Don't criminalise parents, friends and peers who help students cheat

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Cathryn McCormack
Cathryn McCormack signed this petition

The Australian government is proposing to make it an offence to provide or offer 'cheating services' to uni students. These new offences are punishable with up to two years imprisonment and/or $100,000 in fines.

The draft legislation is a response to commercial contract cheating services, which offer to write assignments for students for a price. They are a big problem. However, the proposed legislation covers not only contract cheating businesses, but anybody who helps someone cheat at uni.

This makes it a crime for:

  • A student to pass notes to another student in an exam
  • A parent to do the reference list on an assignment
  • An older sibling to offer to do the statistics in a piece of assessed homework

These are all wrong - but they should not be a crime. Universities already have academic integrity procedures in place to deal with cheating. The threat of imprisonment for parents, friends and peers will only make it harder for universities to enforce these rules. Nobody is going to admit to getting help from mum if it means mum might go to jail.

We are asking the government to restrict the scope of the proposed legislation so it only covers commercial cheating services.