Students gathered all over the country today to protest the changes to education funding announced in this year’s budget.
The government cut 2.8 billion from universities and dropped the income threshold for HECS-help loan repayments from $55,000 to $42,000, and will phase in tuition rises of 7.5 percent over the next four years.
Adelaide’s student rally, which began in front of parliament house, featured student activists and Greens MP Tammy Franks as key speakers, but fizzled out in Rundle Mall after police intervened in an altercation between a student protester and a Trump supporter counter-protesting at the event.
Tammy Franks promised The Greens and the Labor Party would fight these changes in parliament.
“These were dumb cuts under Abbot, [and they’re] dumb cuts under Turnbull,” said Franks, “just because Turnbull wears a nicer suit, we’re not dumb enough to believe that he’s actually the innovation prime minister.”
Shortly after Franks’ speech, a vocal supporter of the Liberal Party was shouted down by student protesters and their allies, before police escorted him away. Another counter-protester, a teenager in a school uniform and a ‘Make America Great Again’ hat (whose photo can’t be published due to his age), wandered around the rally with a sign reading “taxes are theft”.
When the rally was moved to Rundle Mall for a march, things stopped in their tracks when police intervened in an incident between a student protester and the teenaged counter-protester.
Police allege that the young woman assaulted the boy, while other witnesses say that she merely took his sign from him, and that police had “grabbed her too roughly” and caused her pain due to her health issues.
The crowd stopped marching to observe the proceedings before eventually dispersing without finishing their march.