Students gathered on campuses around the nation today, protesting changes to higher education in the federal budget.

The Prime Minister pulled out of a visit to one university this morning because of the demonstrations.

Saskia Edwards reports.


In Brisbane, students from different universities united with the same message.

Student protests: “No cuts, no fees, no corporate universities.”

They’re demonstrating against budget proposals to uncap uni fees, increase interest on student loans, and cuts to university funding.

Duncan Hart, National Union of Students Qld Officer: “We see institutions basically designed for the poor and then you see the institutions for the privileged elite. And I think that’s exactly what’s going to happen if this deregulation goes through.”

Staff joined students at protests in Sydney.

While demonstrators clashed with police in Melbourne.

But the federal government is standing firm.

Tony Abbott, Prime Minister: “We have only taken these big political risks because we think it is absolutely necessary for the long term strength of our country.”

Prime Minister Tony Abbott and the Education Minister cancelled a trip to Deakin University today.

Christopher Pyne, Education Minister: “Well the advice of the Australian Federal Police was that they were concerned about our safety, but also they were concerned about the safety of the innocent bystanders that might be impacted upon.”

Larissa Waters, Greens Senator: “You’ve got the Prime Minister running scared from students in Geelong.”

It comes after University of Sydney students mobbed the Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop.

And former LNP Minister Sophie Mirabella fled the University of Melbourne.

Students have gathered here in Queens Park in Brisbane this afternoon.

Even Liberal supporters want changes to higher education in the budget.

Jack McGuire, President of QUT Liberal National Club: “We would have liked to have seen the student services and amenities fee axed in the budget.”

Protesters say they’re gathering a database of angry students, and say it won’t be the last of their demonstrations.

Saskia Edwards, QUT News.