Central Queensland University
This year, it’s time for action on campuses. NTEU with NUS and CAPA will use Bluestocking Week to highlight the importance of women speaking out and sharing our stories and views.
We need to hear the stories of the women in our universities as we "cross the line" and challenge attitudes that seek to restrict women's freedom and opportunities. In short, we want to hear diverse and contemporary ‘bluestocking’ experiences.
We can create a human tapestry that describes the experiences of women who work and study in our universities, as women ‘cross the line’ and challenge attitudes that seek to restrict our freedom and opportunities.
We want to hear from all women in the university community:
- professional and general staff
Tell us your stories of the value of education and opportunity, and what you are doing to challenge the status
It’s something I’ve always done’ isn’t really a sufficient answer from a sociologist, so I’ll reflect and attempt to uncover the reasons for my engagement with unionism ...
Crossbench senators with an ear to popular opinion could become even less co-operative when university cuts come before them, with new polling showing the Coalition’s changes are poison in voter-land.
Extensive automated phone polling across 23 federal electorates taking in all states has found cuts in federal funding and changes to allow increased fees, higher loan charges, and access to limited federal funding by non-university course providers, have not gone over well with households.Sixty-nine per cent of those polled said they opposed “significant increases in fees” and 65 per cent said they opposed a 20 per cent funding
A list of extension of nominations for uncontested declarations in NTEU elections in can be found here:
The Federal Budget contained a number of nasty surprises for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Cuts were expected, and pre-empted to a certain degree, but when the news came through that a total of $500 million had been cut from essential Indigenous services, the shock in the community was apparent.
In particular, equity measures within Indigenous education, health and legal services have been the hardest hit and there seems little opportunity for response. In short, we have a huge fight ahead in a hostile
If any one aspect of Minister for Education Pyne’s plans for Australian higher education sends shivers down the collective spines of university staff, students and Vice-Chancellors, it is his proclamation that the United States higher education system is his inspiration.
Not surprisingly, the prospect of the Americanisation of our universities also horrifies the general public, as confirmed in the NTEU’s latest polling (see p. 22). People know about the American system from popular culture. Just think about the many plot lines that draw upon the millstone of student loans hanging over young (and not so young) professionals, tales of glorious but also terrible colleges, of the scramble to get into a decent college, abuse of scholarship systems, of university collusion with big pharma and the military industrial complex, of persecution of dissident academics, rip off for-profit outfits, bankrupt colleges and so
UK experience signposts Australia’s future
At the University & Colleges Union (UCU) we have been following recent events in Australia closely. Your government’s plans to increase student fees and to open up the sector to for-profit providers are depressingly familiar to staff and students in English higher education. On a more positive note, it has been fantastic to see the level of protests in Australia at the proposed fee changes and budget cuts!
The UK experience
What has been happening in England regarding fees, debt and the overall sustainability of the loan system? Since 2012-13 universities in England have been able to charge up to £9000 a year for new full-time undergraduates. As in Australia students don’t pay upfront fees but are required to take up a government-backed loan, which is paid back after graduation. Graduates must repay 9% of their gross income above a certain level of annual income (the current threshold is £25,000). Interest rates on loans vary from 0–3% above the inflation
How often do you hear NTEU representatives mumble ‘General – oh and/or Professional staff’? For our first two decades, the NTEU had two major sections of membership – academic and general. Academics are easily identified as members of that profession and classified as such. Two unions covering academic staff in universities and colleges were part of the original merger to form the NTEU. There were also three General Staff unions covering university and associated staff, and Victorian TAFE staff who were called PACCT staff. Over time, allied sections of other unions in universities joined us along with research and other allied institutions’ staff.
Describing staff who cover many occupations with many qualifications has become more complex. Universities are favouring the term ‘Professional’, but not everyone has a professional position. There is a ‘third space’ but this is of concern to academics particularly as there is more talk of ‘unbundling’ the academic role. We asked three leading General Staff members to