Advocate JOURNAL OF THE NATIONAL TERTIARY EDUCATION UNION
Volume 18, Number 3, November 2011
REPRESENTING EMPLOYEES IN HIGHER EDUCATION, TAFE, ADULT EDUCATION, R ACGP, RESEARCH INSTITUTES AND UNIVERSIT Y COMPANIES
Invest in our future NTEU campaign to increase funding for our universities
PLUS: Bargaining Round 5: it’s a wrap! I’m not a Racist, but... NTEU Racism Survey Student Demand Driven Funding Precarious Employment campaign EI World Congress
National Council Lindsay Tanner on education and social divisions Inaugural NTEU Lecture: Professor Ian Chubb NTEU History Project Life Members
Marine victory! Stop the attack on the NCMCRS.
Save AMC! www.nteu.org.au/tas/amc Authorised by Kelvin Michael, NTEU Tasmanian Division President
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Advocate is published by National Tertiary Education Union ISSN 1321-8476 ABN 38 579 396 344 PO Box 1323, South Melbourne VIC 3205 Australia ph: 03 9254 1910 fax: 03 9254 1915 email: email@example.com
Advocate JOURNAL OF THE NATIONAL TERTIARY EDUCATION UNION
VOLUME 18, NUMBER 3, NOVEMBER 2011
Publisher................................Grahame McCulloch Editor......................................Jeannie Rea Production................................Paul Clifton Editorial Assistance..................Anastasia Kotaidis Feedback and advertising....... firstname.lastname@example.org All text & images © NTEU 2011 unless otherwise stated.
In accordance with NTEU policy to reduce our impact on the natural environment, this magazine is printed on Behaviour–a 30% recycled stock, manufactured by a PEFC Certified mill, which is ECF Certified Chlorine Free.
On the cover: Anthony and Anna Vuong model the ‘Future Doctor’ and ‘Future Prime Minister’ t-shirts, produced as part of the NTEU’s new campaign ‘Invest in Australia’s Future, Invest in our Universities’. Photo: Paul Clifton
Advocate is also available online (e-book and PDF) at www.nteu.org.au/advocate NTEU members may opt for ‘soft delivery’ (email notification rather than printed copy) for all NTEU magazines. Login to the members’ area at www.nteu.org.au to access your membership details.
SPECIAL FEATURES CAMPAIGNS
FROM THE OFFICERS
Increasing union voices within our universities
Labor – hoping for the best and preparing for the worst
Grahame McCulloch, General Secretary
Smart Casuals launch; Review of RTS NTEU publishes green universities report New women’s site and journal; Base Funding Review Bargaining Round 5: it’s a wrap NSW legislation threatens university governance and staff and student representation Legislative protection of intellectual freedom Better word choice for climate scientists
HIGHER EDUCATION 20
NTEU Racism Survey Indigenous Higher Education Review
New ADHD Pandemic 25
Sandstones stealing Tam U’s tricks of the trade Cosmopolitanising the Cohort Knowledge is the Economy, Stupid, by Tammi Jonas
Occupy Aotearoa New Zealand Letter from New Zealand/Aotearoa, by Sandra Grey, TEU
YOUR UNION 36 38 41 42 44 45 46 47 48
National Council Meeting 2011 Life Members NTEU History Project Recent human rights actions by NTEU Obituary: Simone Morrisey Obituary: Jenny Austin Updating your membership information Join form Contacting your Union
Social divisions now driven by education Lindsay Tanner, guest speaker at NTEU National Council 2011, on how the structure of society is now driven more by education than income.
Worse affects of VSU overturned The Gillard Government’s Student Amenities legislation overturns some of the worst aspects of the Coalition’s Voluntary Student Unionism laws.
Lowering the Boom, by Ian Lowe
Ian Chubb speaks on the value of science, universities and academic expression In October, Professor Ian Chubb delivered the inaugural NTEU Lecture: ‘The Future of Science in Australia’.
News from the Net, by Pat Wright
Beware the slap from the invisible hand Paul Kniest discusses the implications of Student Demand Driven Funding.
Insecure Work, Anxious Lives The ACTU’s new precarious employment campaign, ‘Secure Jobs, Better Future’ was launched in Sydney in September.
INDIGENOUS NEWS 10 11
Marine Centre to stay with Marine College The story of how the NTEU led the fight to keep the National Centre for Marine Conservation and Resource Sustainability (NCMCRS) as part of the Australian Maritime College.
‘Australian Universities Today and Tomorrow’ NTEU is planning a major conference on the future of the sector, to be held in February 2012.
ACTU campaign recognises the importance of engaging with casual staff Matt McGowan, National Assistant Secretary
5 6 7 8
Invest in Australia’s Future, Invest in our Universities The Union has prepared a major national campaign aimed at securing increased funding for our universities.
Jeannie Rea, National President
vol. 53, no. 2, 2011 Published by NTEU
Scientists take the high ground Dr Cameron Willis represented NTEU at the 2011 Science Meets Parliament.
There’s no such thing as bad publicity Ian Dobson plots the media coverage of the sector, and the publicity effectiveness of NTEU's Australian Universities' Review.
General Staff Working Party Interim results of the Union’s national survey of general/professional staff.
UTAS Uganda project seeks microscopes and dollars The ISSUE Foundation, created and run by UTAS medical students, wants to improve health services in Uganda.
EI Congress Five NTEU officers attended the 5th Education International World Congress in Capetown.
FROM THE OFFICERS
JEANNIE REA, NATIONAL PRESIDENT
Increasing union voices within our universities A
number of recent developments, when considered together, have focused my attention on an area of union activism that we have, in my opinion, let slip over recent years. These developments include the long overdue reality check for Government and university management rendered by the recent DEEWR commissioned research report, which found that half of Australia’s academics surveyed intend to leave the sector over the next five years and the next generation of academics is increasingly disenchanted with pursuing an academic career in Australian universities.1 On 18 October, the NSW Parliament passed legislation to enable university councils to change their composition and size succumbing to intensive lobbying to further corporatise university governance and challenge the legitimacy of staff and student representation. During the establishment of TEQSA, we saw a reprisal of the debate over university definitions and independence as self-accrediting institutions. The status quo was eventually retained in the legislation, but we had to have the argument again. We welcomed the passing of the amendment to the Higher Education Support Act legislatively enshrining freedom of intellectual inquiry and the requirement for universities to enact policy to protect intellectual freedom. Also with the conclusion of Round 5 Collective Bargaining we have effectively reversed the HEWRRs/WorkChoices in our workplaces. We have regained a Union voice and vote on some industrial and HR processes. However, the effectiveness of this is somewhat diminished when many of the issues are the outcome of decisions made elsewhere in the University, where no Union voice is being heard. This brings me to the area of Union activity where I believe we must increase our influence. We have maintained a focus on staff representation on university councils and, in some universities, run successful Union tickets. The NTEU National Office is currently working with Divisions and Branches on forming a network of university council representatives. We will actively oppose the diminution of student and staff representation on university councils and support Union members who nominate for these important roles. University councils are the highest level of governance in universities. Each council will decide how their university will implement demand driven funding, the most critical change to the sector in two decades. Final decisions about how many students to enrol are made by university councils, as is the approval of the budget, which allocates the funds accruing from these enrolments. The trend continues to shift fee income away from faculties and direct student services to fund other areas of university business. This is the big issue for staff and students – how the money is allocated and spent. For while we can all agree that the Government must increase funding per student (base funding), it is the Council that endorses internal staffing and resource allocations. Senior management decisions are made behind closed doors, but they can still be questioned. We still have governance structures and consequently opportunities to intervene. Certainly for some 2
time now, we have been losing collegial and democratic structures and processes. No longer are heads of school elected nor staff representatives on selection panels for senior positions. The proportion of management appointees on faculty and academic boards keeps increasing at the expense of elected representatives. However, Union members should be putting themselves forward and speaking out – and seeking the support of their Union branch in doing so. At our aptly named ‘Pushing the Boundaries’ conference on climate change earlier this year, some participants raised the issue of the lack of visibility of the Union on environmental sustainability issues and committees. There is a role for Union activists in keeping universities accountable and watching for any greenwashing. Getting onto the committees means we can both contribute to environmental sustainability and monitor the efficacy of initiatives. Ensuring there are Union members nominating for workplace health and safety (WHS) representatives is another activity for NTEU Branches. With the national harmonisation of WHS legalisation and significant changes affecting universities this is certainly an area where we must be more involved. While many union activists are well aware of the need to be involved and exercise it through active participation in management and governance where they can, we have let this work fall away because of workloads, the HEWRRs effect and increasing corporatising of our university structures and processes. We can though make a difference if we are actively involved. The one area I want to call for concentrated unionist attention is in the course approval processes. Course approval is a key role of academic boards or equivalents. They are a powerful part of the governance structure. Policies on what course structures, resources and delivery mode, as well as staffing requirements are implemented through the course approvals processes (as are the review processes and decisions on whether to continue courses). While the final approval is by the university council, recommendations are rarely questioned. As we dive into the cloudy waters of uncapped places, differentiation to win mission based funding and new funding arrangements for teaching and learning performance, the decisions made and implemented by academic boards and sub committees matter. Let’s muster the formidable knowledge, experience and resources of the NTEU. 1. Bexley, E., James, R. & Arkoudis, S. (2011) The Australian Academic Profession in Transition, Centre for the Study of Higher Education, University of Melbourne. NTEU ADVOCATE vol. 18, no. 3
FROM THE OFFICERS
GRAHAME MCCULLOCH, GENERAL SECRETARY
Labor – hoping for the best and preparing for the worst S
ince its formation in early September 2010, the Gillard minority Labor Government has rapidly lost public support reflecting a wider collapse in the Labor Party’s base primary vote at State and Federal levels. For a big part of 2011 the Labor poll numbers have been below 30% - a historically unprecedented position. The recent Qantas management lockout and an unremitting campaign against trade union bargaining rights by major employer groups has seen industrial relations re-emerge as a national issue, and Labor’s political position has marginally improved. Early November polling has seen Labor edge up to 32%. While political prediction is a perilous and inexact science, the balance of probability still suggests that it is likely that Labor, under its current policy direction, will not prevail in the next Federal election. On several key issues – the mining and resource rent tax, asylum seekers and refugees, the Budget deficit, gay marriage and manufacturing jobs – Labor’s attempts to mollify all constituencies and opinions have satisfied none. In consequence it bleeds votes on the left to the Greens, and merely increases the Coalition’s vote on the right (including for this purpose large numbers of largely male blue-collar workers concerned about jobs and with socially conservative views). There are three policy exceptions – the carbon tax/price, the National Broadband Network (NBN) and elements of the (still flawed) Fair Work Act – where the Government is maintaining a strong and reasonably principled position. Unfortunately, the Prime Minister’s foolish election commitment not to introduce a carbon tax/price means Labor is unlikely to reap political or electoral benefit from taking action on climate change. It is probable that at least one (Rob Oakeshott) or two (Tony Windsor) of the regional Independents will lose their seats at the 2013 Federal election notwithstanding the Government’s commitment to investment in rural and regional services and infrastructure. On this basis, the recent NTEU National Council (see pp.36-37) adopted policy and bargaining proposals based on the prudent assumption that we may well face a substantial Coalition majority Government in the lower House. The probability of the Coalition and right wing Independents gaining a Senate majority is exceptionally low. The Labor primary Senate vote in WA, NSW and Queensland would need to fall to something like 25% for this to happen. A far more likely result is a Labor/Greens Senate majority.
Higher education funding This possible political landscape presents several key challenges for the Union and higher education. Universities and colleges do not (and have not) registered as a major political and public policy issue for politicians and the wider community, and this will not change rapidly or easily. The Union’s campaign and advocacy strategy must take a long run view which promotes the collective economic and social significance of higher education and the individual opportunities it provides for social mobility. In the very short term, the Union needs NOVEMBER 2011 www.nteu.org.au
to vigorously pursue a further increase in base University funding. The Rudd Labor Government response to the Bradley Report delivered a welcome real funding increase of around 5% (or about half of the Bradley recommendations) which is fully yielded in the 2013-14 financial year. We need to persuade the current Labor Government to boost this amount while it retains office, and the soon to be announced Base Funding Review provides an opportunity to have this debate. This will involve exploiting Labor’s electoral vulnerability (which hopefully means a willingness to open the public purse strings prior to the next election) and urging the regional Independents to make this a priority in 2012. Although this will be difficult, if successfully achieved it will be difficult for the Coalition to unwind such an outcome if Labor and the Greens have a future Senate majority.
Higher education bargaining The Coalition could become increasingly aggressive on anti-Union industrial relations policies as its electoral prospects rise, although the politics of the Qantas dispute may encourage Tony Abbott to adopt a more moderate public face. Nonetheless, NTEU needs to give absolute priority to finalising and executing a Round 6 Bargaining strategy in sufficient time to firewall our Collective Agreements and employment conditions against any adverse legislative changes or increased management hostility in the wake of a Coalition Government. The Union is well placed to do so following a long, sometimes difficult, but ultimately successful Round 5 Bargaining campaign. All Round 5 Agreements are now complete and the core mandatory settlement points have been achieved – highly competitive wage rises (an annual average increase of 4.5% within a range of 4.1% to 5.5%), the restoration of pre HEWRRs/WorkChoices employment conditions (including HECE, union rights and redundancy/termination/discipline procedures), Indigenous employment strategies and targets, general staff classifications, improved conditions and access to more secure employment for academic casuals, better job security for contract research staff and the maintenance of high superannuation and maternity leave standards. Our bargaining strategy will be set in early 2012. We will keep you posted. 3
FROM THE OFFICERS
MATTHEW MCGOWAN, NATIONAL ASSISTANT SECRETARY
ACTU campaign recognises the importance of engaging with casual staff T
he announcement from the ACTU of the ‘Secure Jobs, Better Future’ Campaign is an important step for the union movement in dealing with the difficulties faced by ordinary workers in an increasingly globalised economy. In tertiary education, casualisation is eating away at the soul of the sector, denying many talented and capable staff an opportunity to develop a career in the area of their interest. It is a symptom of a failure by many in the sector to develop medium to longterm strategies to address institutional workforce planning needs. As a part of its efforts to raise the profile of insecure work as an issue in the community, the ACTU has established The Independent Inquiry into Insecure Work in Australia to be chaired by former Deputy Prime Minister Brian Howe, with Paul Munro, a former Senior Presidential Member of the Australian Industrial Relations Commission, as deputy chair. This inquiry will provide a mechanism to investigate the causes and effects of the shift to insecure work, and allow attention to be drawn to human cost of the excessive reliance on casual labour. This campaign is important initiative from the ACTU. It represents a proactive attempt to address real problems of ordinary Australians rather than a reactive response to an agenda being developed by others. It is an issue that affects a significant and growing section of the community that includes a high proportion of young people, many of whom are currently often disengaged from unions. Some in the union movement have previously been reluctant to put significant effort into a group of people who are often not union members and are unlikely to be able to financially contribute significant amounts to any given union’s fighting funds that will be used to advance the campaign. This campaign represents recognition that the union movement has a responsibility to pursue these issues, a responsibility to the people and communities involved and a responsibility to the future of the union movement. For the people involved, this is about giving them access to security and a future. Without a living wage, it is nearly impossible to own a house, build a family and a future. They have no access to annual leave, sick leave or many other entitlements the rest of us take for granted. If they take a day off work, at best they lose a day’s pay. At worst, they lose their job and what income they had. In the university sector, sessional academic staff in particular have been the underclass that the sector has rested upon. While there is a small number who are employed casually out of choice (industry professionals, retired academics etc.), the majority are sessional staff and do so on the promise of a better job in the future. Sixty per cent of those working in academic jobs are casual and for many, that job never comes. They have little guarantee of work from semester to semester and cannot plan for the future other than to hope that the university will finally acknowledge their efforts with a full-time job. For the community, casual staff are not able to fully engage in the economy. They cannot make financial commitments and have little disposable income. Their work insecurity can cause stress and social dislocation. While not a common feature in our sector, in other industries insecure work in different forms is used as a form of tax evasion 4
and avoidance of superannuation payments. The CFMEU has estimated that sham contracting in the building industry costs the public purse at least $58m per year, and possibly as much as $2.275 billion. In our university communities, there is a lost generation of academic staff who are disillusioned with the sector at the same time as we are facing a significant turnover of staff. Recent analysis of NTEU survey data shows that as many as 50% of academic staff are planning to leave their current employment in the next 5 years; yet there have been too few real efforts to create genuine pathways into ongoing employment for many of these people. Even when bargaining to create a series of early career development fellowships in our last collective bargaining round, NTEU found many reluctant to commit to real mechanisms for developing the best of their casual labour force. The excessive levels of casualisation represent a failure of workplace planning in our universities. For unions, this campaign is a way of demonstrating our value to those who have previously have little or no contact with us. Around 25% of those in the labour force are employed casually and around 60% of these are under 35 years of age. This campaign is an opportunity for us to show them why we are important to them and their future. When many of them do end up in ongoing jobs, they will come with some recognition of the value of a union. They will have seen unions campaigning about something that matters to them and their lives at a time when it mattered to them. Too many people walk into their first job without any direct experience of a union campaign that affects them. This is as true in the NTEU as in any other union. Since 1984, casual employment as a proportion of all employment in Australia has grown from around 16% to around 25%. The Secure Jobs Better Future campaign is well overdue and an important step. NTEU can hold its head up in this campaign. We have spent significant effort in our last bargaining round improving casual pay and conditions including increases in the casual loading, requiring marking to be paid separately from other pay rates, and introducing early career development fellowships. Our real job now is to enforce these hard won conditions, and to make sure that casual staff know that we are fighting for their interests too. We will also contribute to the work of the ACTU in raising these issues in the broader community. The Independent Inquiry into Insecure Work in Australia is an important initiative, and we in the university community have a lot to contribute to it. I encourage members to consider making submission to the inquiry and to supporting the ACTU campaign more broadly. NTEU ADVOCATE vol. 18, no. 3
UPDATE NEW SOUTH WALES
Smart Casuals launch
Review of RTS
niversity of Technology, Sydney (UTS) Branch hosted a successful forum and handbook launch on 31 August for casual, sessional and fixed term staff. The forum, chaired by UTS Branch President, Dr Tony Brown, was attended by 70 members and other staff from UTS, UNSW, Sydney, Macquarie and UWS. The subject of the forum was: ‘Precarious employment in Australian higher education institutions and why it’s a Union concern’. Following this, NTEU National Assistant Secretary, Matthew McGowan, launched the Smart Casuals handbook, a publication which is customised for each university.
