Canberra, Australia – University students enrolling in degrees in the humanities, law and economics in Australia will see their course fees more than double next year under legislation that has just passed the upper house which the government says will ensure higher education produces “job-ready graduates”.
Under the plan, a four-year Bachelor of Arts degree will cost as much as 58,000 Australian dollars ($41,619) from 2021, an increase of 113 percent compared with 2020.
The bill passed the Senate on Thursday after securing the votes of minority parties, all but guaranteeing it will become law when it returns to the lower house in a week or so.
Federal Education Minister Dan Tehan has said the changes are necessary because students need “to make more job-relevant choices” and study more science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) courses to ensure they become better prepared for the job market.
A House of Representatives panel in a report Tuesday accused four Big Tech firms of acting as “monopolies,” calling for sweeping changes to antitrust laws and enforcement that could potentially lead to breakups of the giant firms.
But the report by the House Judiciary Committee failed to win the endorsement of Republican members, highlighting a partisan divide despite widespread criticism of the tech giants.
The 449-page document concluded that Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google “engage in a form of their own private quasi regulation that is unaccountable to anyone but themselves.”
“Companies that once were scrappy, underdog startups that challenged the status quo have become the kinds of monopolies we last saw in the era of oil barons and railroad tycoons,” the report said.
The report follows an investigation of more than 15 months and hearings this year with the top executives of the four firms, in parallel to antitrust