Death tax to target student loans

The estates of deceased students with unpaid student loans could be targeted.

Death tax to target student loans

Federal Education Minister Christopher Pyne suggested yesterday that the Federal Government was looking at introducing a policy to collect student debts from the estates of former students who have died owing money on their student loans.

Branded the ‘death tax’ by Labor higher education spokesman Kim Carr, the policy could pull in up to $800 million per year, according to estimates from The Grattan Institute. Minister Pyne said that there would need to be safeguards in place to ensure the families of young deceased students were not affected.

"[If] an elderly person passes away with a HECS debt, they wouldn't be able to say to the bank, we're not paying back our mortgage, yet they are at the moment entitled to not pay back their HECS debt," Minister Pyne said.

The HECs program was designed in the 1980s by Bruce Chapman who, in a recent interview, said that the inclusion of repayments from deceased estates was in his original proposal.

Read more from The Australian.

Read more from the SMH.

Opinion: Death, taxes and more taxes

It’s not often you will find me agreeing with Minister Pyne, but the suggested policy changes to help the government recoup money from the estates of deceased students makes sense to me.

When you pass away the bank doesn’t simply wipe off your mortgage and your credit card company won’t simply forget about the money which is owed on your cards, they will seek repayment from your estate. So it only makes sense that, in most circumstances, student loans should be paid back in full from the estate of the deceased.

Interestingly, the introduction of a policy to recoup debts may affect a number of the students entering higher education in the coming years. The Australian’s report on The Grattan Institute’s proposal suggests that stay-at-home mums and older people have been taking advantage of the current repayment loop-hole by enrolling in university for recreational purposes, with no expectation of entering the workforce at the end of the course.

What do you think? Is it only fair that outstanding student loans should be recovered from the estates of deceased students? Or are you concerned that this process could adversely affect families in a time of grieving?





    COMMENTS

    To make a comment, please register or login

    29th May 2014
    8:37am
    WHY NOT..... debt claims are made on such matters...if the deceased has nothing then too bad.....but if they do then why not get the loan or some back?
    Ny19
    29th May 2014
    9:18am
    It would not be fair that some have to pay it back after death and others don't. Regardless of what Christopher Pyne says, I think it highly likely that families will be made responsible for repaying the debt of rels who die with nothing, if this becomes law.
    Anonymous
    29th May 2014
    9:20am
    Robiconda - not ever going to happen - if the person is broke - that is the end of the story. No ifs, no buts!
    Ny19
    29th May 2014
    10:21am
    Read my next comment Reasons. The person who dies may be a father or mother who owns half the family home which may have to be sold to repay the debt.
    MICK
    29th May 2014
    4:09pm
    I think that you are punching at shadows Robiconda. This could not be legally enforceable on extended families unless they were guarantors. Lets not give pipsqueak Pyne the option for that one.
    particolor
    29th May 2014
    5:53pm
    I told You all yesterday !! You can no more enter the Kingdom of Heaven with Your Wallet than pass through the Azz of a Camel !!
    Twyla
    29th May 2014
    6:09pm
    I agree with Robiconda,

    Also, there is the matter of interest that would have accrued. There is no way the government would forgo this issue if repayment of loans is required.

    Retrospective law is always bad law. Once a retrospective law is adopted, then others can also be ... and right across the board.
    Luchar
    29th May 2014
    6:21pm
    If banks can claim on deceased estates for the payment of outstanding mortgages and other creditors can similarly make claims on deceased estates, why shouldn't the Government, and hence the taxpayer, be able to claim outstanding amounts for HECS payments from deceased estates?

    29th May 2014
    8:39am
    Yes, I would also agree with the proposal to get the money back, regardless of age. The cost is real and has been incurred and so is a legitimate claim. It will also make people think more deeply about doing a uni course if they just undertake it for interest-sake, not a career. The cost is not something that should be eventually foisted onto the tax payer - and no doubt increase the cost of uni courses to others.
    Ginty 01
    29th May 2014
    10:12am
    I agree. In my work I used to do tax returns and there were many people with HECS debts who never earned enough and who never intended to earn enough to pay them off.
    particolor
    29th May 2014
    5:56pm
    Mum taught Me how to Shell Peas and I've never Shelled one since !!
    niemakawa
    29th May 2014
    5:59pm
    Maybe you haven't done anything since. Go the budget.
    particolor
    29th May 2014
    6:05pm
    I thought You said Go To Buggery !! Till I put some Reading Glasses on !!..
    But then I think that is what You meant Anyhow !!.
    niemakawa
    29th May 2014
    6:23pm
    Particolor don't flatter yourself. Go to the optician there will be a $20.00 co-payment for you especially. $ 7.00 is far too low.
    Travellersjoy
    29th May 2014
    9:36am
    There should be inheritance taxes full stop. It is not the responsibility of tax payers to protect the kids' inheritance.
    Certainly collect outstanding loans from deceased estates where are heritable assets.
    Not Amused
    29th May 2014
    9:56am
    I already paid taxes on the money earned to pay for my possessions, including the money I worked hard for and earned to pay for my house. When I die, after all debts/expenses are paid, what remains goes to my kids. For anyone who has bludged off the taxpayer purse, or who has enjoyed cheap taxpayer funded housing, they probably don't know that inheritance tax is a disincentive to aspire and prosper.
    MICK
    29th May 2014
    4:12pm
    Give it a break Travellersjoy. Are Australians not close to the most highly taxed people on the planet already? Whilst I predict that this most greedy of all governments will try and bring Death Duties back down the track I assure you that I will be out of here if they try because the new proceeds of my life are not available to a greedy political party wanting to transfer my life's work to the riches amongst us, a process which has already begun under the noses of average Australians who would not have a clue.
    particolor
    29th May 2014
    5:59pm
    There is one advantage ...(1).. It stops the rellies Brawling over it !!
    Ny19
    29th May 2014
    10:07am
    A move such as this would be fraught with dangers. Take for example the following scenario: a person I know worked hard and bought a house with partner owing a fairly large mortgage. This person then did a science degree in his late 20's, attending Uni full time plus working shift work hours. Not easy to find work with science degree so followed up with a 4 year medical degree. Next year he will begin work as an intern on $65,000 pa. He has a HUGE Hecs debt which will take quite a few years to pay back. Imagine if he died in the next year or two. His partner would be forced to sell the house to repay the debt.
    This is only one scenario. I imagine many people would be caught into having to find such ways (such as selling a house or taking out a new mortgage etc) to repay their loved one's debt at a time when they are grieving.
    Ginty 01
    29th May 2014
    10:16am
    Ever heard of insurance policies? So many of the degrees available at uni are absolutely useless when it comes to getting a job, so don't do them and then expect the taxpayer to foot the bill.
    biddi
    29th May 2014
    11:40am
    I am unaware of the American system but what about that lady of 90 odd doing
    a degree? IF she paid to do it all well and good. I know of someone who did a
    degree/Phd .... never used it - just something to pass the time. I understand
    that in Sweden uni loans have to be paid back but this info is subject to
    confirmation. I think it's great to better oneself but at one's own expense.
    I'm sure doctots and lawyers and those of this ilk could scrape a bit of cash
    together to pay their own bills once graduated.
    Anonymous
    29th May 2014
    1:04pm
    It is highly unlikely to be retrospective if implemented - but risk would have to be considered thereafter like any other debt.
    KSS
    29th May 2014
    2:14pm
    If he died in the next year or 2 and still has the big mortgage, the house would probably be sold to cover that anyway. As he owns part of that asset it is part of his estate. The estate should pay back all his loans, the mortgage and the student loans. He clearly needs insurance.
    particolor
    29th May 2014
    6:14pm
    O ! What a wicked web we weave when first we practice to Achieve !!
    niemakawa
    29th May 2014
    6:25pm
    Particolor your web is surely in its embryonic stage!
    particolor
    29th May 2014
    6:37pm
    A Misconception even !!
    niemakawa
    29th May 2014
    7:27pm
    Yes particolor you were a misconception.
    mogo51
    29th May 2014
    10:12am
    Agree PIXADP, it is fair that they repay the cost of their education, but if they die of old age and have not repaid, they must have spent their lives at Uni (like some still do). Surely if one has a University degree they have enjoyed the fruits of that endeavours ie higher salary and their estate should pay any outstanding amounts.
    tactful
    29th May 2014
    10:18am
    I totally agree with collecting student debts from the deceased estate. Why should they be any different to the rest of the population. Kindly remember a student can be $50,000 or more and still outstanding when the student is working in their chosen profession. If they have an estate then the Government has an obligation to recover these funds. I as a taxpayer demand they do, after all it is our hard earned taxes that fund these student loans that become debts. If those who object were a business and had outstanding loans to students would they simply forgive them or would they claim on the deceased's estate?
    As there are many more of us getting older and leaving the workforce the number of citizens working is not growing at the same level, do the sums less tax is being paid. Our country cannot afford anything unsustainable like not collecting debts owed to the Government.
    Lingaus
    29th May 2014
    10:25am
    It should be repaid long before they die. No HECS loans should be given to students whose parents have not paid back their loans (talk about throwing good money after bad!). And those who don't pay will now probably soon be offered an insurance policy to cover said debts - absolve them from the acute embarrassment of not having paid it off sooner.
    particolor
    29th May 2014
    7:13pm
    I"m gunna pay Mine back long before I die ! Only problem is I'm not sure when Times Up ?????.. And when I Shuffle Off to Buffalo, I'm not sure that I will give a Stuff if Tones gets His Dough Back ???
    niemakawa
    29th May 2014
    8:50pm
    Be nice to your breadwinner.
    unicorn
    29th May 2014
    10:35am
    Good grief what's next? The b's oops sorry that should be greedy B's, as if they're not etting enough now with Bank accounts being targeted what next death duties on deaths? Fir instance my Brother in law died without making a will the Bank concerned will not listen to us, his two brothers plus his kids whi were here for the funeral. One brother banks with them doesn't matter we can't prove who we are, so they say So the money left for his funeral goes to the Government while the ex wife & the kids pay the funeral costs,
    KSS
    29th May 2014
    1:46pm
    Yes but that's his Ex-wife i.e. no legal standing, his kids... over 18? Not financially dependant on him? Then no legal standing. His brothers? Not financially dependant on him? No legal standing. So why would you think the bank would/should simply hand over any money in the deceased person's account?