Precarious Employment forum The forum heard the history of bargaining for casuals and fixed term staff at UTS from Vice-President (Academic), Dr Keiko Yasukawa. Dr Yasukawa’s presentation highlighted that whilst many gains have been made over the years, such as the recent right to separate pay for marking and the inclusion of early career academic fellowships, heavy reliance by universities on precarious work remains. The Early Career Development Fellowships (ECDFs) and limits on the use of casual and fixed term work, are new tools in the Union’s fight against the use of precarious work when there is ongoing need. Following this, three casually employed NTEU members from the UTS Branch spoke to the group about their lengthy histories working as a ‘casual’, and their personal experiences of Union action being the catalyst for securing their entitlements and for improvement of casuals’ conditions. Stories were told about how Union action had resulted in the recovery for underpayment for a group of casuals on a particular program, and how NTEU members, including permanent staff, had pushed for, and won, dedicated office space for casuals in
NOVEMBER 2011 www.nteu.org.au
a particular school before this was even an official right. The testimonies and insights of these NTEU members was truly inspiring to everyone in the room. Then followed an open space for questions and comments from the floor, which was an educational experience for everyone present. Examples of what we learnt were: where casual rights were not being put into practice by UTS management (such as no dedicated working space in a particular area) and ways that casuals have made their working lives better, by building supportive relationships with other casuals and permanent staff. The resounding lesson from this discussion seemed to be that fighting against precarious employment issues was not just the responsibility of affected employees, but the responsibility of every NTEU member.
Smart Casuals handbook Matthew McGowan launched the Smart Casuals handbook and urged everyone to make use of this valuable resource. All versions of the handbook, including the UTS version, can be accessed at www.unicasual.org.au Matt described the enormous rise in casual/ sessional employment in the tertiary education sector, driven by chronic underfunding over the past 20 years. He stated that growth in casual/sessional employment has grown over 130% in the past two decades. ‘In 1991, there were 7,475 casual/sessional staff in the sector. Today there are over 17,400,’ he said. Matthew told the group that the NTEU has spent recent years negotiat-
he Minister for Industry Innovation, Science and Research, Kim Carr, announced that his Department would conduct a review of the Research Training Scheme (RTS). The review is part the Australian Government’s Research Workforce Strategy, Research Skills for an Innovative Future, which identified the factors needed to ensure that Australia has high quality research training . The first part of the review consists of a consultation paper, Defining Quality for Research Training in Australia, which raises a number of specific questions about how research training is regulated and funded in Australia. For example, it raises questions about whether research training should be linked to the outcomes of the ERA or some other measure or evidence of research training. Submissions are due by 28 November 2011. A Consultation paper c http://innovation.gov.au/Research/ResearchWorkforceIssues/Pages/default.aspx ing agreements that provide amongst other things, conversion mechanisms and ECDFs. ‘It is now time for universities to meet their obligations,’ he said. Following the event, the UTS branch has received overwhelming interest in the ECDFs, and work on this project is now underway. Thanks to the National Office and NSW Division who have provided support to the UTS Branch for our activities in this area. A Belinda Viset, UTS Branch Organiser Photo by Adam Knobel Smart Casuals c www.unicasual.org.au/smartcasuals
UPDATE NEW SOUTH WALES
NTEU publishes green universities report
Base Funding Review
he Functional Dynamics of Green Universities is a report written by John Rafferty and Carolyn O’Dwyer of CSU, with the support of the NSW Division, and published by NTEU on our Pushing the Boundaries website. The Report originated from a NSW union conference in late 2010 examining the potential contribution of workers in the education and services industries to promoting sustainability within their workplaces and their unions. The impetus for this Report came from NTEU members who wanted to unpack some
of the language around sustainability initiatives and green scorecards on campuses and develop a model for ongoing engagement. The writers issue a challenge to the Australian higher education sector to broaden and intensify its efforts for sustainability and embed these into their culture and practices. This Report will assist in informing NTEU members in their active engagement with university policies and practices on environmental sustainability, and in contributing to public discourse on achieving a just transition to a sustainable future. A Report c www.pushingtheboundaries.org.au/reports
Setting the agenda with new women’s website and journal
n September, NTEU’s women’s journal (Agenda, formerly Frontline) and the women’s website (www.nteu.org.au/ women) were relaunched. More than just a touch of botox or a little nip and tuck, both have been completely transformed with new design and improved content.
we can Do mo
2011 NTEU WoMen
femiNisaTioN iN HiGHER ED genDer aND caSU aliSatioN power, gENder & cuLtUrE oN campUs rEViEW OF eoW w ACT & agencY dOMESTic VioLENC E
Volume 19 Sept EMb
Members of the Women’s Action Committee (WAC) brainstormed a range of new names for the magazine, to better portray it as the NTEU’s women’s journal of record. Contenders included Muriel, Wrangle and Germane, with Agenda finally settled upon by a vote. NTEU National President, Jeannie Rea, says the new name should appeal to all women of the NTEU, including younger members and those new to the Union and the sector. ‘We are making a firm statement that women and gender are on the agenda and we mean to stay there – vibrant and loud!’ The new WAC logo was based on the previous rose emblem. The rose, which appeared on the original WAC banner, is derived from the slogan ‘Bread and Roses’ and its originating poem by James Oppenheim, which appealed for both fair wages and dignified conditions. The logo and the new designs for Agenda were created for us by Maryann Long of MA Plus Design (www.maplus.com.au). A Women’s website c www.nteu.org.au/women
n October 2010, Senator Chris Evans, the Minister for Tertiary Education, appointed Dr Jane Lomax-Smith, a former Minister for Education in South Australia, to chair a panel to undertake a Review of University Base Funding (BFR). As we understand it, the Review will be completed by end of October and should be released publicly before the end of 2011. The Review is part of the Government’s response (announced in Transforming Australian Higher Education in the 2009 Federal Budget) to Recommendation 28 of the Bradley Review of Australian Higher Education. The terms of reference are: • Identify international benchmarks for undergraduate and postgraduate coursework base funding levels. • Examine the cost relativities of undergraduate education for different disciplines. • Examine the cost of delivery of quality postgraduate education. • Consider options for achieving a more rational and consistent basis, which reflects both the costs and public and private benefits for funding across discipline, and • Consider the relative maximum student contribution amounts for different disciplines. The recommendations of the BFR will be extremely important as they are highly likely to form the basis of any substantial changes, not only to levels of base funding for our universities but also the composition of that funding between teaching and research across the various discipline areas. A Copies of the BFR papers and submissions c www.deewr.gov.au/HigherEducation/Policy/ BaseReview/Pages/Overview.aspx NTEU submissions and analysis (early 2012) c www.nteu.org.au/basefundingreview
NTEU ADVOCATE vol. 18, no. 3
Bargaining Round 5: it’s a wrap!
ith Agreements at the last few institutions, this round of bargaining has wrapped up at every Australian university.
University of Wollongong After years of bargaining with a hostile and intransigent management, an Academic Agreement was reached with the University, with members voting to approve the Agreement at a meeting on 4 October 2011. The Agreement substantially reinstates the restrictions on the use of fixed term employment for academic staff which were removed during the WorkChoices era. Moreover, the final salary outcome – 20.5% – is over a period of four years and one month, with the Agreement expiring in December 2013. There are also increases of around $1000 to the top step of Levels A–D. The most unfortunate aspect of bargaining at Wollongong was the fact that the Community & Public Sector Union (CPSU) succeeded in persuading general staff to accept an inferior offer which will cost each general staff member thousands of dollars over the life of their Agreement, compared to their academic colleagues.
Macquarie University Management at Macquarie has finally succumbed to the long industrial campaign by members, and agreed to terms for an academic Agreement which meet the NTEU’s core outcomes. The salary increase is 16%, plus a flat increase averaging $1,300 over four years to June 2013. This is a good outcome, especially when combined with restoration of restrictions on fixed term employment and improved conditions for casual staff, including separate pay for all marking.
General/Professional Staff Agreements at Macquarie & UNSW At UNSW and Macquarie, the NTEU strongly opposed the deals between struck between the CPSU and the managements for general staff. NTEU opposed the approval at staff ballots, and more than 2 in 5 staff voted against both Agreements. NOVEMBER 2011 www.nteu.org.au
In an attempt to protect our members, NTEU opposed the approval at Fair Work Australia (FWA), as it would clearly leave many staff worse off. Unfortunately, FWA Vice President Lawler did not agree with our analysis and approved the Agreements. An appeal by the Union against the approval to a Full Bench of FWA has also been rejected, and the NTEU decided not to pursue the matter further. The eventual outcomes achieved for academic staff, which were better on pay and conditions has vindicated the NTEU’s stand. The CPSU’s willingness to accept inferior conditions for general/professional staff has left their members far worse off.
University of the Sunshine Coast The University of the Sunshine Coast (USC) is a small university of only 600 staff. Negotiations for a new Agreement have just come to a close after more than two years of very difficult bargaining. The USC Branch endorsed the proposed settlement on 20 October. The USC management’s strategy was fairly straightforward. First, it refused every single claim. About a year after the final salary increase in the extant Agreement, it unilaterally started to pay annual salary increases of 4%. Then it very slowly and reluctantly made concessions, almost on a word-by-word basis. The management bargaining team did not include any senior management, so that nearly every concession had to be taken back to the Vice-Chancellor for his consideration. This strategy had a frustrating and debilitating effect on the Branch bargaining team, (as it was probably designed to do). The ultimate success of the USC Branch is testimony to the effectiveness of our Union’s robust and nationally coordinated approach to bargaining. The USC Branch held firm and never waivered, while the solidarity of the whole of the NTEU provided an underpinning reserve of bargaining power to ensure success in this most difficult of situations. The USC Branch deserves our congratulations and indeed, our respect, for their stoicism and resolve.
Final salaries outcome and an end to Round 5 Bargaining The average annual increase achieved across the sector in Round 5 bargaining is 4.5% on a compounded basis. This is significantly better than average outcomes achieved in the private sector (3.8%) and most of the public sector and contrasts favourably with the average economy-wide increase of 4.0%. It is also noteworthy that while outcomes for other sectors include the cost of incremental progression and promotional advancement, the average 4.5% sector wide outcome in higher education does not incorporate these additional costs (which are estimated to be worth approximately an additional 1% of salary for higher education employees). Seven universities achieved outcomes of 5% or more with Central Queensland University recording an average increase of 5.7% and the University of Canberra registering an average increase of 5.8%. DEEWR recently reported that employees covered by Agreements negotiated by unions received higher increases compared with those who are covered by ‘non-union Agreements’. In fact the ‘union wage premium’ has increased in the March quarter of 2011, with union Agreements delivering average annualised wage rises of 4% and non union Agreements providing rises of 3.5%. With the finalisation of Agreements at the University of Wollongong and USC, Round 5 bargaining round has now come to a close. The success of the bargaining round was due to the dedication and perseverance of the hundreds of Branch office bearers and NTEU members who have grappled over a period spanning two full years with a complex industrial agenda, and often in the face of considerable management hostility. A Peter Summers, Industrial Coordinator 7
UPDATE NEW SOUTH WALES
NSW legislation threatens university governance and the representation of staff and students
egislation rushed through NSW Parliament on 18 October allows NSW universities to reduce their size, and alter their composition by decreasing the representation of elected staff, students and alumni.
