May 15, 2014

Liana Gangi

From a young age, we are taught that in life, there can be winners or losers defined by an act of good or bad luck. The power of luck deal ups and downs, with rights and wrongs coming our way in life. Luck works beyond the control of the mass society, the cards it draws leaving people in a ‘winner’ or ‘loser’ category. And when talking about luck, having fortuitous winners and ill-fated losers is perfectly acceptable.

However, when discussing the 2014 Budget report for Australia, ‘winners’ and ‘losers’ aren’t exactly categories that stakeholders look forward to falling into.

And after its release , the ‘losers’ – including the youth and their tertiary education, aren’t happy with the Government’s jurisdictive dealing of the financial cards.

While this issue has skyrocketed in the media over the past few days, if you are anything like me (and have a somewhat unhealthy obsession with watching TV box sets 1 – 9 of every series under the sun), the Budget report probably wasn’t your reason to wake up early on a Wednesday morning.

Quintessentially, the 2014 Budget Report is based on the idea of a better ‘national interest’, according to Treasurer Joe Hockey. And while the Budget does include benefits for ‘winners’ such as the defence force, medical research, infrastructure, mining and generally for high income earners, the report includes far too many losses for those on a less than minimum wage.

Here is a brief summary of the other ‘winners’ and ‘losers’ of the 2014 Budget Report. Drumroll please…


Defence Force

Medical Research




High income earners

The private sector


Foreign aid


Senior Citizens



Public Service

The unemployed

Young people (damn it!)

University students (really, Tony?)

People with a disability

Low income earners

The environment

Public broadcasting

Indigenous programs


The thought of being dubbed a ‘loser’ by the Government makes me feel like the politicians are Gretchen Wieners & the Plastics and society’s lower income earners are Janice and Damien (minus the heavy eye makeup).

But how does this affect us, the youth of Australia? Well, the Leaders have decided to raise the cost of University education.

Current caps on university degrees are to be removed by 2016, as well as adding a charged interest rate on FEE-HELP loans, which is a supposed way to repay the borrowed Government money.

And just in case you wanted another reason to fret about your tertiary tuition, the minimum income threshold at which students have to start repaying their debt will be raised by 10%…Further studies is sounding goooood, am I right???

In all seriousness, this change in HECS fees could play a large role in student’s decision to continue their studies. In particular, it will affect those from a lower income family, where the more urgently required payment could make University an impossible option.

And in a society where jobs are becoming more competitive and a CV is almost incomplete without a form of degree, diploma or certificate, this is a frightening prospect for students to face.

Additionally, VCE students who have relentlessly studied for months on end may now be forced to choose a course based on what they can afford over what it is they desire to study and pursue.

The Government, who in recent months also released the program Generation Success, could be seen as acting rather contradictory. Generation Success encourages employment and job opportunities for young Australians – which, in my opinion, is honestly a great initiative by the Government that can help young Australians get the experience and skills they need to find work.

However, this encouraging program loses its good intentions when the Government places University education as such a low priority on their Budget report.

If this budget cut passes the Senate, the right to an education will have become a lose/lose situation in which universities will raise their fees and students will protest for their education rights, all while being faced by studying limitations.

While we may be the ‘losers’ of the 2014 Budget report, the amount of tweets, articles and protests against it prove to the Government that while our education is being limited, we sure won’t allow the Government to end up on top.

– Liana Gangi



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