[ASA] Parliamentary petition to increase PhD stipend rate

Emma Ryan-Weber eryanweber at swin.edu.au
Tue May 16 17:50:41 AEST 2023

Dear ASA members,

An empowered group of Swinburne PhD students have started a parliamentary petition to increase the PhD stipend rate. The issue affects students Australia wide and in all disciplines. The petition has already attracted over 5000 signatures.

We kindly request that you consider signing the petition, via the link below, and/or share with your department/University.

Petition Reason
PhD students contribute enormously to Australia’s research every year, with their time accounting for 56% the total research output. They are the future professors and industry professionals of this country, responsible for driving innovation and ensuring strong international collaborations and competition. Their contribution is often rewarded with a stipend intended to cover the cost of living, with a minimum rate set by the Australian government. Currently, this scholarship rate is $29,863 per year for PhD students to live on while usually working more than 40 hrs per week on their research. Not only is this below minimum wage, but it is even forcing students to live below the poverty line. With this treatment, students are incentivised to accept positions abroad, reject higher degrees by research, or quit midway through their degree due to financial distress. Australia is actively discouraging higher education and slowing its economic growth and productivity by underpaying PhD students. We believe the government should support higher education and ensure a competitive standing for Australia. The way to do this is by setting a fair, liveable rate for PhD scholarships, which is at least equivalent to the minimum wage.
Petition Request
We therefore ask the House to raise the allowed minimum rate for a PhD Scholarship to $39,000 per year, thereby matching the minimum wage.

A link to a printable poster is provide here:

Best wishes,

Prof Emma Ryan-Weber (she/her)
Director, ARC Centre of Excellence, ASTRO 3D
Centre for Astrophysics and Supercomputing
Swinburne University of Technology
T: +61 3 9214 4746<tel:+61392144746> | E: eryanweber at swin.edu.au<mailto:eryanweber at swin.edu.au> | Mail: H29, PO Box 218 Hawthorn VIC 3122

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I respectfully acknowledge the Wurundjeri People, and their Elders past and present, who are the traditional custodians of the land on which Swinburne’s Australian campuses are located.

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