Constitutional Law Commonwealth Parliament Enacts the Higher Education Act 2020 - Law Assignment Help
Question Task Id: 369540
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In 2020, the Commonwealth Parliament enacts the Higher Education Act 2020 (Cth) relying on its
legislative power under s 51(xx) of the Constitution. Section 3 of the Act empowers the Minister for
Higher Education to make regulations that prescribe minimum standards of teaching and minimum
qualifications of lecturers employed by universities and colleges. Section 20 of the Act prohibits a
constitutional corporation from using the word ‘university’ or ‘college’ in its name without prior
approval of the Minister. Regulation 10 of the Higher Education Standards Regulations made under s
3 of the Act prescribes the degree of Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) as the minimum qualification of a
lecturer. Regulation 11 requires all degree curricula (including the content of each course) to be
approved by the National Higher Education Standards Board (Board) established under the Act and
appointed by the Minister.
The Vice-Chancellor of the Queensland University of Agriculture (QUA), who is concerned about the
adverse impact of the Act and the regulations on QUA, seeks your advice on the extent (if any) to
which the University is bound to comply with the provisions of the Act and the regulations made
thereunder. The Vice-Chancellor provides the following information.
• QUA is established under the Queensland University of Agriculture Act 2015 (Qld) as a
corporate entity with the objects of providing undergraduate and postgraduate education and
training and the conducting of basic and applied research.
• It has 6000 Australian students who pay to the Commonwealth government a prescribed
fee. The University receives an annual grant from the Commonwealth for its operating budget.
• It has 1000 foreign students who pay fees to the University as determined by the University
from time to time.
• There are three cafeterias on the University campus operated commercially by outsiders
who pay rent to the University for the cafeteria space they occupy.
• The University has a residential facility for country students called the Outback College.
Student pay for their board and lodging on a cost recovery basis. The University has not sought the
minister’s approval of the name of the College.
Advise the Vice-Chancellor citing relevant constitutional provisions and judicial authority.
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