A motion by Greens Upper House MP John Kaye that the debate be deferred until the first sitting in 2012 was defeated, and the ALP voted with the Government to pass the legislation in the Lower House. The legislation mandates a minimum of eleven, and a maximum of 22, members on university governing bodies. Alumni representatives may only be elected if the University’s constitution allows for it. Otherwise, they will be appointed. The new legislation provides for a minimum of only one elected member of academic staff on a governing body, a minimum of one elected member of general staff and a minimum of only one elected student. Universities now have wide scope to seriously change existing arrangements, and to alter the ratio of appointees to elected representatives. There has been a three-year campaign for sweeping changes by some NSW Vice Chancellors, led by Professor Fred Hilmer, University of NSW Vice-Chancellor and Convenor of the NSW Vice-Chancellors Committee (NSWVCC). The campaign began in earnest in 2008, with the launch of the NSW Upper House Inquiry into University Governance. Under the broad Terms of Reference of the Upper House Inquiry1, a number of public submissions were made, which called for legislative change to the size and composition of university governing bodies. NTEU understands that the NSWVCC met with the NSW Minister for Education, Adrian Piccoli, and the Parliamentary Secretary for Tertiary Education and Skills, Gabrielle Upton, in May this year to discuss the Government’s proposed changes to university governance. Prof Hilmer told Campus Review on 16 June2 that he had faith that the Liberal Government would pass legislation to change the governance structure of UNSW by reducing the size of the Council and increasing positions for which persons can be selected not elected. In the article, he explained that this would 8
enable universities to select people with ‘specific skills’, would bring universities ‘into the 20th century’ and ‘would acknowledge the corporate responsibilities’ that were increasingly being vested in universities’. NTEU also understands that Prof Hilmer wrote, on behalf of the NSWVCC, to Minister Piccoli in July to support the proposed legislative changes. Former President of the UNSW Student Representative Council, Osman Faruqi, told the Sydney Morning Herald on 20 October that ‘Reforming the way governance structures work to diminish the role of elected student representatives and elected staff is a big backwards step [in terms of ] creating proper democratic and accountable university structure.’3 The NSW changes represent the widening influence of corporate, managerial models over traditional collegial governance practice. The UNESCO Recommendation concerning the Status of Higher-Education Teaching Personnel, adopted in November of 1997, states: Higher-education teaching personnel should have the right and opportunity, …
to take part in the governing bodies … while respecting the right of other sections of the academic community to participate, and they should also have the right to elect a majority of representatives to academic bodies within the higher education institution. … Collegial decision-making should encompass decisions regarding the administration and determination of policies of higher education, curricula, research, extension work, the allocation of resources and other related activities. (paras. 31, 32). Governance of NSW universities will remain at risk unless students (and their representational organisations) as well as university staff, with the support and leadership of the NTEU, campaign to defend our representational rights - campus by campus. A Susan Price, UNSW Photo: NTEU representatives lobbying at NSW Parliament House, October 2011 1. www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/Prod/parlment/committee.nsf/0/ D551F8D39039E70FCA257569000A4AD9 2. www.campusreview.com.au/blog/news/the-governor/ 3. www.smh.com.au/national/postgraduate-education/voiceswill-be-silenced-if-boards-are-cut-say-students-201110191m81d.html#ixzz1cbsdf0zI NTEU ADVOCATE vol. 18, no. 3
Legislative protection of intellectual freedom in our universities finally reached
fter many years of campaigning and lobbying, NTEU has finally achieved our goal of having intellectual freedom in higher education legislatively protected. The Higher Education Support Amendment (Demand Driven Funding System & Other Measures) Bill 2011 was passed in September 2011, and amends the Higher Education Support Act 2003 to require higher education providers to uphold free intellectual inquiry in relation to learning, teaching and research. The concept of free intellectual inquiry has always been central to NTEU policies and the need for it to be formally protected by legislation has been a long running issue. However, the matter gained some urgency when it was revealed in 2005 that the then Minister for Education, Dr Brendan Nelson, NTEU intellectual freedom advocates, used his ministerial power to Carolyn Allport (above) and George veto Australian Research CounWilliams (below). cil (ARC) recommendations for discovery grants. It was clear that although Minister Nelson’s actions were a blatant breach of academic freedom and constituted a direct attack on the independence and autonomy of the ARC’s peer review process, there was little agreement on
how best to deal with these unexpected and unwelcome intrusions. After examining international policies in countries such as Ireland, Germany and South Africa, the then NTEU President Dr Carolyn Allport and Professor George Williams (UNSW) came to the conclusion that the best way to protect freedom of intellectual inquiry in Australia was through legislation. The proposal was not without opposition at the time, with many who broadly supported the concept also fearing that attempts to define and codify academic freedom would ultimately limit its application rather than encourage
university staff and students to engage in free intellectual inquiry. However, the threat of senior university management to discipline staff for making controversial and critical comments strengthened NTEU’s view that this was the only viable way forward. The election of the Rudd Labor Government in 2007, and in particular the appointment of Senator Kim Carr as the Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research, opened the door for real progress to be made. Senator Carr demonstrated his preparedness to act when he changed the ARC funding rules to ensure that where a Minister overrode the decision of the ARC board the Minister would have to table the reasons for doing so in Parliament. Further lobbying by NTEU and Professor Williams saw legislative protection for freedom of intellectual inquiry included as part of Labor Party policy, and specifically committed a Labor Government to legislate to provide strong and effective protection for academic freedom. These amendments not only acknowledge in legislation that one of the distinctive purposes of every Australian university is to promote and protect free intellectual inquiry, but also require each university entering into a Mission Based Compact with the Commonwealth to have ‘a policy that upholds free intellectual inquiry in relation to learning, teaching and research’. It achieves NTEU’s long held ambition to legislatively enshrine intellectual freedom for all university staff and students. A Terri MacDonald, Policy & Research Officer
Better choice of words for climate scientists
n their article ‘Communicating the Science of Climate Change’ in the October 2011 issue of Physics Today, Richard C J Somerville and Susan Joy Hassol declare it is urgent that climate scientists improve the ways they convey their findings to a poorly informed and often indifferent public. This table from the article lists terms that have different meanings for scientists and the public, and suggests alternatives that better communicate their meanings. Physics Today c http://dx.doi.org/10.1063/PT.3.1296
NOVEMBER 2011 www.nteu.org.au
I’m not a Racist, but... T
he NTEU Indigenous Unit released the findings from our member and Branch surveys on cultural respect, discrimination, racism and lateral violence in the higher education sector at the 2011 National Council Meeting The report, I’m not a Racist, but..., detailed the findings from the surveys which were not surprising and for some Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people working in the higher education sector, this related issues pertaining to a lack of cultural respect, discrimination, racism and lateral violence are an everyday lived experience. A total of 172 members responded to the survey; this represents 51.0% of all NTEU Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander members (NTEU membership as at September 2011) and 16.8% of all Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander staff employed in the university sector as at 2010 .
Cultural respect, discrimination and racism Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people working in the university sector in Australia experience varying levels of racial discrimination. This includes comments based on pure ignorance regarding culture and cultural obligations, remarks made about skin colour, comments pertaining to the ‘real’ reason why Indigenous people have Academic and Professional/General staff positions in the higher education sector (e.g. filling Indigenous employment quotas); through to individual and personal racial
slurs, jokes and stereotypical observations about the culture and lifestyle of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people historically and in the present context. Whilst all Australian universities have very clear and unambiguous policy, along with public statements in which they commit to eliminate all forms of racial discrimination within their jurisdiction, it would appear that transferring public statements and policy to action on the ground requires in the immediate term, more staff education and effective procedural/enforcement arrangements to ensure this occurs. Procedural and enforcement arrangements are but one part of a wider process that will need to be undertaken if racial discrimination is to be truly eliminated in the university workplace. Education and the need to identify and challenge racism on the ground will require greater efforts not only from the institution itself, but from the individuals working in the university sector. To truly achieve this goal, universities will also need to extend this challenge from the wider staff cohort to the student cohort. While generational change will assist in achieving this goal, a clear message needs to be delivered in the lecture theatres and tutorials that racial discrimination is not acceptable in Australian society.
Lateral violence The issue of lateral violence is a somewhat new term, but one that has existed (while not officially defined) for many years in a range of oppressed and minority groups. Lateral violence has been described as: ‘the harmful and undermining practices that members of oppressed groups can engage in against each other as a result of marginalisation’. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander groups have not been immune to the occurrence of lateral violence within our workplaces and communities. Lateral violence, its effects and how it should be addressed was detailed recently in an article discussing its incidence in the Indigenous arts sector by Sam Cook; Program Director for the Dreaming Festival, in the newspaper The Tracker. Cook details the following on identifying and combating lateral violence: Firstly, I think as arts practitioners and managers we need to identify lateral violence as it occurs and has historically occurred within the sector. We need to individually be strong enough to label it as such and ultimately find a collective voice that is measured in the same level of strength to be able to speak out against it. Silence clearly doesn’t work, it just keeps lateral violence hidden and firmly embedded, constantly attacking our arts practise, creativity and expression while personally inflicting trauma on individuals and organisations. Aggregated data and specific findings from the members’ surveys indicate that lateral violence is an issue within Australia’s university sector. To ensure that universities and Institutions have the appropriate knowledge and ability to combat and tackle issues of lateral violence, a clear definition will need
NTEU ADVOCATE vol. 18, no. 3
INDIGENOUS NEWS to be developed to ensure policies and strategies can be implemented.
Summary recommendations 1. At the National level, undertake a subsequent detailed research project, possibly involving universities Australia, the ARC and other partner universities, to officially define Lateral Violence and develop strategies to tackle Lateral Violence in the workplace. 2. Lobby the Commonwealth and State/Territory Governments to examine detailed strategies and institute a public campaign to tackle racial discrimination in Australian society. 3. Lobby all universities to undertake a review of the effectiveness of current policies, in particular, procedural arrangements to tackle racial discrimination in the workplace. 4. Lobby university management to insti-
tute effective and appropriate reporting mechanisms for grievances involving racial discrimination that provide greater confidence for Academic and Professional/General staff members. Undertake an information campaign on the issue of Lateral Violence and its relationship to successful staff recruitment and retention. Encourage NTEU Branches to undertake a survey of their membership on perspectives of the effectiveness of current university policies and procedures. Where possible, ensure NTEU representation on university policy development and review committees. At those universities where a policy development, review and implementation committee does not exist, lobby university management to implement a policy committee as soon as practicable. Lobby university management to ensure a diverse membership on policy develop-
Indigenous Higher Education Review T
he Review of Indigenous Higher Education, announced in April this year, is a welcomed initiative by the Indigenous Higher Education Advisory Council (IHEAC) and the Federal Government. On 19 September, Ministers Chris Evans and Kim Carr formerly announced a call for public submissions to the Review. In calling for submissions, both Ministers Evans and Carr recognised that participation in the higher education sector by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff and students is well below acceptable levels. Minsters Evans and Carr in their joint statement detailed that â€˜higher education is central to building the capacity of Indigenous communities and facilitating the participation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the professional life of the nation.â€™ Since its inception, NTEU has advocated for greater opportunities and levels of employment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff, along with better mechanisms of support (both financial and academic) for Indigenous students at universities. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff comprise around 0.96% of all academic and general staff employed in the higher education sector and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students represent approximately 1.3% of the entire student cohort.
NOVEMBER 2011 www.nteu.org.au
ment, implementation and review committees. 10. Encourage all universities to provide detailed training for all staff, both inductive and retrospective, to ensure staff members are aware of university policies on racial discrimination and the relationship to current legislative requirements. 11. Encourage university management to develop strategies to empower university staff to challenge racial discrimination in the workplace. It is hoped that the findings and recommendations from the report will be examined by university management, with a view to amending current policy and implementing strategies that will work to eliminate discrimination, racism and lateral violence in the higher education sector. A Adam Frogley, National Indigenous Coordinator Final report and recommendations c www.nteu.org.au/indigenous
In the July 2011 edition of the Advocate, we cited 2010 Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR) data to illustrate the increasing gap in the participation of Indigenous and non-Indigenous staff and students in the higher education sector. Based on the current 2010 datasets, and on the proviso that no additional non-Indigenous staff members were employed and no additional non-Indigenous students were enrolled; there would need to be a minimum immediate increase of 1,628 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander academic and general staff employed, along with a minimum immediate increase of 16,538 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students enrolled to reach the acknowledged population parity figure of 2.5%. While it must be acknowledged there have been achievements made in increasing the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff and students in the higher education sector; the yearon-year increases in the Indigenous staff and student cohort only ensure that participation rates are maintained â€“ there is little evidence that there has been overall growth in the sector. Participation is but one aspect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander involvement in the higher education sector. There are also many concerns, including but not limited to; tenure of employment; the level of academic staff employment/retention; financial, pastoral and academic support for Indigenous students; involvement of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in research activity and cultural respect, bullying and racism in the sector. Members wishing to provide a submission are encouraged to view the Review of Higher Education Access and Outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people website. A www.deewr.gov.au/Indigenous/HigherEducation/ ReviewofIndigenousHigherEducation/Pages/default.aspx
Photo:Andrew Curtis 12
NTEU ADVOCATE vol. 18, no. 3
Setting our sights on the future of university funding D
elegates at NTEU’s 2012 National Council Meeting endorsed the theme and key messages of our public policy and funding campaign. The purpose of the campaign – ‘Invest in Australia’s Future, Invest in our Universities’ – is to increase public awareness of the significance of universities in their communities, so as to increase public pressure on the Federal Government to provide adequate funding to the sector. This campaign is prompted by the chronic and persistent underfunding of the Australian university system, as enrolments soar and staff numbers proportionally decline. As noted in the National Council report (see p. 36), the major issue for university staff is the intensification of work caused by staffing shortfalls, casualisation and unmanageable workloads. While the current federal Labor Government has restored and increased indexation, put more funds in regional universities and increased research funding, base funding is still woefully inadequate and our universities are approaching breaking point. NTEU is calling for an immediate 10 per cent increase in public funding per government-supported university student (as recommended by the Bradley Review), and a measured increase of public investment in universities to an equivalent of 1 per cent GDP, up from the current 0.7 per cent. This would put Australia on an even footing with the university systems of other industrialised economies and help us generate a more secure and sustainable economic future beyond the mining boom. Australia can’t rely on the mining boom to underpin its economic success for ever. Our future needs to be built on improved productivity. This will require substantial investment in skills, research and innovation. Australia’s universities are a vital part of this picNOVEMBER 2011 www.nteu.org.au
ture, providing research, education and training, and directly contributing to a more highly skilled and productive workforce. NTEU is arguing that investing in our universities is investing in Australia’s future.
Approaching breaking point NTEU’s core claim is that without a substantial increase in public investment, Australia’s universities will find it increasingly difficult to offer the world class teaching, research and community engagement expected of them by the Australian public. The more obvious indicators of the enormous stress facing Australia’s public universities include: • Substantial cuts in real funding per student resulting in a 60 per cent increase in student:staff ratios over the last twenty years. • An unhealthy and unsustainable financial dependence on international student fee income. • A backlog of over $1 billion in urgent maintenance and refurbishment to crumbling infrastructure, and • Unsustainable staff workloads and over-reliance on casual teaching staff. continued overpage... 13
FUNDING CAMPAIGN ...continued from previous page
Greater public investment The rationale for why increased public investment is necessary is illustrated in the chart below. This shows: • Australia’s public investment in tertiary education is well below that of other industrialised economies. • Australian students already pay amongst the highest fees in the world to attend public universities.
disadvantaged backgrounds who are already under-represented in tertiary education. While students have demonstrated through continued growing enrolments that they are prepared to take on HECS debts, Australian students are now paying higher fees than most comparable countries. The problems of re-payment, as well as fear of debt are great and a disincentive to those from lower SES backgrounds in urban and regional Australia. To read more of the rationale, argument and research that back up this campaign, go to the website and download the fact sheets.
Campaign theme and focus
The Government’s target for increased university participation rates, while laudable, will exacerbate the problems being faced by our universities if real public funding is not increased.
Students should not pay more NTEU believes that there are compelling economic and social inclusion reasons why a substantial increase in university funding should come from government, not through increased student fees. Further increases in student fees will adversely affect students from
Informed by the findings of commissioned research carried out nationally earlier this year, the campaign theme is ‘Invest in Australia’s Future, Invest in our Universities’. The campaign will roll out over the next year on a number of fronts. With multiple target audiences, it will be crafted and directed to diverse constituencies. A key campaign focus is on regional universities and their communities. Not only are regional universities more vulnerable to policy and funding shifts, such as the demand driven system, they also patently play a critical role in their communities in many ways. Simultaneously, NTEU National Office is directly advocating to the Government, and seeking cross sectoral support for the campaign. To engage other stakeholders and the broader public, events will be staged at local, state and national levels highlighting the work of universities, but also identifying the problems caused and exacerbated by funding shortfalls. Our research revealed that while there was widespread support for universities and the public funding of universities, there is generally a low level of understanding of the breadth of work in teaching, research and engagement carried out by universities and this contributes to the difficulties in focusing political attention on university funding issues. A Invest in Australia’s Future, Invest in our Universities c www.investinuniversities.org.au
s ’ t a h W
R U O YUNIVERSITY
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What is it that Universities do? What difference do they make to the lives of people and the society we live in? What are the things that get in the way of those of us who do this work? If you have a story to tell, let us help you tell it at
www.unistories.org.au Please consider uploading your story – and ask colleagues, family and friends to tell a story too!
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NTEU ADVOCATE vol. 18, no. 3
FUTURE OF HIGHER EDUCATION
Australian s e i t i s r e Univ Today w o r r o m o T and NTEU’s Future of Higher Education Conference 22-23 February 2012, University of Sydney
NTEU of leading thinkers and TEU is is organising organising a timely timely conference con- and students express relatively high levels actors on the future of the higher sector. ference of leading thinkers and education of satisfaction with their jobs and their With aon limitthe of 150future participants sessions over two days, thisuniversities will be a high continue level, intensive actors of and thesixhigher studies, our to rank and interactive conference. The format will pivot around of panel presentations, debate and education sector. highlya series in international comparisons amongst the panellists and Q&A with the audience.
graduates go on to successful careers. StuRegister your interest now by contacting Andrea Sauvarin, email email@example.com or ‘Australian Today and dents continue to enrol in PhDs and aspire phone 03 9254Universities 1910. Tomorrow’ is timely because, in 2012, to academic careers even though their job The conference information pack, including the comprehensive program and confirmed Australian universities will undergo sub-be available outcomes may only be2011. casual teaching or speakers, as well as the registration form will by early December stantial changes with the introduction short term research positions. For further information on Australian Universities Today and Tomorrow, NTEU’s Future ofHowever, of Higher the Demand System. The new latest indicates that they EducationDriven Conference, contact Paul Kniest, the NTEU Policyresearch and Research Coordinator, email are firstname.lastname@example.org regulatory environment based on quality tired of waiting. assessment under a new standards based Universities are no longer places of system will be rolled out under the ausremoteness and mystery; over one million pices of the Tertiary Education Quality and students are enrolled and over 100,000 day And Tomorrow ties, To rsithe Unive Standards Agency (TEQSA). are people work at Australian universities. The alianThese Austr most substantive changes to the funding aspiration to go to university is becoming NTEU’s Future ofcreaHighermore Educa tion Confer ence cultural and and regulation of the sector since the common across most tion of the Unified National System in 1989. socio-economic groups, even if the opportunity to do so is yet to be fully realised. Research indicates that the public think universities should work in the public interest This conference is also timely because, after and for the public good, and that universitwo decades of chronic underfunding, high ties should be publicly funded to undertake student to staff ratios, unmanageable staff research and teaching. The research also workloads, crumbling physical and systems showed that most Australians believe the infrastructures, our universities are fast cost of going to university is too high. approaching breaking point. Indicative of While most Australians hold universities the crisis, a recent research report, prepared in high regard and look to them to provide for DEEWR, predicted that half of all acasolutions to many of the technological, demics intend to leave in the next 5 years. economic and social problems of our time, Despite all these pressures universities as well as to provide an independent voice keep making their invaluable contributions on important public matters, they are often to our economic and social prosperity. Staff seen as ivory towers. Anti-intellectualism
NOVEMBER 2011 www.nteu.org.au
is still alive and well in Australian society and, as a consequence, our academics and researchers are subject to attack and vilification in an attempt to silence challenging and contrary views.