    Moral? Make a will and keep it up to date. It doesn't have to be hard.
    tactful
    29th May 2014
    10:46am
    Robiconda, responsibility must be taken by these students, for your scenario I bet the financial institution holding the mortgage has made damn sure mortgage insurance is in place.With the student working then there will be superannuation being paid which will have a death benefit Go figure both of these can be used to pay the mortgage out and the student debt off. No need to sell the family home.
    We took appropriate precautions by having insurance, I will not be leaving unpaid debts when I die all because I have insurance.
    Enter the adult world, take adult responsibility for your debts.
    Kato
    29th May 2014
    11:16am
    I think the cigar kid, should start with the fat that is wasted in his own department, then finish with the rest of Federal parliament. I want some journo to ask Ernie damn I mean Matty how many pollies and there servants, he has on his books, a lot of fat to be trimmed there.
    MICK
    29th May 2014
    4:15pm
    I think that Christopher Pyne needs to pay up for his law degree which he got for free. Bring back the Green Hornet to get it.
    Tom Tank
    29th May 2014
    11:25am
    A flaw in the rationale re banks recouping debts from a mortgage is that there is an asset involved which can be sold. There is no asset with HECS as that asset is in fact the person who died.
    Perhaps the HECS debt should, from now on, include an insurance component to cover the liability should the person die before the debt is repaid.
    Given the apparent dire straits we are told that we are in shouldn't the current group of pollies, who all enjoyed a free university education and are now enjoying lucrative salaries, make a suitable payment equivalent to the cost of their education to government coffers to ease the financial situation.
    KSS
    29th May 2014
    1:49pm
    There are no assets with a credit card bill but that does not die with you. The banks have dibs on your estate for the repayment.
    Sandra
    29th May 2014
    11:39am
    Very misleading to call a debt a tax. A student loan is just that, a loan. Just like any other loan you take from any financial institution. It is also not suggested that the benificiaries of the estate are made to bear the burden, just that it is deducted from the estate before the balance, if any is distributed. Typical scare mongering tactic
    MICK
    29th May 2014
    4:17pm
    Semantics. When is a tax not a tax? When a politician says so. Especially Tony 'do as I say not as I do' Abbott.
    particolor
    29th May 2014
    6:46pm
    Mick..He said in parliament today .." "I'm being very truthful to You now".. And they burst into Uproarious Laughter !!..Well Some Did !!
    Cheller
    29th May 2014
    11:40am
    When anyone dies with outstanding debts, the creditors still expect to be paid and it comes out of the deceased's estate. No bank will forgive a $300,000 mortgage, just because the borrower dies. The Tax Department still collects its share of income earned during the life of the person concerned. Anyone else who is owed money when the debtor dies still wants his/her money - and rightly so.

    The taxpayer has lent money to the HECS student - why should we suddenly apply a different rule and make the taxpayer forgive the debt. There is no conceivable reason why the assets of any person, dead or alive should not be used to repay his or her legitimate debts.
    Lingaus
    29th May 2014
    11:50am
    Absolutely spot on.
    particolor
    29th May 2014
    7:06pm
    Yes !! And I Agree Too !!

    29th May 2014
    11:42am
    I have no problem at all with this proposal.

    You have a debt you pay it back..end of story. Or that is how I was brought up anyway!
    niemakawa
    29th May 2014
    5:31pm
    Obviously you are not a Labor supporter then. That's good to know.
    particolor
    29th May 2014
    6:55pm
    Niem... Is that an aspersion that Labor supporters are somewhat Dishonest and Shirk their Debts ??...
    And You Know Darn Well Who all the Libs are ..
    I'm no Party so don't bother Answering ..I wouldn't give them the Time of Day !!.
    Except when I'm Exceptionally Bored on Here and there is Crap on the Telly !!
    niemakawa
    29th May 2014
    7:25pm
    So particolor you would not mind foregoing your pension then! Labor don't have any money and you don't like the Libs. Can you sing?
    particolor
    29th May 2014
    7:39pm
    Now where did what I said go anywhere near My Pension !! Lib, Lab I don't care where it comes from !!.. I paid 52 Years of TAX !! And don't feel Guilty in the Slightest !!!! Thanks !! If I win Power Ball tonight I'll Donate it to the Greens to put that Forest Back that Your lot Tore Out !!
    Anonymous
    30th May 2014
    10:21am
    Niemakawa, what on earth does your comment re how I do or do not vote have to do with this subject?? Why bother to make this personal comment.?? The subject is about paying back a debt after you die nothing about how a person votes!

