Protesting students who “jostled” and “abused” Foreign Minister Julie Bishop as she visited Sydney University are guilty of assault, Education Minister Christopher Pyne says.
Mr Pyne called on Opposition Leader Bill Shorten to join the government in strongly condemning the “incomprehensible” behaviour of the students who were protesting proposed cuts to higher education funding.
Ms Bishop was attending the university to announce a further 1000 students would be able to study overseas under new government funding when she was confronted by about 20 students.
“No cuts, no fees, no corporate universities,” they shouted.
Amateur footage taken at the scene shows Ms Bishop being ushered through the scrum of students, .
“Everyone is entitled to have a view – whether they like the government, whether they don’t like the government; whether they like or dislike particular policies,” Mr Pyne told reporters in Adelaide on Saturday.
“But the behaviour of the students yesterday at Sydney University was assault.”
The opposition must not be seen to endorse such behaviour, he said.
“There is no room for Bill Shorten to have a muted response to this unacceptable, un-Australian and anti-democratic behaviour.”