Today and Tomorrow The above commentary draws a picture of Australian universities universities today. It is a subjective account, but would find fairly strong concensus across the sector – and more broadly. There are many more issues including the development of a tertiary system including TAFE; the role for private providers; privatisation and corporatisation of public universities; and governance and management accountability. There are the international trends in student mobility and markets; and the influence of international trends in policy and practice on higher education. Then there are the basic issues around what we teach and how including the use of digital technologies. We need to do more though than look again and analyse the current scenario. This conference asks contributors and participants to focus upon the future – what will and should universities look like tomorrow? The NTEU is drawing upon the scholarly expertise of our own members and inviting leading intellectuals, commentators and decision-makers to have a say on the future of the sector. We are inviting key politicians, university leaders, local and international academics, union, industry and media advocates to speak, to participate and to share and challenge views. Organised around a series of thematic panels, speakers will be asked to reflect upon their knowledge and experience, to consider the issues of today and projecting into the future. We want to interrogate the ideological drivers, as well as political pragmatics in debate over what is happening now and what is going to shape the future. With a limit of 150 participants and six sessions over two days, this will be a high level, intensive and interactive conference. The format will pivot around a series of panel presentations, debate amongst the panellists and Q&A with the audience. A Jeannie Rea, National President For more information and registration details c www.nteu.org.au/todayandtomorrow
NTEU action keeps world class marine centre in place
Marine Centre to stay with Maritime College T
he University of Tasmania (UTAS) has withdrawn its proposal to move the National Centre for Marine Conservation and Resource Sustainability (NCMCRS) from the Australian Maritime College (AMC) to a university faculty, following an overwhelmingly negative response from AMC staff, students and management, and an active NTEU campaign against it.
A world-class facility
AMC community response
The Centre was established in January 2008 as part of the integration of the Maritime College with the University. In the three and a half years since, AMC management and staff have built a world-class research and teaching facility, attracting students from around the world. A review of the NCMCRS conducted in 2010 recommended that the Centre be moved out of AMC and merged with the newly created Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies (IMAS), based in Hobart. The Centre would remain in its present location at the Newnham campus in Launceston. But in 2011 IMAS was defined as a research and research training facility only, and would not be able to accommodate undergraduate teaching programs run by the Centre. The proposal was then changed, with the NCMCRS to move to the Faculty of Science, Engineering and Technology (SET). The proposal to move the Centre immediately triggered serious concerns about what the implications were for the future of the Maritime College itself.
The UTAS proposal was first raised verbally with NCMCRS staff and students in mid-September, but at that stage there was no formal proposal presented to them. UTAS management claimed that no decisions had yet been made. But media reports at the time revealed a leaked management document showing that decisions had been made in August to proceed with the move with an operative date of 1 January 2012. NTEU responded by organising a meeting of NCMCRS staff and producing the popular â€˜Save AMCâ€™ shark poster, which very quickly appeared in AMC workplaces up and down the Tamar River. The poster also seemed to strike a chord with management, as security guards at the Launceston campus were seen tearing the posters down almost as quickly as Union members could put them up. AMC students held several gatherings to protest against the proposal, and NTEU and the student union combined to hold a successful lunch time BBQ and rally in mid-October. Local media picked up the issue, with regular reports in the Launceston Examiner and ABC news airing the concerns being raised by staff, students and NTEU.
NTEU ADVOCATE vol. 18, no. 3
Student accommodation shortage
NTEU officers and staff spent three days talking to AMC staff on all campuses. What struck us most is the incredible passion, commitment and loyalty that staff have for the College and its unique character, the work they do, and the AMC students. All were concerned about the College’s future in light of UTAS’s plans. The overwhelming views of the whole AMC community were best summed up by the AMC student who told the ABC news that students didn’t mind one way or the other whether the UTAS logo is on their degrees, it’s the AMC logo that’s important to their employment prospects. UTAS management finally produced a formal proposal on 30 September. The NCMCRS staff’s initial response was neutral, on the basis that they didn’t have enough information to have a view, and no convincing case had been presented to them to justify the move. The University had not identified a clear role for the proposed SET school – not even a name – making it very difficult to see how it would be successful if wasn’t known what it was meant to achieve.
AMC management concerns NTEU understands that AMC’s own management didn’t agree with the changes, and had submitted an alternative proposal to retain and enhance the Centre’s work as part of the Maritime College, so far ignored by UTAS. This became evident when NTEU members called for formal consultation on the proposal as required under the Enterprise Agreement, and insisted that both UTAS and AMC management representatives be involved in any discussions. Meetings were organised and then postponed due to AMC management being ‘unavailable’, presumably to avoid the real prospect of the two managements being publicly at odds with each other.
One of the points noted in the 2010 Review was that the Centre was struggling to maintain enrolments and somehow this would improve as part of the University. However, NTEU understands that the major cause of enrolment problems is most likely to stem from the acute shortage of student accommodation in Launceston. This year there was a significant drop-off between acceptances and actual enrolments, as many prospective students come from interstate and overseas (about 50% of the total) and find it very difficult to arrange suitable accommodation in Launceston, as was recently acknowledged by the Vice-Chancellor. It was subsequently announced that UTAS will spend $77 million on building new student accommodation in Launceston and Hobart. But with construction unlikely to start until well into 2012, this will not solve the problem in the short-term, regardless of whether the Centre is part of a Faculty or the College. The change proposal had an immediate negative effect on students, with many of them concerned about the status of their existing courses, and potential students enquiring about whether they would still be able to get an AMC qualification or even if the NCMCRS courses would run at all.
Where to from here? UTAS’s withdrawal of the proposal is not necessarily final – the proposal will now be reviewed in response to the concerns raised. It’s unclear when or how this might result in any new initiative. The very real problem facing UTAS as a whole is the lack of integration of marine environmental teaching and research across the University. What is actually needed is a mechanism for enabling the different Centres, Institutes and Schools to collaborate effectively without any of them losing staff positions or research quantum. Simply moving NCMCRS into SET does not address this issue. The alternative AMC management proposal seeks to resolve the problem for the betterment of UTAS as a whole and particularly for the students and staff. The Union will strongly argue that the AMC management proposal to retain and enhance the NCMCRS be given primary consideration during the formal consultation required if a new proposal surfaces. We want to save and build the AMC, and we think the University should too. A Michael Evans, National Organiser Above: General Secretary, Grahame McCulloch addressing AMC staff at a BBQ in Launceston. Below: The ‘Save AMC’ bumper sticker produced by NTEU to replace the posters pulled down by management.
CRS. M C N e th n o k c a tt a Stop the
www.nteu.org.au/tas Authorised by Kelvin
NOVEMBER 2011 www.nteu.org.au
President NTEU Tasmanian Division
Insecure work, anxious lives ACTU launches campaign & inquiry into secure work C
hris Elenor, Chair of the NTEU’s National Academic Casuals Committee (NACC) joined other workers in precarious jobs in speaking at the launch of the ACTU ‘Secure Jobs, Better Future’ campaign at Unions NSW on 29 September 2011. The ACTU has found that in 2011 almost half of all Australian workers are engaged as casuals, on fixed term contracts, labour hire, and other forms of non-permanent employment. This is over 4 million workers. There are 2 million workers with no paid sick leave. Casualisation is a global phenomenon, but amongst OECD countries only Spain, with a high proportion of seasonal work in agriculture, outranks Australia. ACTU Secretary Jeff Lawrence, in launching the campaign, noted that for every worker that spoke out that day there were hundreds of thousands like them, but too frightened to speak out. He described precarious work as those jobs that are unpredictable and uncertain and said that these have harrowing consequences for families and society. Insecure work often means lower pay, no paid leave, no protection if injured or sick, no superannuation, usually no Collective Agreement and often no union coverage. Speakers at the launch acknowledged that insecure work suits some people, but for the majority it is something they put up with just to get a place in the workforce. The fact is that many insecure workers would prefer more secure and better quality jobs. This certainly rings true with university and TAFE staff. The ‘job for life’ is long gone in Australia, as long term jobs disappear leaving people scrapping together an income on the basis of several part time, casual and temporary jobs. There are massive numbers of ‘subcontractors’, who are really employees not on the payroll without employee entitlements. ‘Working on the ABN’ means not being able to plan a holiday with the family or commit to family activities, constantly being stressed about when and where the next job will come from, terrified of injury or illness and having to manage your own tax payment. This has been the only work experience of many younger people, now with family responsibilities. The plight of academic casuals attracted a lot of interest and sympathy as these jobs are so precarious. Other precariously employed workers were particularly surprised to learn that sessionals are not even paid for much of their preparatory, follow up and administrative work and that this is not compensated by a commensurately high contact hour rate. Mike Rafferty of the University of Sydney’s Workplace Research Centre presented findings of his research titled, Insecure work – Anxious lives. He pointed to the need to go beyond explaining increased precarious work as a creation of the global economy and finance markets but to look at what is happening in households. Rafferty argues that the employers and government have shifted the risk of employment back onto workers and their households. Sara Charlesworth of the University of South Australia spoke of her 18
research findings, that almost half of women workers are working part time and seventy per cent of part-time work is done by women. Fifty-two per cent of part-time work is casualised. So, many women are casualised permanent part-time workers. This is the gender face of precarious work; women working hard but unable to get enough hours to make a decent wage. With such high and accelerating levels of casualisation across our areas of coverage, the NTEU is committed to this ACTU campaign and is contributing to organising the campaign.
Independent inquiry into insecure work The ACTU has commissioned an independent inquiry to examine the extent of insecure work and its impact on workers, their families and the community and to provide recommendations on measures that can be taken to address any problems that are identified. The inquiry will be chaired by former Deputy Prime Minister Brian Howe and will report to the 2012 ACTU Congress. The NTEU will be making a submission to the inquiry this year, and participating in public hearings in each State in February and March next year. A Jeannie Rea, National President Photo: Jeannie Rea, Chris Elenor and Genevieve Kelly, NSW Division Secretary, at the launch of the Secure Jobs, Better Future campaign. ACTU Secure Jobs, Better Future website c www.securejobs.org.au NTEU ADVOCATE vol. 18, no. 3
Voices from working Australia E
arlier this year, the NTEU circulated the ACTU’s Working Australia Census amongst members. NTEU members were amongst the 42,000 respondents, and so contributed to making this a robust snapshot of working life in Australia in 2011, as ACTU President Ged Kearney said in releasing the survey findings, Voices From Working Australia, in September. The survey revealed very high levels of insecure work and workplace stress – and this survey was amongst union members, who are more likely to have better pay, conditions and job security. The Census results showed that for many workers, job security is a primary concern. One-in-five respondents ranked job security as one of their top three issues at work. Kearney concluded that ‘The most striking story of the workforce in Australia in the last two decades has been a massive move away from secure work.’ The Working Australia Census identified three groups of workers under particular stress.
Sandwich generation Firstly there is the ‘Sandwich Generation’. This is the group of women, aged 45-54 who care for children and elderly parents, while needing to work full-time to make ends meet. These women are hard workers, not only at home and their place of employment, but in their communities. It is their unpaid caring work that allows our welfare systems to function. But they are increasingly feeling the pressure of being pulled between responsibilities. • One in six has two or more jobs, often with casual hours that they must fit around their other commitments. • Almost half were dissatisfied with their workload and their work/life balance. • Forty-four per cent did not feel comfortable taking time off to attend to caring responsibilities, and nine out of 10 had gone to work while sick, or when someone they cared for was sick. • One in two was finding it difficult to get by on their current household income. Kearney commented, ‘Not only do we continue to expect women to take on the lion’s share of caring responsibilities, but increased workforce participation has added to their load.’
NOVEMBER 2011 www.nteu.org.au
Forgotten blokes The second group identified was the ‘Forgotten Blokes’: a group of men on the edge of the labour market. These are men aged 45-64, who are looking for work. They generally have a qualification, but are no longer able to find regular, permanent employment. Often the industry where they started their working life has disappeared. The reasons they gave for not finding work were: • Fifty-two per cent said employers thought they were too old. • A quarter said because there were too many applicants for the available jobs. • One in ten did not have the required education, training or skills. Both these groups present challenges to workforce participation. For ‘Sandwich generation’ women, it is about finding the right balance between a secure income and their family life; for these men, it is about ensuring they are not left behind by industry changes, and making skills and training something that happens continually, so that a secure and fulfilling job remains an option as they hit middle-age.
Insecure youth A third group identified was ‘Insecure Youth’. These Generation Y workers are in low paid, insecure jobs. They are financially independent from their parents, but unable to move onto forming their own families. More than 1 in 3 of them were in insecure work, and nearly 40% wanted more paid hours. They talked of experiencing significant financial stress, and have concerns about wages, cost of living and especially housing affordability. Full speech c www.actu.org.au/Media/Speechesandopinion/ GedKearneyaddresstoNationalPressClubVoicesfromWorkingAustralia.aspx
Student Demand Driven Funding
Beware the slap from the invisible hand O
n 14 September 2011, the Senate passed the Higher Education Support Amendment (Demand Driven Funding System and Other Measures) Bill 2011. The Bill provides the legislative basis for the introduction of the student demand driven funding for undergraduate places at Australia’s public universities. From 2012 the Commonwealth will no longer allocate a specified number of Commonwealth supported student places in different discipline clusters to each university, but guarantees every eligible domestic student who successfully gains entry into an undergraduate course at an Australian public university a government supported (HECS-HELP) place.
Bradley Review recommendations The introduction of student demand driven funding is a response to a recommendation of the Review of Australian Higher Education (the Bradley Review). Like the carbon pollution reduction policy, it is reflective of the Government’s strong commitment to the use of market design principles for public policy, which exploit Adam Smith’s notion of the invisible hand of self-interest to align the demand and supply for scarce and publicly controlled resources. In its final report, the Bradley Review concluded that a demand driven funding model was necessary if Australia was to achieve participation rates in higher education 20
which were in line with comparable OECD countries. In recent years, one of the more enduring issues for the Australian higher education sector has been the high number of eligible applicants who have failed to gain entry into an Australian university. According to the latest ‘offers and acceptances’ data published by the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR), since 2001 between 12,000 and 37,000 eligible applicants have missed out on a place. The demand driven system would eliminate this unmet demand entirely and thereby achieve a better match between student demand and available places. The Bradley Review also argued that if underpinned by good information and a strong quality assurance mechanism, greater competition between universities would
result in a better quality student experience and more diversity between higher education providers as students seek to study at a university which provides them with the best quality education in their preferred field. It was envisaged that universities could also concentrate upon and develop market niches in those areas of study where students believed they have a competitive advantage.
Potential problems The Bradley Review also recognised that there would be a number of legitimate concerns around the introduction of a student demand driven funding system. The Government has overcome the potential funding problems associated with an open ended demand model by providing for the Minister NTEU ADVOCATE vol. 18, no. 3
FUNDING to be able to specify an upper limit for total funding for undergraduate courses of study. The legislation explicitly recognises that there may be circumstances in which the Government may need to limit the growth in expenditure for government supported undergraduate places. The establishment of the new standards based regulatory framework for tertiary education, under the auspices of the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA), is no doubt partially in response to the concerns about a potential decline in the academic merit of students gaining entry to universities in an uncapped demand driven funding system. The Union supports a stronger regulatory framework, but argues that this should not undermine the institutional autonomy of our universities. The Bradley Review also reflected on the difficultly that a demand driven system may have in overcoming a mismatch between student course demand and the requirements of the workforce. That is, will the consumer (student) always correctly choose courses of study which will be in demand when they graduate? The Bradley Review panel concluded that, if armed with the necessary information, students were as likely (or unlikely) to get the match between future demand and supply of skills as accurate as a committee of Commonwealth or university bureaucrats. In recognition that market principles would not always balance, it was noted that the Commonwealth would still be required to purchase or continue to fund a certain number of designated places in skills or disciplines considered critical for the nation but unpopular amongst students, such as mathematics, science and some modern languages. The Bradley Review recognised that a market demand driven model had the potential for sudden changes in the level of student demand for some universities or
Since 1958, the Australian Universities’ Review has been encouraging debate and discussion about issues in higher education and its contribution to Australian public life. AUR is listed on the DEEWR register of refereed journals.