    29th May 2014
    11:56am
    ALL this wringing of hands and whining by folks...here is the bottom line YOU borrow, YOU repay, alive or deceased (if the money is in the estate) DO banks just forget a loan when a borrower dies.. 'Oh that customer has died...let's not bother making any claim for the $500,000;00 owing to the bank, after all we are a charity'....NO they move to recover the money. It's not being hard or unreasonable, as I said if the deceased left no money, then too bad the Govt gets nothing.
    dippity
    29th May 2014
    12:09pm
    and if the student takes up employment in another country the government gets nothing....even while they are alive
    Anonymous
    29th May 2014
    12:14pm
    NO passport to be issued to such ones..... until loan repaid...NO escaping Gov loan.
    Anonymous
    29th May 2014
    12:18pm
    Some students take up UNEMPLOYMENT in this country....called professional students....
    MICK
    29th May 2014
    4:19pm
    If my local council loses $50 million of ratepayer money then I expect to be repaid PIXAPD. Same logic. My council did...and then maintained the lie that they have lost nothing. The books speak for themselves but what chance do you think ratepayers have of getting their dough back?
    particolor
    29th May 2014
    7:17pm
    A lot of Councils lost Big Time on the Collapse of that Pommy Bank Years Back !! ..
    Where's our Dough now ?? Make them Pay IT BACK !!
    Kathleen
    29th May 2014
    12:12pm
    I cannot believe that most people are saying this is okay. How miserable! Families would be grieving then get a letter of demand or suchlike re the student loan. Every miserable thing this government is proposing is disgusting! They do not go after the big money but put the lower end of people in their sights for collecting taxes and money to run the country. Maybe industry pay the uni degrees as they benefit from well educated employees. Apprenticeships likewise as used to occur! The only people who should pay for their degrees are older people who already have jobs and a life.
    KSS
    29th May 2014
    1:53pm
    It is a student LOAN not a gift. Loans have to be repaid. Why is that disgusting?
    Degree holders cannot be said to be 'lower end people' they are highly educated.
    jangary
    1st Jun 2014
    12:20am
    At last someone with some compassion, thank you GrandmaKathleen22, when did people become so wrapped up in thier own selfishness and mindless belittleling of one another. Isn't it a sad enough world allready, Particolor thank you for the humour, tongue in the cheek as may be thank you for the laughs . xo
    Nightshade
    29th May 2014
    12:14pm
    The Unemployed are being told of courses such as those of The WoW Factor.
    Courses which are paid for by the government.

    CAUSING THE BLACK HOLE IN THE ECONOMY TO GROW STEADILY TO ENORMOUS MASS.
    IN THE MEAN TIME JOBS ARE BEING LOST DAILY
    BUSINESSES ARE CLOSING & LEAVING AUSTRALIA IN DROVES.

    The Unemployed are continuously being told -

    " If you don't get a job you don't have to pay it back"
    "If you don't get a job you don't have to pay it back"
    "If you don't get a job you don't have to pay it back"

    Only that you must pay back the fees when you get a job - it is just like HECS.
    But the impression given is that somehow the - $10.000 fees - or however much the course costs - are not valid if you don't get a job / the slate is wiped clean.

    IN FACT YOU ARE SIGNING UP FOR A LIFE LONG DEBT
    A BLACK MARK AGAINST YOUR REPUTATION & CREDIT RATING FOR LIFE
    AND THE GOVERNMENT CAN COME AFTER YOU TO COLLECT IN MANY DIFFERENT WAYS
    INCLUDING HAVING A DEBT COLLECTOR KNOCK AT YOUR DOOR & TAKE YOUR ASSETS
    THE FRIDGE / THE CAR / THE FURNITURE / YOUR WEDDING RING / ELECTRICAL APPLIANCES TO THE VALUE OF THE MONIES OWED.

    Please know that some persons can feel that it is compulsory to do one of these courses OR ELSE they may be penalized.
    I see the courses being offered - example / Business & Management / 6 months course / COST = $10.000. as very skimpy in real educational matter pertaining to the actual profession - have a look at the web site & see for yourselves what the courses are made up of & their cost - id s it value for money ?

    HOW MUCH MONEY IS BEING PLAYED WITH IN THIS IRRESPONSIBLE WAY
    HOW MUCH DEBT IS THE POLITICAL ARENA WILLING TO THROW AWAY

    THEN WE GO AFTER THE REAL CULPRIT
    THE STUDENT -
    Nightshade
    29th May 2014
    12:24pm
    It happened to me on Tuesday
    "IF YOU DON'T GET A JOB YOU DON'T HAVE TO REPAY THE FEES"
    IT BEGS THE QUESTION "WHO OWNS THESE EDUCATIONAL FACILITIES - THAT ARE REPLACING THE LEGITIMATE EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM OF AUSTRALIA ?

    I am saving for my funeral
    Ever since I was told that I have heart failure
    Which brought home the reality that I was not going to be here for ever
    I have been saving for my eventual funeral
    I do not need to & will not take on any debt - sorry !
    KSS
    29th May 2014
    1:55pm
    Actually its not 'you don't have to pay it back if you don't get a job", its "you don't START paying it back until your salary is over $50,000".
    KSS
    29th May 2014
    2:27pm
    And by the way there are limits to what the sheriff can take to settle your debts. They cannot take your fridge for example or tools of your trade.

    As for the courses on offer... Well I did the Diploma of Management when I was unemployed in order to formalise my experience and have a more up-to-date qualification . It was one factor that enabled me to finally obtain a job after 14 months and over 600 applications. And it cost $5000. So don't make sweeping statements that all the courses are "very skimpy in real educational matter pertaining to the actual profession ". You are entitled to your opinion of course but stop rudely denigrating things you simply don't agree with.
    MICK
    29th May 2014
    4:22pm
    This government has been built on lies, more lies and ongoing deceit. They have no credibility and only the blind faithful now listen and believe.
    The whole slogan and jingle issuing crew are spewing out the "learn and earn" crap. The truth is that there are not the jobs there to earn once you learn and it matters not how many courses you do. This is simply another lie in a decaying economy which worsens by the year.
    particolor
    29th May 2014
    7:29pm
    KSS..Thanks for that I was worried !!..As I have to supplement My Pension now as a Sex Worker ! I'm glad they cant take Your Tools of Trade !!
    Ny19
    30th May 2014
    11:11am
    mick: "...and it matters not how many courses you do."
    It will matter a lot if one is gathering HECS debts + interest for all the courses they have to do to 'learn while they can't earn'.
    wally
    29th May 2014
    12:16pm
    NEWS FLASH. Abbott has knocked this one on the head. They will not go after outstanding education debts from the estates of deceased students.
    particolor
    29th May 2014
    7:46pm
    No!! They will get it off the Pensioner in the Difference between the CPI and Lowest Paid Workers Instead ..No Prob ......... .. Or the Future Fund ??
    Old Duf Fuss
    29th May 2014
    7:59pm
    particolor - what an outlandish statement!! Do you really support the idea that people should not repay their debt to you?
    niemakawa
    29th May 2014
    7:59pm
    So they should.
    particolor
    29th May 2014
    8:10pm
    ODF.. Most don't !! And I don't go after them either !! They just find it Very Difficult to get it again !!..And I don't think You understood what I said anyhow ??..Even though it was Tongue in Cheek !!....Thank You....
    Paddles
    29th May 2014
    10:55pm
    Wally

