Australia will not cut public funding to universities
The close 33-to-31 Senate vote was another blow to Prime Minister Tony Abbott's bid to rein in Australia's burgeoning deficit in the final few days that Parliament will sit for the year. It came the same day as a poll showed that Abbot was becoming increasing unpopular 15 months after his convincing election victory.
The government had hoped to save 1.1 billion Australian dollars ($934 million) over three years from 2016 under the plan that included reducing government restrictions on how much universities can charge Australian students. Fee-paying foreign students subsidize Australian students at the same universities, which are largely state-funded.
An opinion poll by Sydney-based market researcher Newspoll published in The Australian showed Abbott's approval rating fell to 33 percent from 41 percent in September. ■