NOVEMBER 2011 www.nteu.org.au
campuses as a consequence of other universities being able to significantly increase their enrolments. In other words, the panel anticipated increased competition between universities, when it said: ...a demand-driven system could see a shift of students and funding toward those institutions that wish to grow and that can attract increased numbers of students. (Section 4.2) And more importantly from the NTEU’s point of view: This is precisely what is intended: to allow funding to shift between institutions in response to student demand and to create a system in which each institution’s funding is determined dynamically by the quality of its performance rather than by an historicallybased system of centrally-planned student load allocations. (Section 4.2)
Our concerns & recommendations NTEU believes that data on over-enrolments in 2011 provides very strong evidence of the impact of the dynamics of the demand driven system as universities begin to position themselves for it’s introduction next year. According to data published in The Australian in July, 27 out of 37 universities had over-enrolments in excess of 10% of their allocated load and nine had over-enrolments of more than 20%. This shows that universities are prepared to be highly aggressive in competing for new students, and while this is acceptable in a growing market (everyone’s a winner), this level of growth will quickly subside, resulting in both winners and losers. This situation may become a reality sooner than anticipated especially if some universities see increasing domestic student numbers as a solution to declining or softening international student demand. There is one very important concern about the introduction of the demand driven vol. 53,
no. 2, 201 1 ISSN 0818–8
Published by NTEU
Australia n Unive rsities’Re view
system which was not directly acknowledged by the Bradley Review. In our submission to the review, NTEU acknowledged that universities required greater flexibility in the allocation of student places in order to be able to respond to the rapid, and often unpredictable changes, in student demand, not only in aggregate terms in response to changing employment opportunities, but also to changes in preferences by the field of study. This flexibility however, needs to be underpinned by some degree of certainty to give universities the lead times necessary to undertake the required planning for their future infrastructure and staffing needs. NTEU’s view was that the appropriate balance between flexibility and certainty could be achieved by giving universities a band or envelope of places, which would ensure each university a guaranteed minimum number of places by broad field of study. We are concerned that the introduction of the demand driven funding system will undermine the certainty and confidence that universities need to make these important decisions. We are greatly concerned that universities will manage this uncertainity by increased use of casual staff, which will not only make our universities less attractive places to work, but will ultimately threaten their capacity to sustain the high quality of education and research for which they are internationally renowned. Inevitably, the dynamics of competition from the introduction of student demand driven system will result in some universities doing very well in recruiting and retaining students and others struggling to maintain their existing student loads. The Government cannot claim that this is an unintended consequence of its policy, but accept that it is an undesired outcome, and for NTEU members a controversial one. A Paul Kniest, Policy & Research Coordinator
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The Inaugural NTEU Lecture
Ian Chubb speaks on the value of science, universities and academic expression C
hief Scientist of Australia, Professor Ian Chubb presented the NTEU’s Inaugural Annual Lecture at the University of Melbourne on 6 October 2011. Co-hosted with the University, the lecture was attended by over 130 people. Many NTEU National Council delegates came to hear the Chief Scientist, along with university staff and students, invited guests of the NTEU and University of Melbourne and members of the public. Fittingly, Professor Chubb chose to speak on the value of science. He framed his comments within the context of the need for academics to contribute to public debate in their area of expertise, the importance of intellectual freedom and the contribution of public institutions to the common good. Noting that the value of science, of universities and of academic expression has been long recognised, Professor Chubb argued that 22
it would be reasonable to have expected that these values were uncontroversial. However, he stated that, ‘Matters which cut to the core of science and which form the very basis of science and of an informed, progressive and enlightened society are apparently under siege.’ ‘Instead of moving on and discussing things that matter today, and will matter tomorrow, we are caught up fighting a rear guard action against those who seek to question and tear down the very ideals, NTEU ADVOCATE vol. 18, no. 3
The NTEU Lecture the values, the principles and the practices of science. And none of us can be complacent.’ ‘All science risks damage when some science is attacked. .... And the scientists are under attack because they get the results that their experiments or observations yield and then report things that others don’t want to hear.’ Professor Chubb railed against the conspiracy theorists, who he said would have us ‘believe that climate scientists whose work supports the evidence that human activity is contributing to climate change are cheats and frauds and worse. Not just the odd one here and there, but the very many around the world.’ Rather than just lament the cry of conspiracy back to those attacking science and the associated values and institutions, Professor Chubb argued that scientists, researchers and scholars must ‘accept that part of the decline in trust is our fault.’ ‘If science is not properly valued, then part of the problem is that we have not been vigorous or vociferous enough in our protection of it or perhaps more importantly, our communication of it. We need to be advocates.’ In response to the sceptics who argue that scientists and scholars are just protecting their own, he commented, ‘I believe that the very process of science will weed out any falsehoods and any manipulated data and expose those few who engage in such activity. It is in the interests of all scientists for this to happen and it does. History reveals some celebrated cases where an individual’s ambition or obsession got the better of them and meticulous independent work exposed them. Scientists by nature are inherently sceptical and take little at face value.’ Professor Chubb argued that the task for scientists in communicating challenging and uncomfortable findings and theories is not new, but is imperative and the responsibility of scientists, and indeed all scholars and researchers: ‘... scientists will have to deal with the exposure that working on these ever more complex problems will entail. Their very complexity makes them difficult, hard to resolve, hard to articulate and hard to get proposed actions adopted. And the responses to complex challenges will not pass uncontested.’
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‘In an environment where we are asked to take action in the face of imperfect knowledge it is perhaps not surprising that some science is coming under renewed attack. It has happened before and doubtless will happen again. We saw it with tobacco, initially with the hole in the ozone layer and we see it with climate science.’ ‘I suspect,’ said Professor Chubb, ‘that if Copernicus, Galileo or Darwin were with us tonight they would attest to the fact that putting forward ideas that challenge the dominant paradigm will have some pretty serious consequences.’ He concluded by speaking of the key role of universities in research, research training and nurturing and encouraging young people to take on exciting and challenging careers in research and scholarship. ‘Support for our great public institutions delivers benefits to our social, cultural, intellectual and political capital – and our economic development. Without such institutions and without deep intellectual inquiry that challenges us to shape our community or to reflect upon the shape we want it to be, we risk declining into a vacuum where pure economics and individualism are our only values.’ ‘Our universities have unquestionably served us well. They will continue to do so if we let them do what they are good at. In turn they must earn the right rather than presume the right.’ At the beginning of his address, Professor Chubb congratulated the NTEU on the initiative of founding an annual lecture noting that this provides a regular opportunity to give serious reflection and commentary on critical issues facing the sector and Australian society. Further, he added, accepting the invitation to deliver the lecture is also a serious commitment by the invited speaker. We are indebted to Professor Chubb for presenting the first NTEU Annual Lecture and setting a high benchmark of expectation for future lecturers to address thoughtfully and provocatively salient issues of our times. The inaugural NTEU Lecture provided a stirring example of how intellectuals can and must engage in informed public commentary. Our challenge now is to organise the second NTEU Lecture in another State with an equally esteemed speaker and co-host in 2012. A Jeannie Rea, National President Photos: Paul Clifton NTEU Lecture c www.nteu.org.au/lecture
Lindsay Tanner at National Council
Social divisions now driven by education, not income T
he structural divisions in contemporary Australian society are now driven more by education levels than income, according to former ALP Finance Minister Lindsay Tanner, in his speech to National Council Meeting about why universities lack political clout. Finance Minister in the Rudd and Gillard Governments between 2007 and 2010, Tanner said that the underlying drivers of political behaviour in Australia are the differences in education levels. He characterised his views using the example of One Nation and the Greens – supporters of One Nation were mainly poorly educated, while Greens supporters were generally more highly educated. These divisions are a big problem for universities because ‘a very substantial proportion of Australians feel at best ambivalent about education and many people have quite a chip on their shoulder about it’. Tanner, now an adjunct professor and Vice-Chancellor’s Fellow at Victoria University, said that Australian politicians generally pander to this anti-intellectualism, as typified by the rise of the cult of ‘tradies’ and the enshrinement of ‘Howard’s battlers’. This is defining who and what matters, partly by excluding a whole set of people, ‘and guess what, you guys are right in the centre of that set of excluded people’. This creates a huge impediment in finding ‘clear air’ to have a meaningful dialogue about the importance of higher education for Australia’s economic and cultural future. Tanner contrasted the situation in Europe, where it’s common for parliamentarians to come out of academia, with Australia, where it’s a ‘disadvantage for an academic to stand for Parliament’. And Australia is not that interested in planning for the future – we’re good in a crisis, he said, but when the crisis is over, we all go to the beach. So how should higher education respond to these circumstances? Tanner does not put much value in using logic, as there are strong political forces acting against it. Nor does he see much use in seeking to mobilise self-interest – most people tend to have transient levels of passion about education, that flourishes only during their brief time in the system. Tanner said that the sad reality is that a large proportion of the population doesn’t think like us, but they all have equal voting power. 24
Tanner suggested that the way forward is to emphasise the broader spin-offs of higher education – increased levels of opportunity and wealth, and the positive benefits for economic growth. This should be done in a context of the ‘promotion of learning’, rather than a focus on universities. He said that the divisions between higher education and TAFE should be bridged: ‘that divide is an antiquated relic of a distant past and it is lingering well beyond its use-by date.’ And rather than having a scattergun approach to lobbying MPs, we should look for a small number of individual ‘champions’ to push higher education’s cause – someone like Andrew Leigh, the Member for Fraser in the ACT and a former economics professor at ANU, who recognises the importance of higher education and might be willing to take up the cause. Tanner also suggested looking for champions outside the sector that are not the usual suspects, who may appeal to a broader constituency – he used the example of Collingwood Football Club captain Nick Maxwell, who has appeared in a television advertisement promoting the University of Ballarat. He said that it was difficult to grapple with all these issues in what is a rapidly changing environment, which is constantly throwing up different challenges. One of the biggest challenges being the implications of e-learning, driven by rapidly developing technology, which he predicted would bring dramatic changes to higher education. A Michael Evans, National Organiser Photo Paul Clifton NTEU ADVOCATE vol. 18, no. 3
Worst effects of voluntary student unionism overturned A
fter three years of highly charged and sometimes acrimonious debate, the Higher Education Legislation Amendment (Student Services and Amenities) Bill 2010 finally passed through the Senate in early October 2011.
The Act amends the Higher Education Support Act 2003 to allow higher education institutions to charge a compulsory Student Services and Amenities Fee (SSAF) to enrolled students, which may then be used in the provision of non-academic services and amenities. It represents the Government’s commitment to calls from students, universities, unions and sector groups to overturn the Coalition’s Voluntary Student Unionism (VSU) legislation, which effectively prohibited the charging of compulsory fees for non-academic services and reduced funding to the sector by approximately $92m per annum. While the SSAF was originally capped at $250 per student p.a., the Bill allows for annual indexation and thus in 2012 the SSAF will be capped at $263. Universities may charge less and at different rates for part time and off campus students at their discretion. Students may choose to either pay the fee upfront or (for HECS students) defer repayment through the HECS system. The SSAF will be paid directly to universities who are required to use it for the provision of non-academic welfare, advocacy and general student orientated services. It cannot be used to support a political party or the election of a person as a member of parliament. While it is permitted that either all or part of the SSAF may be passed on to third party (such as a student organisation) it is not a requirement to do so. Furthermore, institutions are permitted to retain a percentage of SSAF for administrative and processing costs. Clearly, this arrangement will not guarantee student control over student funds and NOVEMBER 2011 www.nteu.org.au
therefore does not fully reverse the effects of the Coalition’s anti-student union legislation. However, it is underpinned by the Student Services, Amenities, Representation and Advocacy Guidelines, which specify the provision of information and access to basic student
support services of a non-academic nature that universities will be required to meet. The Guidelines are separate to the SSAF and all higher education providers that receive funding for student places under the Commonwealth Grant Scheme (CGS) must comply with the new Guidelines from 2012 onward, regardless of whether they charge the SSAF or not. SSAF funds may be used towards services and amenities required by the Guidelines. In addition to broadly detailing the nature of the non-academic services that universities are required to provide, the Guidelines also require institution to have a formal process of consultation with democratically elected student representatives (including any international and postgraduate student
bodies) on how the proceeds from any services and amenities fees are to be spent. Consultation must include: • Publishing identified priorities for proposed fee expenditure and allowing opportunities for comment by students and student organisations, and • Meeting with democratically elected student representatives and student organisations at the higher education provider to consider where the fee revenue can be spent. How the SSAF is spent and who controls expenditure will vary from university to university. According to the National Union of Students (NUS), there are already considerable differences in how the SSAF will be controlled across the sector. While some institutions have signalled that they are willing to directly hand over all of the SSAF funds to their student organisations, others have indicated that they will only pass on a portion of the SSAF, or that conditions will need to be met before any part of the fee will be given to the student organisation. It is also likely that a few institutions that do not have functioning student organisations may try to keep the fee completely and simply establish student advisory bodies. NUS has indicated that it will be monitoring the expenditure of SSAF funds and the impact of arrangements at each campus. It should also be noted that the new regulator, the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA) will be charged with monitoring the compliance of universities with the new SSAF Guidelines. A Terri MacDonald, Policy & Research Officer Photo: Anti-VSU protest at University of Adelaide, 2005. 25
Scientists take the high ground Science Meets Parliament 2011
Dr Cameron Willis University of Adelaide
he 12th annual Science Meets Parliament (SmP) was held in Canberra in June, hosted by Science and Technology Australia (STA)*. SmP has grown over the past decade to now welcoming more than 150 scientists from across diverse disciplinary backgrounds and from all corners of Australia. SmP brings scientists and researchers face to face with the political process, providing delegates with unique insights into the relationship between research and government. In doing so, delegates are given the opportunity to explore how, where and why, scientists may best engage with the policy making process. Over the course of SmP 2011, delegates heard from key players in the political arena, including MPs, senators, print and visual media political correspondents, senior public service figures, as well as those actively engaged in bringing science to the public. Sessions were lively and interactive, with highlights including the Gala Reception address by former Premier of Victoria, John Brumby, and the National Press Club address by Professor Ian Chubb, Chief Scientist of Australia. SmP 2011 demonstrated the challenges facing Australia’s scientists and researchers in translating often complex evidence into policy and practice. With Australia’s public increasingly turning to the scientific community for guidance on complex issues such as climate change, fuel cell technologies and sustainable energy solutions, the need for clear, accessible and relevant evidence has never been greater. Within the policy cycle, delegates were informed of various input points at which the results of their research could make valuable contributions. In direct meetings with elected 26
members, their advisors or senior members of staff, delegates were encouraged to ensure the discussion points they intended to make were clear, concise and easily interpreted. Meetings with parliamentarians are often short and routinely interrupted, demanding that scientists keep on topic and engage their audience from the outset. To do so, speakers at SmP 2011 highlighted the importance of careful preparation, recommending rehearsing with peers and perhaps even family members. As part of this preparation, delegates were encouraged to tailor their presentation and messages to reflect an understanding of the views and interests of specific politicians or advisors. Now more than ever, the value of science must be made clear to local communities, electorates and specific population groups. Print and visual media, along with emerging media forms, continue to provide powerful outlets for communicating scientific findings to the general public. All journalists at SmP 2011 highlighted the value of brevity and clarity in conveying scientific messages. For commercial television and radio news stories that now routinely run 45 second pieces, the pressure on scientists to provide a six second ‘grab line’ is clear. In print media, these same messages need to be made, and made clearly, in the first one to two sentences. These are difficult challenges, and delegates were given the opportunity to
hone their skills through a one-minute presentation competition- where they showed that scientists are certainly up to the task. Journalists also highlighted the value of building relationships between the media and scientific communities, and suggested that more active approaches to media releases such as direct emails to journalists rather than passive postings on University websites may have greater impact upon the likelihood of generating media interest. Above all, researchers at SmP 2011 were encouraged to bring their passion and enthusiasm to their discussions with parliamentarians, the media and the public. SmP 2011 is unique on the research community’s calendar. STA should be commended on assembling a series of high quality speakers, engaging topics and constructive exercises. As meeting times with busy parliamentarians are difficult to come by, this forum should be considered not only a valuable learning opportunity, but a powerful medium for scientists to directly engage politicians in constructive, considered and timely issues facing science and research. A Dr Cameron Willis is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of Adelaide. Cameron represented NTEU at SmP 2011 with Dr Kelvin Michael (National Executive) & National President Jeannie Rea. Photo: SmP reception in the Great Hall at Parliament House. Courtesy of Lorna Sim/Science & Technology Australia. *Formerly the Federation of Science and Technology Societies (FASTS), STA organises SmP with the ongoing support from science, research and higher education agencies, including the NTEU, DIISR, CSIRO and ANSTO.