    Across the board I support this Government and what they are trying to do but that does not mean that they are above criticism.
    I did not, and do not, support the PM on his apparently obsessive scheme of PPL and now I am further disturbed by the perception that he and the Treasurer are not singing off the same hymn page.
    To have Joe Hockey float an idea and then have it shot down within hours by the PM, is not a good look.
    Incidentally, I am on Hockey's side on this one. A debt is a debt is a debt and mortality doesn't come into it!
    particolor
    29th May 2014
    11:02pm
    Yes it does !! If You don't pay it Your Dead in Chicago !!
    professori_au
    29th May 2014
    12:28pm
    The right to education is a law in Article 26 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Articles 13 and 14 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.
    To impose a debt to be claimed is also a discrimination against the families. It is no doubt that the MP's benefitted from the educations system and most will not have been loaded with a debt for their educations, so it is discrimination that they should want to do so. Higher education was considered in the past as in effect, the commonwealth gaining an asset through the acquired skills and knowledge to be hared for the benefit of all. Government that imposed conditions of paying off a debt have imposed a lifetime debt on future families, i.e. denied the right to own other assets such as housing, etc., because the government proposes a mandatory repayment schemes regardless of other issues. The criteria is ... once receiving a wage/salary at a certain level the student is required to start repaying the "loan", regardless of other commitments, families, owning a home, superannuation, etc. etc.. It seems to me that it breaches the international Human rights and anti discrimination law that Australia is also a signatory.
    This government is also about breaching constitutional rights and is trying to bring in mandatory or civil conscription, .i.e.Section 51 of the Constitution (xxiiiA) the provision of maternity allowances, widows' pensions, child endowment,
    unemployment, pharmaceutical, sickness and hospital benefits, medical and dental services
    (but not so as to authorize any form of civil conscription), benefits to students and family
    allowances;
    The proposal of unemployed being forced to relocate to other areas where work is available is civil conscription. Work for the dole is also civil conscription especially where the government has been selling or supporting the movement of jobs offshore. so there are no jobs. Abuse of the 257 that allows companies to bring labour from poorer countries without offering the jobs to Australians. arguing that there are no skills available is incorrect as if you were to check the skills and experience in many instances you would find little skills required and those that are could soon be acquired by Australians.
    Enforced work for the Dole! It appears that the government is forcing a contract on the unemployed that is illegal. How many hours of work is required and what level of wages apply for the particular work? Minimum rates to various areas would be different depending on the skills. Will the government pay into the superannuation fund of these "forced" employees. Will they be covered by WorkCare? What provision is made for other entitlements that others in the workforce are entitled. This has not been thoroughly thought for. Training and re-training to up skill or down skills people implies that positions are available otherwise it is no more than an exercise to hide the levels of unemployment. The government has been steadily privatising training and this has resulted in putting up "Mickey Mouse" training programmes that do not fill the requirements of industry and so on. These private training providers first interest is to get as many on their schemes to be able to claim government subsidies and do not have a great deal of interest in following up on the training. I digress a little but sufficie to say that while the issue of unemployment and sound training have an impact on the ability to get a job, it should not incur a debt burden on the person who has the initiative to try and gain new skills. Education should be free to all without fear or bias. That will not happen under this government. Only the rich can afford to take advantage and that well to do rich component is rapidly getting smaller as we lose industry to overseas countries. I will stop here as I am passionate about justice and the success of a country that was once ranked I believe near the top in education and that is now around 40 based on assessment of 57 countries.
    KSS
    29th May 2014
    2:02pm
    The right to education is fulfilled by the compulsory education to year 12. Any education after that is voluntary therefore would not be subject to any discriminatory action with regard to the debt. It is a student loan taken out by the individual for the purposes of doing something they want to do. It is a debt that must be repaid like any other.
    MICK
    29th May 2014
    4:24pm
    Give it a break mate. If you are a Constitutional lawyer then I expect to see you on The Castle II.
    Oldie84
    29th May 2014
    4:53pm
    Well professor_au, Words fail me. If you are a real one you must have been paid all your life from taxes paid by the workers. Where do you think funds come from? If you are so passionate about things spare a thought about the Electrician, Plumber, Bricklayer, Farmer and so on who work hard and pay their share so others can get everything for free? Give me a break. And don't come with that 'envy' about the 'Rich' Stop trying to cut down tall poppies just because they did well.
    niemakawa
    29th May 2014
    8:24pm
    Human rights go hand in hand with Human responsibilities, don't see too much of the latter. I like discrimination it helps in forming a relationship of any type. Long live the rich, they earned it.
    professori_au
    29th May 2014
    12:42pm
    The Australian Taxation Office has become the grim reaper of small business after statistics reveal it is behind nearly half the 1365 companies that have been served with wind-up notices in the past three months (August 2013).
    This has been done without any effort to try and turn these companies around and make them viable. Most responsible liquidators consider the first step to see whether the business can be rehabilitated and so save the business and employment. ATO does not appear interested in that and despite the reality it will never recover the "alleged" debts in the present situation continues to dismantle business and increase unemployment. Australia's unemployment is now increasing rapidly in leaps and bounds as a result of poor policy and planning by government. Loss of 1500 public servants means less service at a time when it is becoming more urgent. The loss of jobs from Ford Holden and Alcoa is adding to it. The flow on effect will impact on all support industries, creating further unemployment and so it go on.
    professori_au
    29th May 2014
    1:46pm
    It appears that small business has biome the victim. Why?
    Small business is the largest employer. We should be supporting them
    Big companies get millions from the taxpayer and when they can get no more they leave and go off shore. Past experience shows bug multi nationals buying up successful smaller Australian companies and then stripping them off assets and then claiming they are no longer viable le. Of course they are not if you strip their assets. These Multinationals get every tax break possible, many not available to small business. An example was when Packer senior published in his paper that he paid no personal tax. At the time he was Australia's richest man. Why? We can only assume the taxation system to be flawed and corrupt. I saddens me to read people attacking the victims without thinking the problem through.
    MICK
    29th May 2014
    4:29pm
    I have to agree. Small business is the largest employer in the land. But you miss the reality of life: big business makes significant contributions to the re-election campaigns of liberal MPs. That is why they get to write their own legislation. Have you not wondered why the Pubs and Clubs did not have their opening hours curtailed and were allowed to kill Australians outside their venues for decades? Did you not wonder why cigarette companies were permitted to ply their trade and kill Australians for decades?
    You have not followed the money trail professori. This leads to the culprits and the financial arrangements between politicians and big business. This is exactly the tip of the iceberg the ICAC has uncovered. Better known as accommodated corruption I believe.
    Paddles
    29th May 2014
    11:17pm
    professori_au

    To claim that the ATO has become "the grim reaper" of small business is to draw a very long bow indeed. Despite their preferred status on the list of creditors, it is my experience that they are not generally quick out of the blocks to initiate wind-up proceedings. Those to whom they feel obliged to move, are invariably in deep trouble with their commercial contacts so, to bring to a halt their failed enterprise, is in the interest of the rest of the business community.

    What I am saying is that those businesses subject to winding-up orders by the ATO, are , for whatever reason, failed endeavours and have no right to outside management or advice unless they seek it at the appropriate time.

    Your reference to the "loss" of 1500 public servants prompts me to comment that I hope that they are numbered among the 4,500 in the Health Dept that runs NO hospitals or the 3,500 in the Education Dept that doesn't have any schools.
    Waytoopoortobeme
    29th May 2014
    12:42pm
    We are Talking about Adults in University R we not.
    Why the hell should Government B considering tracking down next of kin to repay another Adults debt (a Deceased one at that). Unless Universities had Parents or others as mandatory Guarantors when they enrol. I certainly wouldn't want creditors knocking on my door had my Adult children made an informed decision to go to Uni in the 1st place.
    KSS
    29th May 2014
    2:05pm
    The proposal is not to track down next of kin and demand payment, but to recoup the debt from the estate. Whatever is left after all debts are paid would go to the estate and be distributed as per any will.
    Judy in the hills
    29th May 2014
    12:49pm
    If the student (or post student) doesn't pay back the debt, then its back to us - the ones who decided against a sometimes unnecessary Uni degree - to pick up the tab. Hardly fair. Just look at the incomes some post-students can eventually command! I know of people who own multiple houses, etc. whose education was "free" (paid by the public purse in years gone by).They are laughing all the way to the bank and have done so for years. Can you imagine the uproar if they now received an account for at least a decent contribution back to the Unis? Why not also set up a levy for these ones who managed free tertiary tuition?
    Twyla
    29th May 2014
    11:08pm
    As I understand it, once a graduate earns over a certain amount, the fees are automatically taken from their income.

