Curtin University of Technology
Posts tagged with advocate
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
On 25 March 2014 – a watershed day in the debate of freedom of speech versus the right for all Australian citizens to be protected from acts of racial discrimination – Attorney-General George Brandis announced the Government intended to repeal Sections 18.B, C, D and E from the Racial Discrimination Act (1975), replacing them with a ‘strengthened’ version.
This brought passionate pleas from many community organisations and individuals to immediately withdraw the proposal.
While it would appear that the Government is forging ahead with this move on the basis that they see fault with these sections of the Act, the explanations from the Attorney-General on why his new proposed wording would be beneficial fall far short of the existing protections in the Act.
It’s history now, but at the time the debacle that was the WA Senate count lost-votes saga following the 2013 Federal Election was of great concern and interest to the WA Division. For the first time, the Union had advocated for a particular vote in a Federal Election and members in WA had responded enthusiastically with a turn-out on polling booths to promote the Vote Smart message that was beyond our expectations.
After all that work, to have the outcome hinge on 11 votes and then 1300 missing ones, and be drawn out over several months was excruciating for us as very interested by-standers. One can only imagine what it was like for the actual candidates who found their lives on hold for another five
As we all wait with anticipation for the market to ‘waive’ its magic in the deregulated higher education market, we might ask why such an approach has been such an unmitigated failure in relation to Vocational Education and Training (VET) in Victoria. The Brumby Labor Government’s 2008 Securing Jobs for Your Future policy introduced a student-demand driven system in which public funding was fully contestable between public TAFE institutes and private providers for the delivery of VET, not dissimilar to the approach Christopher Pyne wants to impose on higher education.
The primary objective of the Victorian policy was to increase the number of people undertaking training in areas and at levels where skills are needed for the Victorian economy. The only problem is that this did not
The Federal Budget claims to create a new ‘Commonwealth Scholarship’ scheme but, in reality it cuts $800 million from the existing scheme, trashes the Liberal legacy of Menzies and Nelson, and makes things worse for low-income students.
Before Whitlam abolished fees, Menzies had in place a widespread system of Commonwealth Scholarships (CS) which paid for tuition fees and provided a living
There has been intense activity at several Branches over the last few months, with industrial action reported in the last edition of Advocate at the University of Western Australia and the University of Queensland (UQ) resulting in finalised Agreements. More recently, staff have taken action at University of Technology, Sydney, Macquarie University and Navitas (La Trobe) in pursuit of fair Agreements.
Agreements completed and close
Staff at Monash University and UQ were set to be balloted at the time of writing, with the Agreements delivering annual pay rises of 3% and 3.1% respectively.
Other Agreements that have been approved, or are before Fair Work Commission for approval, include the University of New England, Flinders University, University of South Australia, University of Western Sydney, La Trobe University and QUT. The Macquarie University Academic Staff Agreement has also been finalised.
The Bargaining State of Play table shows an overview of pay and conditions achieved in all completed
The end of 2013 saw a number of breakthroughs in negotiations at universities including Tasmania, RMIT, Charles Darwin, Murdoch and ANU.
Seventeen NTEU-endorsed Agreements have been finalised, with bargaining at a number of other sites progressing well. However, there are a significant number of universities where progress has stalled, forcing Branches to consider taking industrial action.
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