Science & Technology Australia c www.sta.org.au
NTEU ADVOCATE vol. 18, no. 3
There is no such thing as bad publicity
vol. 53, no.
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ISSN 0818–80 68
Australian Universitie s’Review
(except your own obituary)
Ian Dobson Editor Australian Universities’ Review
he words above are attributed to Irish dramatist Brendan Behan (1923–1964, ‘...a drinker with a writing problem’). Is it reasonable to presume that publicity is also a good thing for a scholarly journal and the papers published within its covers? The answer is a definite ‘yes’, and it is unlikely that the publicity would be ‘bad publicity’. Some scholarly writing has limited impact on people outside the specific discipline: outsiders might not understand the subject matter at hand. This applies to most journals, in fact. However, this rule is less relevant for higher education policy and practice journals such as Australian Universities’ Review (AUR). Higher education writing is more likely to be publicised because there are supplements, stand-alone papers and websites that focus specifically on higher education. Ones that spring to mind are The Australian’s Higher Education Supplement, Campus Review Weekly, and online media, such as University World News and The Funneled Web. Other outlets such as The Age/Sydney Morning Herald and the Herald Sun (Melbourne) also publish a limited amount of higher education material, but not in the systematic manner of The Australian. However, there is more to a paper being publicised in the media than merely publishing it. First, the media need to know a paper has been published. The best way to ensure this is to tell them. I do this just before every issue of AUR, and over time it is possible to build up a relationship with some journalists. Second, the journalists or editors need to see a ‘story’ in the published article, and something with which they can interest the reading public. Third, the journalist needs to have enough space to write a media piece about the published article. It is always helpful if a journal is published in an otherwise ‘low news’ week. Even in a journal such as AUR, not everything we publish will have instant media attraction, but some papers do. Papers on international students seem to have more attraction to journalists than others, and papers about the transition from school to university are also very popular. Papers on both topics are guaranteed publicity at some level. Both these topics are of interest to a readership wider than people that work in post-secondary education, explaining why they are conNOVEMBER 2011 www.nteu.org.au
sidered to be ‘more newsworthy’ than others. Within higher education circles, papers on workloads and staff terms and conditions also find themselves publicised in the media. Another aspect that can lead to publicity is based on how wellknown an author is. Papers by controversial authors such as Bob Birrell, or acknowledged higher education spokespeople such as Simon Marginson and Ross Williams also attract journalistic attention. Looking briefly at the last few years’ offerings from AUR, internationalrelated papers by Paul Rodan (2008, 2009), Bob Birrell and Fred Smith (2010) and Alison Owens (2011) received considerable coverage. Katie Dunworth’s paper on English language proficiency (2010) also got a run. Schools and access to university papers by Georgina Tsolidis (2009) and Daniel Edwards (2009) were ‘of interest to the press’. AUR, as the scholarly publishing organ of the NTEU, is an excellent place for papers on staffing issues; Harkness and Schier (2011), Lazarsfeld-Jensen and Morgan (2009) and Dobson (2009) all had media coverage. Sometimes journal articles will stimulate local media interest. An example that caught the eye of the Sydney press is Tim Anderson’s paper (2010) that questioned the academic independence of the University of Sydney’s US Studies Centre. Perhaps AUR’s media ‘stars’ over recent years have been first, Jeff Goldsworthy’s 2008 paper on ‘research grant mania’. This was probably the first time any Australian academic had suggested in a scholarly journal that academics in some disciplines don’t need to, or don’t want to, apply for competitive research grants, but are cajoled into doing so by their status-conscious deans and DVCs (research). Second, there was the paper from earlier this year on ERA journal ranking by Cooper and Poletti (2011). Their paper received standard journalistic coverage, followed by a broadsheet opinion piece by Ann Poletti, and extensive coverage in the electronic media. Readers will not have forgotten that the ERA journal ranking was an unscientific and opaque ‘system’ for ranking journals, and it received a lot of media coverage and opposition from all except the universities themselves (‘best not rock the boat!’). In the end, Minister Carr announced that the scheme would be scrapped. This result was perhaps a good example of how sustained pressure via the media – and unions like the NTEU – can lead to ministerial mind changing. There is definitely no such thing as bad publicity, and it is likely that more authors will submit their work to journals that are ‘known’ by the media (especially following the demise of ERA journal ranking). Another positive outcome. Please consider writing for AUR; we want the publicity! A Australian Universities’ Review c www.aur.org.au 27
General Staff Working Party Interim results of national survey T
he NTEU’s General Staff Working Party (GSWP) recently conducted a national survey of all general/professional staff, both members and non-members. A total of 8,119 people responded, of which 6,748 completed the survey, a completion rate of 83 per cent. The Working Party would like to thank all those who took the time to participate. The data appears to be consistent with known sectoral characteristics across a range of parameters such as classification level and age, and covers a broad range of institutions, indicating that it is a good representative sample. Although the survey has only recently been completed, and it has not yet been possible to complete the analysis of the data, some key trends have emerged. • Most general staff feel that their job is a part of a career (67.8 per cent) but only 31 per cent believe that there is a meaningful career path available to them at their current university. • When asked what was the most likely way that they could move to a higher level job at their institution 71 per cent either could not see another job opportunity or expected that they will have to leave their work area to pursue advancement. • Few general staff are accessing reclassification in their current position (24.7 per cent) but they tend to be successful when they do (76.1 per cent). • There is overwhelming support amongst general staff for work value remaining the primary determinant of remuneration (89 per cent believe that pay levels should be based on the skills required to do the job). • There is considerable mistrust of management (only 28.1 per cent trust management to fairly decide their classification and pay level). • Six per cent currently receive a performance bonus and only 3.6 per cent receive market loadings. • There is strong commitment to the industry with 66.8 per cent seeing themselves continuing to be employed within the sector in two years time and only 9.8 per cent indicating that they will have left universities for jobs in another sector. When linked with the observation that slightly over half have applied for a higher level job in a university in the past 5 years, this is good evidence for a strong internal labour market operating in universities.
• Union members who generally tend to have a longer employment history are less likely to trust management to fairly decide their classification and pay levels than non-union members (1 in 3 nonmembers trust management, whereas only 1 in 5 union members do so). • School and Faculty administration is a strongly feminised area of work with 85.3 per cent of respondents who identified as working in this area being women, whereas IT and management continue to be male dominated areas. • Many general staff are regularly working additional hours with only 1 in 3 receiving remuneration for that work. Overall the survey tells us a great deal about general staff, our experiences within our institutions with regard to classification, pay and working conditions, and our attitudes to the issues examined. The data will be able to tell us whether there is a difference in attitude between union members and non-members, between staff at different institutions and institutional types, between genders and between occupational groupings. This data will also allow us to better communicate with members on career issues, as well as provide us with the potential to tailor solutions to the needs of particular groups. Watch out for further details of the survey and the Union’s responses, in future editions of the Advocate. A Gabe Gooding, National Vice-President (General Staff) Derek Corrigan, National Executive Photo Jane Maze
NTEU ADVOCATE vol. 18, no. 3
UTAS Uganda project seeks microscopes & dollars T
he International Society for Student Unity and Empowerment (ISSUE) is a recently formed foundation created and run by University of Tasmania (UTAS) medical students. In November 2010, the four founding members of ISSUE spent several weeks in Uganda undertaking rural health projects and forming partnerships with local charity and student groups. The initial venture was considered to be a success, and consequently, a continuation was desired both by the partnerships in Uganda and the founders in Tasmania. In December 2011, the goal of ISSUE’s Alice McGushin, Breeanna Cumming, Joann Pinto, Katie Daw and Yoni Byron is to make an initial assessment of last year’s project and, with the Anaweza Foundation, undertake an initiative for health education and prevention of diseases. We aim to target specific populations that suffer from disproportionate health morbidity and mortality. One identified need is a reliable and sustainable measure of diagnosis for malaria infections in rural areas. There are at least 11 health clinics that were identified to be in need of such measures. In these centres, malaria is currently diagnosed clinically according to the unique temperature patterns of patients with this infection. This method of diagnosis has low rates of specificity, but in order to avoid the severe consequences of untreated malaria, most presentations are given anti-malarial medication. This leads to depletion of the limited drug reservoir and causes emergence of resistant strains. Provision of microscopes would greatly improve the health services offered by these clinics and consequently the health of the community. ISSUE has arranged various fundraising events and suggested that UTAS might wish to make a donation of unused microscopes, if available and feasible. ISSUE is also requesting donations from NTEU members that would be specifically used for purchasing diagnostic equipment and financing methods of prevention of future infections, such as distribution of Insecticide Treated Nets (ITN) as recommended NOVEMBER 2011 www.nteu.org.au
by the WHO, as well as diagnostic tools like microscopes from local distributors in Uganda. The cost of an ITN is equivalent to $6, and a single microscope purchased in Kampala at approximately $600. The entirety of donations will be used for financing medical measures, as all personal expenses are paid from the students’ own money. For further information please visit the ISSUE website (see below) or email Yoni Byron firstname.lastname@example.org. Donations can be made via direct deposit to ‘The ISSUE Foundation’, BSB: 017042, Account no. 183392384. (Please include an email to Yoni with details of the donation made as this account is used for multiple projects.) A ISSUE website c theissuefoundation.org Photos © ISSUE Foundation 29
Education International 6th World Congress
Building the Future through Quality Education T
he theme of the 6th World Congress of Education International (EI) was ‘Building the Future through Quality Education’. Held in Cape Town, South Africa, from 19–26 July 2011, the Congress was a very large event with approximately 2,000 participants, eight languages in simultaneous translation and a huge agenda of business. NTEU had a five person delegation comprising National President Jeannie Rea, General Secretary Grahame McCulloch, Vice President (General Staff ) Gabe Gooding, VicePresident (Academic) Greg McCarthy and Chair of the Indigenous Policy Committee (IPC) Jillian Miller. EI is the global union federation of organisations that represent over 30 million teachers and other education workers, through 402 member organisations in 173 countries and territories. It is the world’s largest global union federation (GUF) and is also the world’s largest non-government organisation (NGO). The World Congress, held every four years, is the supreme governing body of EI and provides an opportunity for representatives of all EI affiliates to meet and consider the issues and actions needed to strengthen the international education trade union movement, and the ongoing struggle to achieve quality public education for all.
Australian and NTEU contribution Australia is represented at EI by the three affiliated unions, the NTEU, the Australian Education Union (AEU) and the Independent Education Union (IEU). Australia, whilst a small country in population makes a significant contribution to EI and this is recognised with the AEU Federal Secretary being re-elected as EI President unopposed, and NTEU General Secretary 30
Grahame McCulloch re-elected to an Open Seat on the Executive Board, finishing third in a field of 13 contesting nine positions. Indicative of influence, Australian women education unionists have played a strong
HE in EI
role in the women’s caucuses and regional networks of EI and this was followed through at the Congress. We highlighted the need for continued vigilance rather than complacency by unions, like ours, which have an impressive record on internal gender equity and empowerment of women as well as outstanding industrial and political achievements. We also reiterated our responsibility in supporting women and gender equity in developing unions in developing countries.
in founding and developing the HE caucus identifying HE industrial and professional issues across academic and general HE workers, and leading substantive international interventions on higher education at the OECD and UNESCO. Not surprisingly, the concerns of school teachers dominate in EI, but through the efforts of NTEU and other HE unions and HE sections of teachers’ unions, there is a very clear understanding and stamp of the HE perspective throughout EI policy and platforms for action.
Grahame McCulloch chaired the full day higher education (HE) caucus. Since the formation of EI, NTEU has played a leading role
NTEU ADVOCATE vol. 18, no. 3
INTERNATIONAL EI World Congress in 1995 and chaired the first Indigenous caucus, so her intervention carried gravitas and was picked up as such by the EI General Secretary. Aligning with NTEU policy on action on climate change, Grahame McCulloch composed and moved the Executive Board sponsored motion on education unions mobilising on climate change.
Education Policy Paper
Jeannie Rea and Greg McCarthy continued making this alignment and inclusion through speaking to the comprehensive EI Education Policy Paper on the role of universities in teacher education and education research, and in economic, scientific, environmental and social development. In responding to the EI General Secretary’s report, NTEU welcomed EI’s international campaign around academic freedom and explained the recent decision of the Australian Government to include protection of academic freedom in the Higher Education Support Act. HE perspectives were also raised in the motion on ‘Organising Student Teachers, Early Stage Teachers and Researchers’ highlighting the domestic and international expansion of casual academic labour and the need to organise casual academics and to improve their employment conditions. Unions covering early childhood educators are now advocating for a greater recognition within EI, as are school support workers. Important in the HE focus has been the NTEU’s industry approach and consideration of academic and general workers at all times.
NOVEMBER 2011 www.nteu.org.au
Emphasising this, Gabe Gooding spoke to the Congress motion on Education Support Employees noting that general staff were a majority of employees in the Australian university system, and the need for EI to be more visible in promoting and representing the voices and perspectives of the full range of occupations and skills making up education support employees at all levels of education.
Indigenous education rights Most significantly, after participating in the Indigenous Caucus, Jillian Miller spoke in response to the EI General Secretary’s Progress Report highlighting the need for EI to make much stronger efforts to promote Indigenous education and rights, and to insist that EI member organisations give priority to including Indigenous representation within their national delegations, noting that there was a very marginal presence of Indigenous people in both the Indigenous Caucus and the Congress as a whole. As an AEU delegate, Jillian had proposed the Rights of Indigenous Peoples at the first
The major focus of Congress was the Education Policy Paper, which captured the theme, ‘Building the Future through Quality Education’. The paper sets out the principles upon which EI’s work is based including; quality education as a human right, publicly funded and freely available to all, inclusive education and the principles of equality applied in education and in society, and the importance of high professional status for educators. With specific regard to higher education it refers to, amongst other elements, the need for autonomy of higher education institutions, the absolute requirement that all institutions facilitate and protect academic freedom, as well as acknowledging the key role that higher education and research play in ‘finding solutions to the most pressing, scientific, economic, social and ethical challenges we face today’. In adopting the Policy the Congress also committed to the principle that ‘access to higher education should be available to all of those who meet relevant entry criteria and should not be limited by the financial means or social origins of potential students’. Consistently delegates talked of the need to secure increased public investment in all levels of education, the need to resist rankings and accountability measures that divert resources from the delivery of quality education and the need for a renewed commitment to recruitment and organising. The focus and concerns of NTEU members are most definitely in accord with those of education unionists around the world. A Education International c www.ei-ie.org/en Above: Jeannie Rea, NTEU National President; Haldis Holst, EI Vice-President (Europe); Yuzuru Nakamura, EI Executive Board Member (Asia Pacific); Mugwena Maluleke, EI Executive Board Member (Africa); José Campos Trujillo, EI Executive Board Member (Open Seat); Grahame McCulloch, EI Executive Board Member (Open Seat) & NTEU General Secretary; Gabe Gooding, NTEU Vice President (General); Greg McCarthy, NTEU Vice President (Academic); Jillian Miller, IPC Chair. Left: Gabe Gooding, Jillian Miller and Greg McCarthy voting.
