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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

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November 7, 2003

Politics1.jpg This is The Australian yesterday.

Brendon Nelson sits alone on the parliamentary benches. What does that signify? Deserted by his hard-line colleagues? Is the consensus that he so carefully built for his educational reforms beginning to erode. Is he confronted by setbacks?

The Senate Inquiry into higher education is due to to be tabled today. It will be immediately rejected by the Howard Government on political grounds. The Senate is not looking as if it will support the Nelson reforms let alone pass them by Xmas.

Michael Gallagher, the former departmental head of education, criticised the reforms because the policy framework had no vision of the future shape of the industry; was very intrusive; lacked indexation for operating grants; lacked access for students; would lead to cartel pricing and so undermine competition; and neglected the vocational and training sector.

The Vice-Chancellors continue to stand firm in their oppposition with the belated release of the draft guidelines to the Higher Education Support Bill 2003. As does the National Tertiary Education Union. There is still the proposal to introduce Australian Workplace Agreements into enterprise agreements; the tying of workplace reforms to extra funding; reducing the size of governing councils and excluding politicians from membership.

There is very little in these government reforms about other kinds of educational governance. The need to change the hierarchical nature of the univerisites, with their top-down top-heavy administration and small groups of academics arranged in schools and departments with little or no power or influence, is not addressed.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 7:02 AM | | Comments (0)