    Those who have multiple houses, etc. are replaying/or have repaid their HECS.
    Ted
    29th May 2014
    1:07pm
    I think it is fair for new applications but if we took on the debt under those conditions then they should stick. I finished uni in 2000 and have been paying every year as I am supposed to and paid off more yet my debt has gone from 8000 to 13000 with cpi. I pay and pay and it just increases so that could be the reason why we are dying with our debts. It may not be a case of we are not it may be a case of we and have probably paid off a lot more than the original debt but the debt just rises. Its those who deliberately work and keep under the threshold that should be made to pay it back through their estate.
    professori_au
    29th May 2014
    1:51pm
    Exactly. There was a similarly scheme developed by government to make it "easy" for people on low income to buy their own home. I was in the public service at the time and wrote a document showing the people could never own their home but the debt would keep increasing so they would never be clear of the debt. Today I speak with many who are struggling to pay off this debt and owe more than the original debt. Their homes are being sold and despite the amount of money paid they will never receive any part of the sale.
    patrick
    29th May 2014
    1:44pm
    Thought I saw Joe Hockey on tv. 28/5/14 say
    That wouldn't happpen..will have to wait and see.
    MICK
    29th May 2014
    4:31pm
    And what did Abbott and Hockey say BEFORE the election? Which lie would you like to believe in? Come on patrick. Believe nothing from this bunch of scumbags and you will not be disappointed.
    professori_au
    1st Jun 2014
    12:05pm
    Patrick. My department heads and policy developers also stated it would not happen and look what resulted. People paying in to a scheme to buy their home and after many many years owed more than the original debt. I will make another point here although I am not of any religious persuasion but was educated in it as an inmate in an orphanage when a boy. I can't recall the exact chapter and verse but I think it is in Samuel... words to the affect not to trust lawyers..... :)
    Mar
    29th May 2014
    1:56pm
    My son-in-law has not long paid his Hecs off thank goodness, it was hard going being married with a young child and a mortgage. If he had died during this time it would have been impossible or resulted in extreme hardship to have paid it. It should be paid back once they are established in work and able to do so, certainly not after death. By being responsible, working hard to get into Uni and obtaining skills to offer the community and by paying good taxes once working they are an asset to our society. Many Uni students have been through financially difficult times and worked hard to get where they are. They improve this country. What's wrong with this Government???? Are they begging to be voted OUT.
    KSS
    29th May 2014
    2:11pm
    It is a student LOAN. Loans have to be repaid just like credit cards, electricity bill, car loan or the mortgage. If it is not paid whilst the person is alive then it should be repaid from the estate.

    Someone else mentioned insurance above. You can get that for the mortgage and many other types of loans that pay out when you die. e.g. that's what life insurance is for. Perhaps there would be new products for the student LOAN.
    jangary
    1st Jun 2014
    12:56am
    Gee KSS when you were unemployed for 14mths and doing a self funded course were you recieving a hand out from Centrelink via the tax payers of this country or were you a self funded unemployed person at that time ?????
    professori_au
    1st Jun 2014
    11:58am
    Whether it is a student loan we need to ask this question: Does the government have the power to do this under our constitutional and the Human rights and antidiscrimination laws. Also international laws on social justice. I would have thought the government would be seriously interested in gaining skills and assets arising out of this. If this is true then it should not make the student pay but rather look at the total benefit to Australia. If the law is a bad one then it is no law at all and should be ignored. Those who have been unfortunate or do not have the will to undertake study please do not discriminate against those who do, including future generations.
    I have been told by someone some time back that my constitutional and legal comments are not relevant to the forum. Yes I would agree. If people do not want to know information that is relevant to their lives and justice but would rather bury their heads in the sand, then any information is irrelevant.
    However, if there is an interest in learning about your rights, then any forum is relevant and expecting to deny those who wish for the information is wrong.
    Mar
    29th May 2014
    2:23pm
    KSS - Have you any idea how much those insurances cost? How would a non employed student pay for it? Go without food?
    KSS
    29th May 2014
    2:39pm
    Are you suggesting Mar that all students should become unemployed to avoid paying back their debt? Or that the unemployed should not be encourage into the workforce?