NATIONAL COUNCIL NEWS FROM THE NET
New ADHD Pandemic M
ost people know of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), usually suffered by young children of school age, who experience great learning disorders. More people are becoming aware of a new ADHD (Anti-Digital Hysteria Disorder), usually suffered by much older people, who also experience great learning disorders such as being chronically tech–averse and exhibiting digital paranoia. These poor victims of the new ADHD are often in positions of authority and feel fundamentally threatened by anything digital, online, wireless, virtual, networking, new or young. Consequently, their feelings of inadequacy and fear of the new prompt them to lash out in an Empire Strikes Back fashion at any and all manifestations of the Great Unknown (to them) digital world. Recent examples include the moral panic provoked by the riots in many English cities, beginning in London and spreading first to several widely-dispersed suburbs and then to distant towns and cities. A website analysing the riots is hosted at www.guardian.co.uk. One interesting aspect of commentary on the riots was the speed with which digital devices such as Blackberries and smartphones and social networking such as Facebook and Twitter were blamed for the rapid spread of rioting and even the rioting itself. Many authorities who fear social unrest from the unemployed, disengaged and dispossessed now fear digital technology getting into the wrong hands and empowering them to express their alienation – not that arson and looting are legitimate forms of expression, but seeing a causal relationship with digital technology would rule out all uses of digital technology, including more constructive expressions of dissent. In Cheshire, a couple of young men, fired up by news reports from London, invited some 400 Facebook friends to meet near a local McDonalds to perhaps emulate their city cousins. The invitation was later taken down after a change of heart, but not before it was monitored by the Police, who were the only ones to keep the appointment. The young men were arrested and charged with incitement to riot (not attempted incitement to riot) and subsequently sentenced to four years in prison. Naturally, an appeal against the severity of the sentence was lodged, but the panel of three judges on the Appeal Court upheld the sentences. The Lord Chief Justice, Lord Judge, said ‘the abuse of modern technology for criminal purposes extends to and includes incitement of very many people by a single step... It is a sinister aspect of these cases that modern technology almost certainly assisted rioters in other places to organise the rapid movement and congregation of disorderly groups in new and unpoliced areas.’ Many commentators of such a mind seem as alarmed about digital technology as about guns in the community. However, their concern 32
about the mobilising potential of texting, Twitter and Facebook does not seem to extend to communities in Tunisia, Egypt, Morrocco, Bahrain and Libya, or (they hope) Syria or Iran. The so-called Arab Spring led some such people to think that digital technology was not so bad after all. But then came Occupy Wall St – and its offspring internationally, including Melbourne and Sydney (both crushed quickly by authorities afflicted with the new ADHD). The Occupy movement is certainly facilitated with digital technology but there must be some substantive issues or grievances for people to use the technology for mobilising purposes. As the US National Rifleman’s Association says, ‘Guns don’t shoot people, people shoot people.’ The trouble with the #Occupy movement (to use the Twitter hashtag) is that their issues and grievances are so diffuse and diverse. Most oppose corporate greed, some oppose capitalism, many oppose globalisation, nearly all oppose ‘the system’. They also have little or no traditional leadership stucture, using the technology for more direct democracy, rather than representative democracy. Perhaps that is why they seem to eschew political parties and even community organisations such as trade unions. Elements of civil society are welcome to participate (rather than ‘join’) but not to exercise undue influence and certainly not to suborn or manipulate – that would be too ‘political’. Such amorphous groupings are unlikely to achieve instant outcomes, but perhaps they value more highly the process rather than the outcome. Some say that their aim is merely to ‘create a space’ for discussion, debate and dissent – like a response to Marcuse’s ‘repressive tolerance’ – others say that consciousness–raising (or learning) is its own reward. Some even find an element of ritual and religious retreat in the #Occupy movement. See http://americamagazine.org. The question of whether this is an evolving form of ePolitics is explored in several thoughtful articles on http://theconversation.edu. au . An interesting analysis of the role of Twitter in the #Occupy movement is at http://blog.socialflow.com. A gentle introduction to Twitter for the apprehensive academic is at http://deevybee.blogspot.com. A Pat Wright is Director of the Centre for Labour Research at the University of Adelaide. email: email@example.com Images: PRPowWow (prpowwow.wordpress.com), Online Journalism (alanknight.wordpress.com) NTEU ADVOCATE vol. 18, no. 3
LOWERING THE BOOM
Sandstones stealing Tam U’s pioneering tricks of the trade I
can almost hear the chorus of groans from around the country as readers flick through the last issue of Advocate for the year and realise to their horror that I have again made my annual visit to Cal D’Aria, the irrepressible Vice-Chancellor, president and now also ‘supreme leader’ of Tamworth University. Unusually, I found him looking gloomy. ‘Most of our innovations have been pinched by the old universities’, Cal moaned. ‘One by one they are stealing our ideas’. Tam U pioneered the technique of ushering full fee-paying overseas students seamlessly through their degrees regardless of the quality of work submitted. ‘Now I hear the practice is becoming widespread’, he said. ‘We thought up the wheeze of Masters degrees on the cheap by letting students count undergraduate courses, and now other places are copying us. Where’s their ethics?’, he exploded. Cal had looked forward to the Knight Review, which he saw as a London, Cranfield and now a so-called Torrens University. And the game-changer. ‘He’s a former politician, so he knew what he had to Commonwealth has agreed to let them play the migration scam. say. He’ll restore the backdoor immigration scam’ Cal said. Well, Cal With the State Government subsidising those competitors, how can was right, but the problem is that the report drew other universities’ Tamworth get a look in? We’ve had a shop in Rundle Mall for years, attention to the opportunities. ‘We should have had an advantage but business is terrible.’ with the cheapest and quickest qualifications to bypass the immigraAs always, though, Cal had more cards up his sleeve. ‘The Opposition queue’, he said. ‘But the older providers are onto that lurk like a tion Leader, this Mr Rabbit bloke, with a name like that he has to dog on a chop’. Sadly, he concluded, be sympathetic to the bush. And the revival looks like benefiting the he really wants to put one over Tam U pioneered replacing academic staff older universities more than the Tony Windsor, our local member.’ feisty little Tamworth outfit. So Cal’s trump card is to offer the and formal teaching sessions with banks There was more bad news. Tam Opposition Leader an honorary of PowerPoint slides years ago. ‘We were U pioneered replacing academic doctorate. ‘A doctorate of laws doing it when the old universities thought staff and formal teaching sessions would be appropriate, I reckon’, Powerpoint was where you plugged in with banks of PowerPoint slides he chuckled. ‘He’ll really doctor years ago. ‘We were doing it when the laws if he gets in!’ the OHP’, Cal chuckled. But now even the the old universities thought PowCal believes this will give him sandstones are being told that the young erpoint was where you plugged the jump on the older universistudents are ‘digital natives who grew up in the OHP’, Cal chuckled. But now ties. ‘No place with students can online’ and being urged to change their even the sandstones are being told risk having him on the campus’, that the young students are ‘digCal said. ‘There would be a stuapproach. ital natives who grew up online’ dent riot over his climate change and being urged to change their denial and his nonsense about approach. stopping the boats. I heard one of the vice-chancellors say they had Just a few weeks ago, The Australian warned the old universities built an Abbott-proof fence to keep him away! But since we got stuthat if they ‘insist on using models that do not suit the market, prodents off our campus a few years ago, so we can invite anyone we viders happy to give the customers what they want will emerge’. like.’ That’s really giving the game away, Cal reckons. ‘We worked out With a spring back in his step, Cal told me about his industryyears ago that the students just want to be spoonfed what they funded Christmas present to the University, Santa’s Fracking Chair need to get their qualifications, given the stuff online so they don’t of Coal Seam Gas. ‘We’ll have a real fracking professor’, he said. He have to turn up at a campus, get A’s regardless of how shonky their left me and bounced off to talk with the country music festival work is and get doctorates by ticking the boxes’, he fumed. ‘Now a about endowing a Slim Dusty Chair of Music. newspaper is spilling the beans. Next thing we know they’ll all be ‘It’s the logical follow-up to the pub with no beer – we’re the hub doing it.’ with no gear!’, he concluded. Until next year Cal, you’re always an The last straw for Cal was when the South Australian Premier, inspiration! A just days before being taken out the back and monstered by the Ian Lowe is Emeritus Professor of Science, Technology and Society factional power-brokers, smoothed the path for a rival private uniat Griffith University. versity. ‘There’s now a heap of them in Adelaide’, Cal complained. ‘Carnegie Pumpkin or something, one of the bits of the University of NOVEMBER 2011 www.nteu.org.au
NATIONAL COUNCIL KNOWLEDGE IS THE ECONOMY, STUPID
Cosmopolitanising the Cohort (aka Internationalising the Curriculum) W
e hear a lot these days about ‘internationalising the curriculum’. In fact, at the most recent Australian International Education Conference (AIEC) in Adelaide the phrase was pervasive as large audiences nodded enthusiastically at all mentions of internationalisation. Given the base realities of globalisation, flows of transnational education, and Australian higher education’s precarious financial reliance on international students, it’s obviously (past) time to think carefully about the internationalisation of universities. And yet ask most people in the sector just what ‘internationalising the curriculum’ means, and you’ll be hard-pressed to get a cogent answer or any pedagogical examples. So I decided to have a go, drawing on my training and experience as an educator and cultural theorist specialising in cosmopolitan theory. I gave a presentation at the AIEC entitled ‘Cosmopolitanising the Cohort’ that looked at the history of multiculturalism in Australia and mapped it against changing international education policy over the last 50 years. I finished with some thoughts on what a cosmopolitan curriculum might look like, including a couple of small, concrete examples. I thought I’d summarise it here. First, a definition. I take ‘cosmopolitan’ to mean ‘open to and willing to engage with cultural others’. Whereas ‘internationalisation’ and ‘cosmopolitanisation’ are often used interchangeably, I would argue that the first can be read as simply a utilitarian descriptor of a process, whereas the latter is a philosophical and humanitarian project. Cosmopolitanising a cohort, then, is the business of universities, whereby they serve the global public good. I therefore use ‘cosmopolitanisation’ rather than ‘internationalisation’ purposefully and mindfully. I start with a premise (and for some, a polemic) that international students are not the problem – domestic students are. Our current deficit model that posits international students as lacking – whether in language skills, academic background, critical thinking or cultural competence – is not only often wrong, it’s totally unproductive and missing a key point – Australia is not always the open, tolerant society we’d like it to be, in spite of the excellent efforts of many, especially those in higher ed. But the ingredients for cosmopolitanism are all here. We should remember how recently the White Australia policy came to an end (1966) to see why we are still immersed in the process of what Ulrich Beck (2009) calls ‘cosmopolitanisation’, that is, ‘globalisation from within’. High levels of post war immigration that led to an increasing intake of migrants of non-Anglo-Celtic background brought diversity to the doorstep, and the explicit multicultural policies of the Hawke and Keating years did much to lay the groundwork for more cosmopolitan futures. Sadly, the Howard years nurtured nationalist (and racist) sentiments and produced such phenomena as Pauline Hanson and her One Nation party – a serious impediment to the cosmopolitan project. Although we could say there has been more hope since Rudd offered the National Apology to Indigenous Australians, in fact reports of regular experiences of discrimination based on race have increased since 2007 from 9 to 14% (Markus 2011). The 2005 Cronulla riots and 2009 murders of Indian students in Melbourne were stark reminders that Australia is still working 34
towards ‘togetherness-in-difference’ (Ang 2001), and sometimes we will fail abjectly. One need only look at spikes in negative media coverage and racist political rhetoric around asylum seekers to find one of the likely reasons why. So what does this have to do with international education? Our students are embedded in Australian society every day. In fact, they spend more time off campus than they do on, and surely universities have a role in cosmopolitanising the population, starting with the cohorts of students who pass through our hallowed halls. By students I mean all of them, not just internationals, not just domestics, and not just undergrads either. A truly cosmopolitan curriculum is relatively easy to envision if we start with Beck’s (2006) claim that ‘the cosmopolitan outlook must encompass, criticise, extend and transform the national outlook.’ To do so, I propose that such a curriculum would seek to teach certain literacies – political, media, scientific, and cultural, and it would support and encourage participatory citizenship. If our students are able to understand political systems well enough to compare Australia’s with others and therefore critique all and any of them, and then apply that same capacity to critical media literacy, and enough grounding in science as not to be misled by climate change deniers and their ilk, we’d be well on the path to producing cosmopolitan subjects, at ease and willing to engage with cultural otherness. The final steps then are in cross-cultural awareness and knowledge, where this cosmopolitan cohort at the bare minimum is able to question the values behind behaviours rather than making inappropriate and unreflexive cultural assumptions about another’s actions. To illustrate, even if one doesn’t know the cultural value behind punctuality, it helps to understand that there is one and that it might be radically different to yours. With these four literacies it seems self evident that we would see more active and engaged citizens – and in fact according to the World Values Survey (2007), cosmopolitans tend to be more inclined to activism. Knowledge is powerful and empowering, and our students are perfectly placed to be offered the opportunities to learn more about the world beyond the classroom walls. These classrooms are already full of people from all over the globe, people who bring a wealth of knowledge and experience from diverse cultures. They sit there mostly as untapped resources for the cosmopolitan project – sending more domestic students overseas is clearly one way to increase cultural awareness here in Australia, but far more students continued opposite... NTEU ADVOCATE vol. 18, no. 3
LETTER FROM NEW ZEALAND/AOTEAROA
SANDRA GREY, TEU
Occupy Aotearoa New Zealand A
t universities here in Aotearoa New Zealand there are inklings that a new type of protest movement may be emerging. Closely linked to the Occupy movement that began on New York’s Wall Street and quickly spread around the world, this emergent tertiary-education-focused protest movement does not annunciate clear demands. It is hard to tell if protestors are angry at the Government, campus managers, or even other staff and students. It lacks figurehead speakers. It relies heavily on social media, and seems preoccupied with process rather than outcome. At both the University of Auckland and Victoria University of Wellington, protest movements without any clear leadership from either student or staff unions on campus have challenged the prevailing tertiary education environment. What we have in the past treated as issues to be addressed, the protesters have treated merely as symptoms of a wider malaise; a malaise to which the protesters are offering no remedy. Or at least not a remedy we find palatable. For many steeped in the traditions of campaigning and activism the Occupy movement runs counter to the learning and wisdom we’ve built up over the years. We know from experience that, to win, we should strategically identify a goal that is achievable. We should then build public support around our single issue, putting pressure on a single target to create change. We know we should utilise rather than reject opportunities. We know the end goal is to have and exercise the power our opponents currently hold. But Occupy protesters appear to reject all these things we have learnt from hard won experience. Occupy is an evolution of the anti-globalisation protest movements of the earliest days of the century, as characterised by No Logo and the Battle in Seattle. There protesters brought a myriad of issues into one protest movement and tried to draw the links between them all. Thus environmental issues, workers’ rights, excessive marketing, and so on were all brought together in a messy amalgamation of antiglobalisation sentiment. The Occupy movement appears to go one step further, not expecting these diverse issues to co-exist under one banner, but simply to share the same pavement – to cohabit and debate with each other about a way forward. The process of debate, of finding a new way of doing things is as important as any change that results.
In some ways, this sounds like a utopian university – passionate academics sharing the same campus space, debating among each other to establish rules and processes by which we all get along. The tertiary education offshoot of the Occupy movement obviously focuses on tertiary education issues – and its apostles comprise mostly students and staff. So, whereas the broader Occupy movement most notably challenges corporate wealth and power, this nascent tertiary education movement challenges managerialism and the narrow vision for our future that many institutions and their funders advocate. Interestingly, for us as a union, we are debating a similar set of issues and coming to the same conclusion - that many of the problems we are trying to address are actually the symptoms of a mania for managerialism within our institutions. And, that protest is not so much a means to create change but part of a democratic tradition within tertiary institutions that informs and expands public debate and creates new wisdom for us. So perhaps, in our small way, we are part of the Occupy movement too. A Sandra Grey is National President/Te Tumu Whakarae, NZ Tertiary Education Union/ Te Hautū Kahurangi o Aotearoa TEU www.teu.ac.nz
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The next thing you know the students not only have a cross-cultural comparison of skim milk processing from which to gain opportunities to more critically assess the local processes, but they’re engaged with questions of global food security and various nations’ roles. And because there are people from the countries in question involved in the discussion, the care factor goes up – it is far more interesting and rewarding to most people to have intentful and ‘authentic’ discussions with some form of personal engagement. You want to cosmopolitanise the cohort? Stop overlooking the opportunities sitting in our classrooms. A Tammi Jonas is a former President of the Council of Australian Postgraduate Associations (CAPA). She blogs at www.tammijonas.com
will have opportunities to meet people from many countries in the seat next to them. So finally, a small example of the kinds of ways we can cosmopolitanise our curricula. Let’s say you’re in an engineering tutorial investigating the processes for making skim milk from whole. Chances are there are students from at least three countries in the room. Why not ask them to investigate the processes in each of the three countries? This could even lead to discussions of whether milk is regularly drunk in each country, and whether skim milk is popularly consumed, and if not, why? It can also lead to discussions of global food networks – who is importing milk products and who is exporting – and why? NOVEMBER 2011 www.nteu.org.au
If you are a Kiwi in Aussie you can vote in the NZ Election! Most New Zealand citizens and permanent residents who live in Australia can enrol and vote in the upcoming NZ general election, on or before 26 November. But hurry, you need to make sure you are enrolled before then! For more information, go to bit.ly/vote-overseas and keepmmp.org.nz. We need your vote for MMP to to help NZ keep one of the fairest voting systems in the world. And we need your vote to give your Kiwi friends and family a government that cares about public education and workers’ rights. Authorised by Sharn Riggs, TEU, Education House 178-182 Willis St, Wellington 6011.
