It is the second time in four months the Senate has rejected the Coalition’s proposed changes to higher education.
The Bill was defeated 34 votes to 30 after Education Minister Christopher Pyne decided to split the original legislation.
A $1.9 billion funding cut was put aside for later consideration.
Curtin University Student Guild president Jason Giancono said students would continue to fight for a public university sector that was sustainable and well funded.
‘We’re going to continue protesting, lobbying and advocating for an education system that is fair, funded and equitable,’ Mr Giancono said. ‘Christopher Pyne has said he will persist with his deregulation agenda by reintroducing the Bill and students will still be rallying against it on March 25.’
Mr Giancono said deregulation would force university fees upwards.
‘University degrees have been described as a Veblen good, which means that in a deregulated system, people will judge degree quality based on how much it cost, which will mean universities increase prices to protect their reputation,’ he said.
‘The sector still needs reform to address underfunding but the extra funding should come from the Government and not individuals.’
Curtin University vice-chancellor Deborah Terry said the higher education sector required a robust and sustainable funding system to ensure the sector was globally competitive.
Professor Terry said the reform bill would not solve the structural issues facing the sector and meant continued uncertainty.
‘Curtin University supports calls for the Government to continue to engage with Parliament to come up with a workable, long-term solution that allows the demand-driven system to flourish,’ she said. ‘The university is happy to continue to work with senators and members to develop a high-quality funding framework.’
Mr Pyne said higher education reform was crucial for Australia’s future and he would bring back the higher education reform package for Parliament to consider.