    If you mean the current full time student does not work at all, how do they afford the food in the first place? Most students now work part-time and most would work full time in the holidays. This is the as it was in my day. Add to that the fact that most live at home with the parents as well. Part of the responsibility of entering into a loan agreement is the agreement to repay the loan. Asking a student to buy insurance to protect that loan is not a choice between food or insurance. It is owning your responsibilities.
    Kato
    29th May 2014
    2:24pm
    Totally agree with not amused, worked my ass off to pay my house off and have paid taxes on the money I saved while working away from the family home to pay it off. I have and continue to pay taxes on my home re; rates and fire levies etc. why should I have to pay a tax at the end of it all, I will be slugged with a state tax called stamp duty on it when I sell to go to a nursing home anyway, enough is enough.
    KSS
    29th May 2014
    2:42pm
    Not amused says "When I die, after all debts/expenses are paid, what remains goes to my kids". So the student loan is a debt that will be paid off from the estate and the remainder handed over to the kids. It is not a tax it is a debt, a loan that must be repaid.
    Kato
    29th May 2014
    3:07pm
    KSS I don't have a Hex deb't. and don't see why I should pay my childrens. that is what they educated themselves for, create the debt pay for it don't slug someone else for it.
    KSS
    29th May 2014
    3:35pm
    You don't pay for anyone's debt except your own. If you don't have a HECS debt your estate doesn't pay. If your child has a HECS debt it is THEIR estate that would pay their debt. If they don't have an estate the debt goes unpaid.
    MICK
    29th May 2014
    4:32pm
    Now you know what a tradie goes through to get paid by some folk. Ouch!!
    Mar
    29th May 2014
    3:02pm
    KSS. No. I did not suggest what your righteous mind implies, or are you an insurance salesman? I think we are getting off the subject. No point in this...
    KSS
    29th May 2014
    3:37pm
    No its about whether the debtor should repay their debt. Clearly they should.
    Marty1
    29th May 2014
    3:23pm
    Who came up with this idea ? This Is education we are talking about & the pressure students are under now to succeed is enormous so we have people committing sucidid or by accident or health reasons, why should parents on a pension being made to pay these costs. Most of the polatitions that are in parliament today had a free education , come on people get real we have not put the country in this massive debt so let the leaches of this world pay for it. I worked very hard & paid my taxes until I had a work place accident trying to do the work of 4 people & now they don't want to look after me @ I never got one of those nice payouts because I thought they would look after me joke.
    KSS
    29th May 2014
    3:43pm
    HECS = Higher Education Contributions Scheme = a loan. No-one is asking anyone to repay the loan other than the person who took out the loan. What is wrong with that?
    It doesn't have to start to be repaid until the borrower earns more than the threshold amount currently just over $50,000. The proposal is in the event the loan has not been repaid when the person dies, the debt is repaid from the person's estate. Why is that so wrong? Any other debt the person may have would be paid in the same way.
    Personal responsibility for their own debt is all this is. It is not about asking other family members to pick up the tab.
    MICK
    29th May 2014
    4:38pm
    Education used to be free. it still should be. The trouble is the do gooder media started running stories which implied that everyone should go to uni. The reality is that there should be quota as used to be the case and that students should get into courses based on ability and the jobs available in society. Lets face it no point putting a million kids through an Arts Degree when there are only jobs for 100 000.
    HECS is about controlling costs. Reduce the cost by only offering uni courses to the bright and you cut the cost. Those who did not make it then have the option of paying their own way, getting educated overseas or doing a course at a tech college or the like. Might not be to the liking of all but it is a solution to the problem. Oh I forgot, society has 'rights' and will not accept any solution where people cannot do as they like and please. Tells a story.
    niemakawa
    29th May 2014
    5:21pm
    Can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear, so to speak. Far too many courses available to let in those that do not have academic credentials. Only a very small percentage have the ability to succeed at this level.
    biddi
    29th May 2014
    6:29pm
    KSS : Thanks. Can't get any clearer than that. And if there is no money in the borrower's estate, it is written off. Seems perfectly fair to me.
    MITZY
    29th May 2014
    3:57pm
    This is just propaganda, and it will never transpire. Christopher Pyne is just trying to divert us from the main points of this heinous budget. The fat in the frying pan is really hot at the moment, you can tell Christopher Pyne is looking for a distraction. Anything they can do to distract us from the main contentious items such as the medicare co-payments and the reductions in the real growth value of our pensions, the supplements diminishing etc. that's all this "windbag" is doing.
    MICK
    29th May 2014
    4:41pm
    Pyne is one of a group of 'propaganda' producers. I heard this vile, sniveling little piece on the night of the election. It was sickening and perverse and I can only think that 'propaganda' is where Pyne begins, not ends.
    I want a mental assessment......hang on, that that come out right?
    Polly Esther
    29th May 2014
    4:32pm
    Honesty is and will always be the best policy. Owe somebody? do the right thing and settle your account. Dead or alive!
    Waytoopoortobeme
    29th May 2014
    4:53pm
    That sounds like a metaphor for both Abbott & Hockey!
    Kathleen
    29th May 2014
    4:50pm
    Well the young talent will just leave Australia and another country will benefit from their hard work and skills. I also suspect it is a mere distraction so that we do not look at the main issues of the budget. Even Hockey himself believed as a 22 year old that education should be free to the youth of Australia. What a difference being older and wealthier makes to our ideals.
    niemakawa
    29th May 2014
    5:15pm
    Let the student's arrange their own loans through a financial institution. Then the lender will be left to collect the debt.
    Pass the Ductape
    29th May 2014
    5:45pm
    Smartest comment of the lot! 10 out of10
    Marty1
    29th May 2014
    5:29pm
    KSS good for you now that you have grown up all on your own & have paid off all your debts maybe you should be Australian of the year you goody two shoes, some people are not so lucky in life as you & I hope that continues for you. But bloody wake up who takes your sewage away ,gabbage and all the other things that you would not get your hands dirty on what ever happened to help your fellow man. I love this country & it's people & I won't stop helping those less fortunate perhaps you might consider helping the homeless at this years Christmas lunch it's only about 4 hours, your wine will still be cold when you get home & fire up the plasma to watch the queens Christmas speech.
    niemakawa
    29th May 2014
    5:45pm
    Nothing to do with luck in the main. Have a debt pay it off, if you lose an asset or two in the process, that's the fault of the borrower. Helping in charitable work is commendable. However through personal experience in a number of areas I found that the recipients were almost always over indulged. It was their rock and the charities made sure it stayed that way. The Queen's Christmas speech, the highlight for any Australian.
    KSS
    29th May 2014
    8:05pm
    And your point Marty1? I hope there is one more than just being rude because you can.
    Pass the Ductape
    29th May 2014
    5:43pm
    HECS should never have been allowed to occur in the first instance. The ability to rort the system was never in doubt and by God - isn't it rorted. Clever people being clever enough to rort the system. What the hell were they thinking?
    MICK
    29th May 2014
    5:57pm
    Their parliamentary entitlements and what 4 course lunch was being served today. Lets get our priorities right then.
    particolor
    29th May 2014
    6:35pm
    " I'll have Pheasants Breast, with a Nice Grange Please !!"
    Blossom
    29th May 2014
    8:37pm
    Yes, a lot do rort the system but there a few that don't. I know a lass that had a small HECS Debt while doing part-time study at TAFE. As soon as she got a little bit of part time work - well below repayment scale - she started to pay it back. On completion of her course she managed to get more part time work - still below compulsory level and finished paying it back.
    particolor
    29th May 2014
    6:31pm
    Now why not do what they are doing with the Doctors Visits ?? Put $7 onto the University Fees ! The Pollies get 5 Bucks for their Pay Rise when they come out of Their FREEZE !!( JOKE) and put 2 Bucks into University Insurance for anyone who has an Untimely Demise ??..
    No Problem.... Everyone is now Happy !! Except of coarse the (Hypothetical) Demised ....
    MICK
    29th May 2014
    6:40pm
    The (federal) pollies doubled their own salaries in under a 2 year period. This was achieved using the same "Independent Remuneration Tribunal" which gives CEOs huge pay rises at regular intervals. Is it any wonder that the public thinks that politicians are greedy, self interest scumbags?
    If the electorate did not elect them for a second term then this would be the way to level the playing field. They deserve to be treated badly unless they work FOR the electorate and not big business self interest (money). Anybody who has doubts should note that our new PM Tony Abbott last night gave a speech at the Minerals Council dinner. So how much money did the minerals industry throw in to the re-election campaign to get rid of the mining tax (or rather what was left of it) and the Carbon tax (so that they could pollute at will)? I'm sure the facts would outrage all Australians....if they were made public, which they won't be.
    MICK
    29th May 2014
    6:40pm
    The (federal) pollies doubled their own salaries in under a 2 year period. This was achieved using the same "Independent Remuneration Tribunal" which gives CEOs huge pay rises at regular intervals. Is it any wonder that the public thinks that politicians are greedy, self interest scumbags?
    If the electorate did not elect them for a second term then this would be the way to level the playing field. They deserve to be treated badly unless they work FOR the electorate and not big business self interest (money). Anybody who has doubts should note that our new PM Tony Abbott last night gave a speech at the Minerals Council dinner. So how much money did the minerals industry throw in to the re-election campaign to get rid of the mining tax (or rather what was left of it) and the Carbon tax (so that they could pollute at will)? I'm sure the facts would outrage all Australians....if they were made public, which they won't be.
    particolor
    29th May 2014
    7:03pm
    "The I's have it !!"..Now any further Questions before we retire to the Speakers Lounge for a Lavish Pig Out !!
    particolor
    29th May 2014
    7:53pm
    I just read up there somewhere that The Suntan Kid has Dropped the Debt to Diseased Students ??
    niemakawa
    29th May 2014
    8:49pm
    So only if they had a disease. Ones that die of natural causes are exempt.
    particolor
    29th May 2014
    9:27pm
    ..Deceased !!... Who said it was Natural ? I think the Professor Shot the Numbskull ??
    lasaboy
    29th May 2014
    7:28pm
    I was recently involved in a deceased estate that among other things was being sort after for a debt, the debt sought would have wiped out the entire estate leaving grieving relatives the debt of laying the person to rest, the debt sought was not even hers, but belonged to her deceased husband, they failed to get the debt paid as the family challenged it, but they were going to let them take the money before I said something.
    The government taking money from a deceased students estate is nothing short of thieft, they are grasping at straws to get as much in as possible, they are all at fault here as THEY have all been involved in selling off the governments assets, both federal and state, now they are going after anyone and everyone to pay the debt they are racking up
    professori_au
    30th May 2014
    12:54am
    I agree. Most of Tony Abbott’s cabinet should also be thanking the taxpayer for their higher education, completing their degrees between 1974 and 1988, the golden years of free higher education. University fees were abolished by prime minister Gough Whitlam in 1974 in order to increase the number of people getting a tertiary education. Bob Hawke reintroduced university fees under the Higher Education Contributions Scheme in 1989, so Joe Hockey/s 4 year university education was funded 2 years by the taxpayer and he incurred a student loan debt of 2 years. The original HEC's was a flat rate of $1800 paid back by the student via taxes. Howard changed that by introducing a tiered level, (depending on the sort of degree) We should not mention only the free or partially free education rides of the government politicians because there are many in the Opposition who also benefitted. Abbot who earns approximately 200+ times the average worker and has to gaul to complain the he has to bear the pain and loses something like %7000.
    What about the golden handshake he receives and the massive superannuation etc. It makes the $7000
    Mar
    29th May 2014
    7:43pm
    This is certainly a distraction by Pyne to take us away from the real issues, that this budget was a low attack on older Australians in particular. The proposed changes will hurt older Aussies. Abbott and Hockey have betrayed aged pensioners and the less fortunate. Their claim (excuse) that the pension is a major problem is not true. The facts are that in 2009 Australia spent only 3.5 per cent of GDP on the age pension, compared with an average of 7.8 per cent for other developed nations. Pyne along with Abbott and Hockey will say anything to cover up the broken promises made before the election-as follows- "there will be no cuts to education, no cuts to health, NO change to pensions and no change to the GST. No direct cuts, but how about the lowering of indexation arrangements to severely disadvantage many pensioners. Then there is abolishing the seniors supplement which takes $876.20 off singles and $1,320.80 off couples per year. They are also resetting the deeming thresholds for the income test to $30,000 singles and $50,000 couples and taking away their support to the States which leaves the future of their concessional programs in doubt, and yet they still say "we have not cut the pension". We are older and wiser, not lost our marbles. I have not yet mentioned the extra medical costs. We have never been so let down. This will change Australia for the worst.
    particolor
    29th May 2014
    7:59pm
    Mar..Make that 1.75% they forget to mention that They get Half of it BACK IN TAX !!
    Old Duf Fuss
    29th May 2014
    8:04pm
    "his could not be legally enforceable on extended families unless they were guarantors" .. this is correct - so those who take out the loan will be the only ones to pay - this is only right and just to pay your debts .. we all know that!!
    Blossom
    29th May 2014
    8:27pm
    Since when is a loan an asset. It is a liability. I agree that any money owing regardless of what it is for must be recovered from the deceased estate but I don't agree with a Govt.Death Tax being added into it.
    carmencita
    29th May 2014
    8:45pm
    I think it is ridiculous. Trying to scrape money from the dead, yet not curbing MPs spending spree and ridiculous yearly salary increases which they are not deserving. l think there should be an independent audit on how MPs are spending public monies, how justified are their salaries and allowances performance based, how justified are the employing of consultants, advisers and whoever those being used to do MPs jobs. These could generate billions if these spending sprees are controlled and MPs work hard to earn their keep instead of employing others to do MPs' jobs, cancelling their gold cards and cancelling allowances like travel, petrol, car, unnecessary printing jobs to p0ro9mote their party and themselves... Perhaps the next tax would be for being dead- now the real death tax.
    niemakawa
    29th May 2014
    8:46pm
    We are all dead, just that we are living at the moment.
    particolor
    29th May 2014
    9:36pm
    I've heard that the Libs are going to give all that Budget Squander Money they got spent on THEM, when labor was in power Back ??.... That Should halve it ??.. Not sure I heard right though ??
    Denis
    29th May 2014
    10:27pm
    In the 1960s-70s the government thought that an educated workforce was a good thing and university students were admitted on merit, tuition was free. Many students had government scholarships to pay for living expenses. I believe most students lived in Australia and gave excellent service to the community. An educated mother is almost a guarantee that the children will be well educated, and hence an asset to Australia.

