Green Party leader Adam Bandt comes under fire for clueless tweet about HECS debt and interest: ‘It doesn’t work that way’
- Mr Bandt claimed rate hikes would add $2.7 billion to student debt
- The Green Party leader called on the government to exempt students from ‘unsustainable’ loans
- Australians have criticized Mr Bandt for not knowing how the repayment system works
Green Party leader Adam Bandt has been blasted after falsely claiming Australian students would be forced to pay billions in interest on their loans following recent interest rate hikes.
Mr. Bandt warned students Monday they will owe an additional $2.7 billion in interest on their HECS HELP loan this year.
“If you have a student loan, these rate hikes will hit you, too,” Mr. Bandt continued Twitter.
“College students will be hit with $2.7 billion in interest this year.”
Green Party leader Adam Bandt (pictured) faced backlash after mistaking Australia’s student loan system for that of the United States
Social media users slammed the politician for confusing Australia’s student loan system with the system used in the United States, and slammed the Greens leader for not understanding how student loan repayments work.
“We don’t have student loans here in Australia, we have HECS that don’t accrue interest,” one person wrote.
“We have HECS/HELP you idiot… you should know that,” wrote another user.
“Basics, Adam. There is no interest in HECS. It’s linked to inflation,” said a third.
Another user commented: “Slightly embarrassing that the leader of a major Australian political party doesn’t even know the basics of the policies he is criticizing.”
“HECS/HELP loans have a real interest rate of 0% and, in fact, higher interest rates lower nominal interest rates on student debt by lowering inflation.”
In a social media post shared on Twitter (pictured), the Green Party leader claimed rate hikes would directly affect student debt and called the state loan program “unsustainable”.
In Australia, HECS-HELP is a government scheme that pays a student’s tuition fees while they complete their studies.
Repayments are automatically deducted by the government if a graduate earns more than $47,014 per year — and are tiered based on an individual’s salary.
HECS HELP debt is non-interest bearing and is adjusted annually by the Australian Revenue Commissioner based on the Consumer Price Index.
But the Green Party leader claims his comments are justified as the consumer price index is affected by rate hikes.
‘She [comments] are wrong,” Adam Bandt’s spokesman told Daily Mail Australia.
“Interest rates are an important factor in the consumer price index, which the HECS/HELP system is indexed by.
“As interest rates go up, so does the CPI, which means student debt will go up.”
On June 1, nearly three million Australians with outstanding student debt were hit by a 3.9 percent increase in repayments – up 0.6 percent from a year earlier.
The repayment increase means students with an average debt of $23,685 owed an additional $920.
Mr Bandt ended his Twitter post by urging the government to waive Australians from their “unsustainable” student debt.
“It’s not sustainable. The government must pay off student debt,” Mr Bandt wrote.
In 2021, 2.9 million Australians had outstanding HECS-HELP debt totaling US$68.7 billion – US$2.3 billion more than the previous year (pictured students on graduation day at the University of Sydney) .
The leader of the Greens has promised to end student debt and free up the university and TAFE if his party wins the balance of power after the federal election in May.
According to the Australian Revenue Commissioner, there were 2.9 million people with outstanding HECS-HELP debt totaling US$68.7 billion in 2021 – US$2.3 billion more than in 2020.