Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull SAM MOOYAAP

Turnbull dumps Abbott's controversial university reforms

THE new Turnbull government will jettison the controversial higher education policies that were considered a cornerstone of former PM Tony Abbott's reform agenda.

The plan -- championed by then Education Minister Christopher Pyne -- was to allow universities to set their own fees.

Education Minister Simon Birmingham will today announce he will not take the bill back to Parliament this year.

SMH reports Mr Birmingham is expected to make the announcement at a speech to the University of Melbourne.

"Therefore, today I am announcing that higher education funding arrangements for 2016 will not be changed from currently legislated arrangements, while the government consults further on reforms for the future," he will say.

"Any reforms, should they be legislated, would not commence until 2017 at the earliest."

Leader of the House Christopher Pyne during House of Representatives question time at Parliament House Canberra, Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2013.
Former Education Minister Christopher Pyne fought for the reforms when Tony Abbott was Prime Minister. ALAN PORRITT

Delaying changes to university fees means they will now wait until after Malcolm Turnbull faces voters for the first time as Prime Minister.

Mr Abbott told a Melbourne radio station 3AW he was "a little disappointed by it".

"I am disappointed that the people who call for reform did not get behind the 2014 budget," he told host Neil Mitchell.

The former Prime Minister has been so far happy to critique the actions of the party that once had him as leader, previously taking aim at now-Treasurer Scott Morrison and Deputy Leader Julie Bishop over how they have described the events that led to his ousting from the top job.