    I believe that is not whether we should collect a 'debt' or should there be one at all.
    The main problem occurred when you could pay to jump ahead of other with more merit.
    Then it became a process to get anywhere you had to pay.
    The goverment
    Twyla
    29th May 2014
    11:04pm
    Perhaps the government will seek to claim back benefits paid to the unemployed ... etc.

    Using pragmatic and cold logic, there is no reason why not.
    particolor
    29th May 2014
    11:16pm
    YES YOUR RIGHT !!! Now how come Joseph never thought of that ??..
    And I know some that wouldn't work on a Good Sort, and I would love to see that happen to them !!..
    professori_au
    30th May 2014
    12:16am
    Hello Oldie.
    Sorry to disappoint you. I am not a professor. It is a nickname given to me by the Italian community for the help I was able to provide many. I grew up in an orphanage during the WWW2 years when orphans were just objects to be used and abused by the so-called religious do-gooders and I gained an education by hard work. However, I also disliked bullies in all forms, i.e. individuals, corporations and government and have been prepared to defend those unable to defend themselves. So payment or non-payment of student debt is not the issue as far as I am concerned. The value of education I see as an asset to the country and while the individual may benefit to a degree, it is also what helped our country to become a grand nation. However, recent decades have seen an increasing downgrading of our education system. As the governments have allowed our industry to be broken up; our rural areas become downgraded I have seen increasing despair and depression as well as a bridge separating the haves from the have nots. What I fight for is for the future of our country, children and their children. I fight to ensure that we leave the country and the community in a better shape than when we inherited it. It is not an easy fight because today money and assets have become the main objective and the welfare of the public is becoming less and less a concern or priority. I am approaching 82, hence each year is a bonus and what I can contribute to society of my skills, experience and knowledge I am quite happy to make that contribution. That is why I chose to become a volunteer community advocate when I retired.
    Twyla
    30th May 2014
    12:28am
    professori_au,
    You are correct on many levels.
    An educated society is the best asset a country can have.
    An educated society leads to advanced thinking in politics, ethics and a range of other areas so necessary for a civilized society.
    Twyla
    30th May 2014
    1:01am
    The loan for tertiary education should be seen as an investment in our society - and a very cheap one at that.
    professori_au
    30th May 2014
    12:55am
    It makes the $7000 a miniscule contribution compared with what the low income earners have to contribute.
    professori_au
    30th May 2014
    1:27am
    Paddles. According to public information the ATO is responsible for 50% of windups. So I don't think it is drawing too long a bow string. My argument is not to windup businesses that are not viable. My comment is that like professional liquidators whose priority is to consider whether a business can be turned around and made viable. This is not what the ATO is doing. It is winding up without any thought of turning around a business. that is the difference between ATO and professional liquidators. Save a business and you have a business that can contribute to the wealth of the country and also save employment, which will in turn contribute to the wealth of the country. ATO windup businesses and in most cases is unable to recover the so-called debts. I am cynical as to why these so called debts seem to apply to small business. As I stated before the lower end appears to be carrying a larger proportion of the tax burden that the big multinational and the very rich. I mentioned before of Packer's snr. claim that he, at the time was Australian's richest man, yet paid no personal tax. How many of the rich can claim similar benefits. what proportion of profit goes into off shore accounts and or administered by administration located in other countries.

    30th May 2014
    10:18am
    I would like to add that the title of this post is incorrect.
    It says "Death Tax to Target Student Loans"

    It is NOT a tax (if they do indeed bring it in) it is a "repayment of a loan after death".
    niemakawa
    30th May 2014
    10:30am
    Of course it is. The media using tactics of scaremongering, nothing new there. Headlines alone are useless, the full content has to be read before coming to your own conclusion. Unfortunately many in society today get no further than the headlines, then start shooting off at the mouth.
    alfie
    30th May 2014
    11:33am
    I agree in collecting debts on from the estate of those who have died with assets... its just fair. If you have no assets then its just written off. The other thing that they should collect from are those who migrate here, take Australian citizenship, study and then leave the country for good to go back to their home country to live. These are people who are just taking advantage of our education system and their debt should be collected from wherever they are..
    niemakawa
    30th May 2014
    1:28pm
    Abolish HECS altogether. Make it a user pay system. Those that are really dedicated and want a degree for the right reasons will find a way to make a financial contribution..
    HOLA
    30th May 2014
    3:02pm
    I knew of someone who died and owed $3000.00 to the bank on his visa card, he died with
    no money left in his bank account after funeral expenses, and the bank just closed off the account and didn't come after the family for it. If the account had been in his and his
    wife's name then the bank would be able to go after the wife for the outstanding amount.
    HOLA
    30th May 2014
    3:06pm
    P.S. The wife told me she asked Centrelink if she should owe the money and they said "You are not responsible for debts incurred in the husband's name".
    Anonymous
    30th May 2014
    4:21pm
    That is why so many just do not care if they run up a huge credit card debt...most will never pay back in their lifetime..when questioned some just say "it is the bank's problem not mine if I die before paying back"....great eh!!
    jackeroo
    30th May 2014
    3:12pm
    unfair. Joe Hockey was very vocal about FREE UNI, some years ago so he should muzzle his mate's and give away the uni increases also.
    SJQRP
    30th May 2014
    9:50pm
    University education should be free for those who can handle it. Then we will have the best students and the smartest country. If a university education leads to a higher paying job then the person will pay more income tax anyway, so why burden the graduate with a huge penalty for bothering to study for up to 7 years without income to get an education which ups the standard of the whole community.

