Victoria Park resident and Curtin Student Guild vice president Sam Cavallaro said they wanted to show their anger towards Ms Gillard’s ‘right wing agenda’.
‘(Ms) Gillard, as the head of the Federal Government, is responsible for cutting funding to single parents and universities, as well as locking up refugees and denying equal marriage rights,’ he said.
Student Guild president Jess McLeod said they wanted to make clear that education cuts were still on the agenda and that they would continue to fight against them.
‘Students are going to be leaving university with bigger debts and if they manage to get here, they will have less support because there will be less funding and less resources,’ she said.
Senator Mark Bishop said funding for universities had increased by more than 60 per cent between 2007 and 2012, and funding would continue to grow, albeit at a slower rate over the next two years.
‘The decline in government revenue from taxation required a reassessment of the huge and growing university spending,’ he said.
‘There have been hard decisions to make across a number of Federal Government departments to properly resource our classrooms, teachers and school children under our National Plan for School Improvement program, and the National Disability Insurance Scheme.
‘One of those decisions has been to apply an efficiency dividend for universities of 2 per cent in 2014 and 1.25 per cent in 2015.’
He said it was the government’s expectation that universities would target non-student areas like travel budgets, accommodation, supplies and IT.
‘The decision to apply an efficiency dividend to universities over the next two years is about balancing our significant investment across the education sector to ensure that all children get the best opportunities,’ he said.
‘This is because you can’t have world class universities without world class schools.
‘Improving our schools and reforming funding arrangements so that money is targeted on need, means that more students will get the start in school to go on to university.’