Students could be facing another increase in fees after the House of Representatives voted in favour of a "university tax" this week.
Indi MP Helen Haines and fellow crossbenchers Adam Bandt and Andrew Wilkie made lonely figures as the only three in Parliament to vote against the government's bill this week.
The bill would introduce a new administration fee for to universities that collect HECS fees from their students, which would result in $11.4 million worth of savings.
"On most non-controversial bills I would vote with the government and support what they're trying to do," Dr Haines said.
"It became clear to me that this was a new impost on universities and the funding to universities has already been cut many times over the last few years."
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Labor MP Graham Perrett said "these charges will have a very small impact on the higher education sector", but Dr Haines said La Trobe University had made a submission to the government asking that the new fees not go ahead.
"It's a cost that they will undoubtedly pass onto students," Dr Haines said.
She had also received a mixed response to the crossbench push for the federal government to declare a climate emergency.
"It brought climate into focus and that's what we really want to do, is focus the government's attention to have the conversation about climate because we're not having it in the Parliament," she said.
"I said climate was the number one issue that people brought to me during the election campaign and I'm not going to back away from it just because some people don't believe in climate change."