    If we are content to dig stones out of the ground and sell them for ever then we don't need much education and we can always import the doctors and nurses we need from India or China or Philippines - as long as we remain the lucky country, that is, after that they won't even want to come here. If that is what you want, then keep what we are doing - putting an impediment in the way of those who try to improve themselves and lift the standard of the whole country.

    The present university system is dysfunctional because it is funded on student numbers paying fees which has the effect of lowering the standards to attract and graduate more students. A free system would require more strict entry requirements and more strict examination standards to root out the unsuitable students early on and free them to
    Twyla
    31st May 2014
    9:23pm
    SJQRP

    You are correct on every point.

    Also, when university departments have to pass 'failing' students in order to keep numbers to a required level and thus retain funding, tertiary education is an oxymoron.
    niemakawa
    31st May 2014
    10:04pm
    I tend to agree. But the leftists would cry foul as they believe that everyone has the same ability. Just look at the school system.
    noremaci
    3rd Jun 2014
    12:31pm
    It is a legitimate debt taken out under contract and owed to the taxpayer - it MUST be repaid at some time - it is not a gift to their families.
    Not Senile Yet!
    4th Jun 2014
    12:20am
    You guys are all missing the point!!!
    No one is really in dispute about paying a loan!
    The real question should be why are these Student Loans not being re-paid?
    Is it because the debtor is dodging paying them or is it because they are unable to find employment that pays enough to allow them to repay?
    Also....why is the Government raising the interest rate at a time that people are struggling to repay their student loans?
    The threshold needs to be lowered to 40,000 and the instigation of a minimum repayment once employed....ie a base minimum rate that will not cause hardship....but will make inroads on the debt!
    Just who is responsible for managing the repayment of these loans?
    Why our Government...who else?
    They have mismanaged our taxes yet again!
    I do not believe in the death tax unless there is an estate capable of paying the debt without Hardship!
    Having said that...just who the hell in Government is responsible for Managing these loans and their repayment? Someone is getting paid to not do their job here!
    If they want people to repay it...they need to put a reward in place for those who do....stop penalising them!
    Example...if you consistently pay back your loan.....your interest stops while you pay......only charge the interest if ....one they do not pay when they can!
    If they are unable to pay....ie unemployed...do not penalise them with accumulative interest.....suspend it till they can!
    All Governments...need to get away from the penalty systematic destruction of those having a go.
    We are No a State of the USA....nor do we want to be a copy of them!
    We are Australia...lets get on with rewarding those who have a go!
    And stop penalizing those who cannot because of circumstance beyond their control!
    No one actually chooses to be retrenched/unemployed or ill !!!!!
    These events are more often foist upon us by things beyond our control.
    Sure some will always bludge and try to beat any system,.....but who do they learn that from....mostly our lying cheating stealing Political Leaders who constantly change every rule at a drop of the hat!
    I mean come on! No one that I have known over the past 20years of political debates....actually agrees with these idiots that think they are Liberal revolutionists.
    Most of my Liberal mates can't wait to vote Abbot & Costello out!
    They are ashamed of their attack on the Elderly!
    They tell me that they would rather pay an extra levy of fuel if it meant leaving the Elderly alone!
    They have children going to school/uni.....they do not want an American System of free for all on Fees.
    They want what they had! Our System is not broke...just in need of fine tuning.
    I meant it....a large percentage of the Liberals out there are outraged at this pair of loonies.
    If you take out a loan ...you need to repay it!
    However....No Government should be charging any interest on this type of loan once the debtor starts to repay it!
    Bring in a reward system and people will repay because they are being rewarded. Then there would not be a problem,,,,it would come back.
    But any idiot can tell you that the ATO is not the body to administer it....they have enough on their plate.....shift it to a separate body that specialises in just Student Loans.
    Stop the double up by not allowing students to extend the loans to other degreee courses UNLESS it is going to increase their employability in the future!
    In short....leave the dead be...deal with the living...make it more rewarding to pay of the debt....even if it takes longer....that would be better than nothing at all!
    professori_au
    4th Jun 2014
    2:37pm
    Not senile yet. You raise some good points. If a debt is incurred then it should be paid. However, it is my belief that education is part of our assets, so would ask whether it justifies calling it a debt. Some people can receive higher education than others and therefore make a larger contribution. Whereas other for whatever reason are unable to gain the highest academic qualification. Yet because they are more manually orientated contribute in different ways and many of these have contributed to the country by just going out and solving problems. They may not understand or know the science but are able to visualise the problem and create a solution. As a result those with academic training can take the solution and develop the theory so it can be taught to others. Everyone contributes in their own way. I owned an engineering business as a sole operator until I needed to employ more people. My first applicant was a tradesman with a certificate of engineering. I thought this would be a benefit but when I interviewed him, he knew the answers to the theory but I sent him to look at a machine that had to be repaired and asked him to tell me what was wrong. He came and said he did not know as he had never seen such a machine. The person I eventually employed was a station hand, come station mechanic, come station builder, come whatever needed to be repaired or built. He was excellent as he could visualise the problem and teach others how to fix it. So what I am saying is that education is a tool that can eventually b e an asset. We also have many in our population, especially in the rural areas that do not have the benefit of a higher education but are able to think laterally and outside of the square. How much more could they have accomplished with the benefit of a higher education one can only speculate. Let use value those who can gain a higher education and contribute to the social and wealth of out country, instead of discriminating them. I am concerned about this developing culture of the haves and the have nots and the envy and even anger it generates. Australia used to be the best country in the world and the envy of the world. what have we now. Governments have sold our assets and resources to foreign investors and countries. Our manufacturing base is destroyed so we rely on imports and as a result there is increased jobs. Those with wealth and secure (well at the moment) employment attach those who have no employment. governments have encouraged corporations to use volunteer workers where before these were paid employment. Companies are using the 257 rule to bring in workers from countries where wages are poverty instead of giving those jobs to Australian. Australians don't want to work, they claim. Hmm. That I don't believe and my experience in this field has shown this claim to be untrue. Our Industry Training that was among the best in the world has now been de-skilled as governments have privatised industry training and these training providers are mostly interested in revenue raising by claiming the subsidies provided by the government. I am retired and work as an advocate and these are the true stories I hear all of the time. Many of my old clients I see on occasion tell me I was right when I advocated quality training,
    Attitudes I find alarming. This morning I visited a young mother who told me her daughter had come home most indignant and upset yesterday. Why? She had an interview about sex and drugs. As the teacher??? explained to her what it was all about, the daughter said she knew that and also was able to tell the teacher about different things. The teacher asked how she knew. The daughter said she could always come to her mother and her mother encouraged her to ask questions and generally with the aim of preparing her for life as an adult. The teacher finally remarked and asked her was she taking drugs as only "druggies" would know all of this. I found this an interesting comment and a reflection on society today. My wife and I encouraged our children to ask questions. In those days you were considered a responsible parent because you had a good and open relationship with your children. I guess I am too old now because I still believe in that philosophy.


    Join YOURLifeChoices, it’s free

    • Receive our daily enewsletter
    • Enter competitions
    • Comment on articles