyne told ABC’s Lateline last night: “The Prime Minister made the decision and his office that it would be wiser to not go and to create that tumult at Deakin University so students can get on with their studies unmolested by the Socialist Alternative, which seem quite intent on shutting down democracy in Australia.”
Deputy Leader of the federal Opposition Tanya Plibersek said students had a reason to protest.
The deregulation of university fees would mean poor kids wouldn’t make it to university and would be denied a successful career, she said.If PM Abbott is going to duck and run from every protest or public opposition to his extreme policies over the next few years, he won't be appearing at many public events.
“This will take us to a two-tier American-style university system where the best courses and the best universities are completely unaffordable to ordinary people,” she told ABC radio. But she condemned the protests against Ms Mirabella and Ms Bishop and said students should rally in a peaceful and democratic manner.
Meanwhile, former popular Murdoch blogger Andrew Bolt first labels those exercising their democratic right to protest as "totalitarian", then suggests women who don't sympathise with Julie Bishop after she was confronted by students might need be more sympathetic if they were roughed up themselves. Astounding:
Andrew Bolt is out of control.
Mass protest movements against de-funding of schools, universities, hospitals, and cutting incomes of families and elderly pensioners - protests that kicked off with 100,000 attending the peaceful national March In March, and grabbed media headlines with last Sunday's March In May - are only just beginning.
Many are already likening the protests, that are bringing together Australians from almost every social and economic background, to something like the start of an 'Australia Spring.'