Higher Education Support Amendment (Maximum Payment Amounts and Other Measures) Bill 2012

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Higher Education Support Amendment (Maximum Payment Amounts and Other Measures) Bill 2012

Introduced into the House of Representatives on 12 September 2012
Portfolio: Innovation, Industry, Science, Research and Tertiary Education

Purpose of the bill

1.2        This bill:

1.3        The statement of compatibility notes that the updates to the Other Grants and Commonwealth Scholarships in schedule 1 of the bill advances the right to education in article 13 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR).

1.4        The statement also identifies that the measures relating to the use and disclosure of information contained in schedule 3 of the bill engages the right to privacy in article 17 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).

1.5        Article 17 of the ICCPR provides that no one shall be subjected to arbitrary or unlawful interference with their privacy.  Collecting, using, storing, disclosing or publishing personal information amounts to an interference with privacy.  In order for the interference not to be ‘arbitrary’, the interference must be for a legitimate objective and be reasonable, necessary and proportionate to that objective.

1.6        The statement states that the information-sharing measures in the bill are aimed at the legitimate objective of improving the provision of higher education or vocational education and training and for research relating to the provision of higher education and training, including research relating to quality assurance or planning the provision of higher education or vocational education and training.  According to the statement, personal information, including use of the Commonwealth Higher Education Student Support Number, is also required to construct accurate and robust survey sample frames to assess the quality of teaching and learning.

1.7        The statement provides the following reasons for concluding that any interference with the right to privacy is reasonable, necessary and proportionate to those objectives:

1.8        The committee considers that these provisions are unlikely to raise issues of incompatibility with the right to privacy given that any interference with the right to privacy would appear to be necessary to achieve the stated objectives of improving the provision of higher education or vocational education and training, which can be considered to be legitimate objectives. Further, the provisions appear to be drafted with sufficient precision and contain appropriate safeguards to ensure that the degree of interference is proportionate to those objectives. 

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