Bleeding Heart Lefty – Smokin Joe Hockey’s Fight For Free Education

I missed commenting on The Budget ™ because my computer had crapped its pants but I couldn’t resist this.

The background…..

Last week our nation’s Treasurer, Joe Hockey, delivered his government’s first budget. Like most first-term government inaugural budgets, it blows a whole bunch of political capital on ideological flights of fancy that the government hopes it can make up for before the next election. It’s a budget that makes Australia a meaner, more desperate place.

One of those flights of fancy is the deregulation of universities and associated changes to Australia’s student loans scheme. Basically, the government wants a US-style university system that creates a small bunch of universities for elites who will go on to become conservative politicians think they’ll be able to afford the payments, and a bunch of crappier universities for the rest of the plebs.

They also want to slug students more to repay their loans – even if they’re dead (and who wouldn’t want Christopher Pyne at their dead child’s funeral, carrying a bunch of flowers and a letter of demand?).

Students have been – quite understandably – a little upset about this. They’ve held protests in the last week and even made our country’s Foreign Minister a little uncomfortable at one campus appearance. They also disrupted a presentation by another former Liberal MP, Sophie Mirabella, but then that’s completely appropriate and should be encouraged.

Smokin’ Joe’s colleagues have been up in arms at the treatment of their political kin, crying foul with confected outrage and calling students all sorts of nasty names due to their antisocial behaviour.

Cut to last night’s news, then……

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In light of that information, imagine how pleased Smokin Joe must be to see this news footage of himself from 1987. It hit the online news services last night. Smokin Joe might have morphed into Sweaty Joe again when he saw this.

He participated in a protest at Sydney University that saw security guards assaulted, windows smashed and buildings occupied. The pièce de résistance is at the end of this clip, where a younger-but-only-slightly-fitter Smokin Joe declares his support…… FOR FREE EDUCATION!!!!

Yes, the government’s $250 fee – that’s what this whole thing was about – was the beginning of the end for free tertiary education and Joe was ready to man the barricades to protect it.

Oh, the irony.

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For the record, and before the peanut gallery start their hand-wringing…..

I’m not opposed to a more market based interest rate for HECS. But leave the dead people out of it.

And I know that many pollies have said things in their youth that they later regret. This is just another one. But what a relevant one at this particular point in time!!

And for those who wonder why we wouldn’t want an elitist university system here… our universities do just fine, thanks. And graduates rarely have to fear never getting a mortgage because of their student debts. The whole nation benefits from a more equity-based university system and it should stay that way.

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2 Comments

  1. I was there at that protest, standing right alongside Joe. Who did not wear shoes as I recall. Possibly had come straight from the pub or a keg party. Nevertheless, he opposed it and he marched. Not violently like some, but he marched for the principle.

    1. Wish you’d got your mug in the video, Pete. A 30-year photo-bomb of the Treasurer would have been quite a coup.