National Council 2011 F
or most of the 160 delegates to the NTEU’s 18th National Council Meeting (6–8 October), the big issue was the intensification of work for academic and general staff, which has led to unmanageable workloads and accelerating concern that our universities are fast approaching breaking point. Delegates consistently articulated their frustration with the apparent indifference of university management to the impact upon staff and students of continual staff cuts and casualisation alongside the undermining and harassment of staff to work to performance measurement metrics to feed rankings and ratings. It seems to be left to the Union to carry the torch for maintaining and improving the quality and productivity of Australian university teaching and research, as continually the actions by university managements militate against quality improvement, despite the rhetoric. Southern Cross University Branch’s motion on trimesters and multiple teaching sessions was illustrative of this focus as delegates from Branches across the country rose to speak of similar issues at their university. The plenary on ‘Universities after the Bradley Report’ introduced by panellists Andrew Bonnell (UQ), Susan Price (UNSW), Tony Gilding (NT Division Secretary) and Kerry Saville (Deakin) provided a further opportunity for delegates to reflect upon the impact and outcomes of current policies and longer term trends in higher education. Strong support was given to observers from the National Academic Casuals Committee (NACC) as they spoke of the realities of trying to live on an academic casual income and maintain enthusiasm for the work, as hopes of an academic career fade over time. The plight of the next generation was continually raised particularly as many delegates quoted the recent DEEWR commissioned report prepared by Emmeline Bexley et al of the Centre for the Study of Higher Education, which found that not only were half of current academics planning to leave within the next five years, but that the next generation of academics was rapidly running out of patience and abandoning the prospect of an academic career in Australian universities. 36
Delegates commended the Union’s advocacy and interventions around the implementation of the ERA. Council committed to continued campaigning for further changes by the Minister and the ARC to improve the fairness, transparency and inclusiveness of the scheme, as well as dealing with the misuse and manipulation of the ERA mechanisms by university managements to manage workloads and academic careers.
The Council called for more focus on academic and general staff workloads, as we head towards the next Collective Bargaining round. In preparation for our Bargaining Conference next April, the National Office will prepare an assessment of management use and misuse of current academic workload models, general staff flexibility clauses on general staff working hours and workloads, and focusing upon the efficacy and implementation of the current EBA clauses. Monitoring the implementation of current agreements was also highlighted by the Indigenous Policy Committee motion directing all levels of the Union to ensure that universities are working to implement the goals and objectives of their Indigenous Employment Strategy to ensure that Indigenous employment targets are met.
Review of bargaining A panel of Division Secretaries, chaired by the General Secretary, discussed the process and outcomes of Round 5 bargaining noting the achievements, but also the difficulties. It was agreed in discussion and the motion
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YOUR UNION endorsed by Council, that the key achievements included the large and competitive salary increases, the restoration of provisions lost through the HEWRRs/WorkChoices and some improvements on the regulation of workloads, casual employment and Indigenous employment targets. Key outstanding issues are the failure to achieve any serious limits to casual employment and direct mechanisms to deal with workloads and general staff career progression. Consequently, Council proposed that the Bargaining Conference consider framing Round 6 Bargaining around the general theme of workforce planning with an emphasis on improved general staff and academic careers.
Political power Current Federal Government policy rhetoric on wanting to achieve greater social inclusion through deregulating university places and mission based compacts focussed discussion on the continuing reality of underfunding and cuts to programs as the Government seeks to maintain a budget surplus. Commentary and analysis of the political environment featured in all three National Officers’ reports as we sought to frame the political and industrial realities within which the Union is negotiating, advocating and campaigning. Guest speaker, former Labor Finance Minister, Lindsay Tanner provided a welcomed analysis of the challenges for universities and the NTEU in making universities matter to politicians, drawing upon his many years of experience (see article on p. 24). Tanner’s contribution informed delegates’ consideration and endorsement of the next phase in our public policy and funding campaign – ‘Invest in Australia’s Future: Invest in Our Universities’ (see article on p. 12). Along with the sneak preview of the ‘Invest’ campaign website, t-shirts and publications, there were other significant launches and previews at and around National Council. Particularly significant was the inaugural NTEU Annual Lecture delivered by Australia’s Chief Scientist Professor Ian Chubb (see article on p. 22). News of the NTEU Annual Lecture initiative received much positive feedback from members and others in and outside the sector, commenting upon the importance of the NTEU taking a leadership role in sectoral and public discourse. NOVEMBER 2011 www.nteu.org.au
Council agreed to publish the report of findings and recommendations from the Branch and Aboriginal and Torres Straits Islander members’ survey on cultural respect, discrimination, racism and lateral violence – I’m not a Racist, but… (see article on p. 10). The renamed and revamped annual women’s magazine, Agenda was published just in time for Council and the new women’s site went live at the Council meeting (see article on p. 6). The Women’s Action Committee reported a resurgence of activity demonstrated with Agenda and the website, but also in gathering Council’s support for a focus upon acting on violence towards staff and students in our workplaces, and putting consideration of clauses on supporting staff dealing with domestic/family violence on the agenda for Round 6 bargaining.
International flavour Cristavao dos Reis, Dean of the Faculty of Economics at the National University of East Timor (Universidade Nacional de Timor Leste) addressed Council on the achievements and challenges in developing a national public university. He was in Australia with four senior colleagues of the University undertaking professional development at Victoria University through the AusAID funded Australian Leadership Awards Scheme. Australian Education Union (AEU) Federal Secretary and Education International (EI) President, Susan Hopgood addressed Council focusing on both priorities of EI (see article on p. 30) and on the AEU priority of school funding, noting our common interests in advocacy for government funding for public education.
New Zealand Tertiary Education Union (TEU) President, Sandra Grey gave a stirring address outlining the attacks on public universities and funding in New Zealand and the campaigning by staff and students in defence of universities, education and research and free intellectual inquiry. Delegates left Council with renewed enthusiasm and greater understanding of the commonalities and the diversities of the issues and concerns across the Union’s constituencies and, following a long debate on recruitment methodology, committed to increasing the Union’s strength through increasing membership and activism. A Jeannie Rea, National President Opposite, top: Wurundjeri elder, Aunty Carolyn Briggs giving the Welcome to Country. Opposite, bottom: Queensland delegates’ table. Above: Cristavao dos Rios, National University of East Timor. Below: The main hall at National Council. Photos: Paul Clifton.
Life Members 2011 Walter Bloom Murdoch University
Walter Bloom was an active member of the NTEU and its predecessor the Murdoch University Academic Staff Association (MUASA) from 1975 to his retirement from Murdoch University in January 2011. Walter served for many years on the MUASA Committee and was President in 1985 and 1986. Highlights of Walter’s time as MUASA President include handling all member cases personally; being the WA FAUSA Delegate; making representation to the WA State Industrial Court for MUASA to be registered as a Union (something that was quite controversial at the time); negotiating with FAUSA for the appointment of WA’s very first Industrial Officer (who was meant to be shared by Murdoch and UWA but ended up being based solely at Murdoch since the UWA ASA at that time rejected such assistance from FAUSA). Walter also served as the MUASA/NTEU representative on a number of University Committees and Working Parties and was the NTEU nominee on the Review Panel for a number of misconduct cases. Since 2009, Walter has been a member of the Australian Universities’ Review Editorial Board and was the elected Murdoch Academic Staff representative on the UniSuper Consultative Committee from 2009 to 2011. Walter was for many years an elected member of the Murdoch Academic Consultative Group and also served as a elected member of the Murdoch University Academic Council and the University Senate. Walter was a member of the NTEU Murdoch Branch Bargaining Team during the current round and his broad experience was invaluable in the detail of these negotiations. Walter was very active in the strong industrial campaign waged by the Murdoch Branch (including the withholding of results at the end of 2009). His involvement as a University Professor provided encouragement to more 38
junior staff to join this campaign. Walter also contributed to the NTEU bargaining position in the previous bargaining round. In addition to his active participation in Branch campaigns and functions, Walter has always shown the courage to stand up for what he believes to be right, even when this may be personally disadvantageous. For example, early in his academic career in 1979, Walter stood up as the National ‘test case’ for the FAUSA campaign against the 50% cut in Academic Study Leave by the Federal Government. Walter’s involvement included an appeal to the University Visitor who was then the WA State Governor. Walter has always been a strong advocate of increasing the Indigenous Staff numbers at Murdoch University and served as the Chair of the University Equity Committee from 1993 to 1996 and was at that time a member of the University’s Aboriginal Employment Strategy Working Party. A
Ros Bohringer University of Sydney
Ros Bohringer has been a longstanding stalwart of the NTEU. A committed unionist in the education sector Ros’ first encounter with tertiary education unionism occurred in 1978 when she joined FAUSA upon commencing academic work at UNSW. Her union membership was shifted to the Federation of College Academics (FCA) when she commenced lecturing at Cumberland CAE, where she became more actively involved in union affairs. Ros was on the Cumberland FCA branch committee prior to that institution’s amalgamation with the University of Sydney and assumed a leading role in bringing the FCA membership into the Sydney Association of University Teachers and thus into FAUSA. This became the platform for her assuming a leading role in the amalgamation of FAUSA and the Academics Union in NSW and the subsequent formation of the NTEU.
Ros then joined others in building the NTEU. She was instrumental in transforming a rather dowdy professional association at Sydney into one of the strongest NTEU branches in the country. She was a pivotal member of the enterprise bargaining team that negotiated the first of the industry’s agreements, bringing to the negotiation table a strategic sense and forthrightness that was unmatched. She continued to play a very active role in bargaining and in building and strengthening the University of Sydney Branch, never forgetting the importance of engaging colleagues in her immediate work environment. She was the NTEU Lidcombe sub-branch President for ages. At the same time, Ros invested her considerable energies in establishing the NSW Division. She was elected President of the Division upon its establishment and served for three terms as Division President. During her periods of office, Ros assumed a critical role in developing the organisational capacity of the Division and its strategic focus within the national union. Ros was Division President when General Staff became eligible to join in NSW. Her strong, open and supportive union leadership was important for General Staff activists when they considered their union options. The breadth of her engagement in NTEU affairs is remarkable. She worked with others in promoting the interests of women in higher education, chairing the NSW Women’s Caucus and editing the Women’s Caucus Newsletter for the six years she was Division President, and was a member of the Women’s Action Committee. Ros also played an active role nationally, having represented the University of Sydney as a National Conference Delegate at FAUSA and as a National Council Delegate at successive NTEU National Councils. She excelled in her role in convening the NSW caucus at National Council and in engaging new delegates, instilling in them the confidence to step up to the plate as bold unionists. She brooked no quarter and had no qualms in challenging the abuse of authority to ensure that Council provided the opportunity for all NTEU ADVOCATE vol. 18, no. 3
YOUR UNION those attending to give voice to their interests and concerns. In more recent times, Ros was a member of the NTEU Education, Training & Development Advisory Board. Ros’ involvement and leadership in the Union has been exceptional. She leaves a legacy that we can only applaud, and her retirement should inspire us all to action. A
David Charnock Curtin University
David has been a champion of members throughout his time as a Committee member of the Curtin University Branch (1992-2011) and has been our lead negotiator and strategist through the last three bargaining rounds. He was also Vice President 2004-2010, Vice President Academic 20102011 and Acting President in 2008. His commitment, attention to detail, tenacity in Bargaining and capacity to out strategise management was responsible for important improvements in conditions at Curtin throughout the 2000s as well as for membership growth throughout difficult times. In the middle of bargaining in 2010, David was targeted for redundancy and although an appeal was successfully upheld David decided it was time to go. A
Chris Hughes University of NSW
When Chris Hughes first announced to members of the UNSW Branch Committee that he was intending to retire, our universal response was one of dismay. While we are happy that Chris is going to have more time to relax and travel with his wonderful partner, Kerry, we will greatly miss Chris’ unflagging good humour, reliability, organising ability and dedication to the NTEU and its work. Chris joined the Union in 1989 and has always been an active delegate in his workplace. At this retirement function in the Faculty of Medicine, colleague after colleague spoke of Chris’ commitment to unionism. In workplace discussions, they said, Chris NOVEMBER 2011 www.nteu.org.au
was the ‘social conscience’ of his School who could be relied upon to speak up for the interests of staff and students. Because Chris’ job took him into a range of work units throughout the University, that influence was felt far and wide. Chris joined the Branch Committee in 1996 and brought his knowledge of IT with him into what must have been, at that time, a comparably Luddite-ish environment. In a meeting in September 1996, the Committee decided that ‘progress regarding managing change and enterprise bargaining be reported on regularly to members’. It was decided to set up a list of all members on this new-fangled thing called email so members could be kept informed and Chris volunteered to take responsibility for this task. Given the number of emails members have received since, there may be some who would want to lynch him for his initiative but, of course, the Branch Committee recognises how fundamental email has become for the Branch’s democratic functioning and thank Chris for his farsightedness in this technological regard. Chris has continued to give selflessly of his time in a range of technological support duties that helped us enormously in the day to day activities of the Branch. The current Branch Committee wishes to commend and thank Chris for his unstinting support during our most recent negotiations with the current UNSW regime. Throughout the three long years of bargaining and campaigning, Chris has been the workplace delegate of which Branch Executives’ dreams are made – talking to his colleagues, mobilising them to come to meetings, to take action and to stick together. He has always been upbeat about what the Branch can achieve and ready to put his hand up for action. He was one of our heroic stand-downees who sacrificed an enormous amount to support the Union’s commitment to the battle for greater job security for members. One of the factors that contributed to our eventual success, we feel, is that Chris refused to retire until we had achieved a decent Agreement! Chris also took every opportunity to speak truth to power, frequently directing his vitriolic pen at the outrages perpetuated on us by the profit-hungry cabal who purport to lead our university. Recently, when a muchloved colleague and Union member, Alan Hodgkinson, died from a heart attack everyone knew had been exacerbated by over-
work and stress, Chris wrote a stinging letter to HR demanding that they call in WorkCover to investigate the University’s failure to exercise its duty of care in this workplace death. In the final weeks of bargaining, he put a new poster on his office door every day to get his workplace talking. A favourite was ‘Fred gets paid a motsa so you’re not(sa)’. A
Diane Menghetti James Cook University
Diane has always been a strong supporter of unionism and the labour movement generally. She served on the JCU Branch Committee when it was still JCUSA and part of FAUSA, through the transition to the NTEU, for 15 years in various positions including Secretary and Vice-President. She has represented the Union on a number of University committees very ably, always bringing a sharply analytical view and a different perspective to matters involving staff. She was both a Division and National Councillor and chaired the National Affirmative Action Committee in 1993-4. She was one of the bargaining team that completed JCU’s first Enterprise Bargaining Agreement, also the first in the country. In 2003, she won the Queensland Council of Union’s Emma Miller Award which celebrates the achievements of women in the union movement. She is now retired and living with her daughter in Florida, but sadly has just found she has terminal cancer. A
Neil Mudford UNSW @ ADFA
The ACT Division nominated Dr Neil Mudford for Life Membership following his retirement from the UNSW Australian Defence Force Academy (ADFA) in Canberra. This nomination is not ‘rocket science’ but rather due recognition and reward for a commitment to an activist role in unionism and in particular to the NTEU. Neil has shown great dedication to the NTEU since its creation and to the cause of unionism in general. He has been a longtime Committee Member of the UNSW 39
YOUR UNION ADFA sub-branch, serving as both President and Vice-President for many years. He has done more than anyone else at ADFA to promote and lead the Union, often through difficult times. As Neil’s long list of achievements will attest, he has not only served the Union at Branch level but also at Division and National level with distinction as Division President, Division Secretary, National Councillor and National Executive Member (ACT). Neil has been a committed active unionist for much of his working life, joining the predecessor FAUSA in July 1988. His keen sense of fairness and social justice has made him an active champion for his colleagues and fellow workers. Neil’s commitment could be best explained by his oft stated belief ‘the Union never lets you go once it got its claws into you’. This would also be used by Neil to challenge and extract renewed or further commitment from others, always the motivator. Neil has managed to successfully combine his considerable commitment to unionism with his teaching and research career (in Rocket Science) and his ongoing commitment to raising his own family. Those who have had the pleasure of knowing and working with Neil will attest to his wit and wry sense of humour. He has the unique ability, greatly appreciated, to see irony or humour in the simplest statement – perhaps not always fully appreciated by meeting chairs when they are seeking serious debate. His comments will be much missed from future NTEU meetings. Neil has always displayed a clear vision of the value and role of the Union in the workplace and has been prepared to ask the difficult questions. He has led by example, putting himself at the forefront of any agreed action and has even borne the consequences of being stood down on behalf of everyone: in the most recent long running dispute at ADFA, Neil was the sole member to withhold results and thus was stood down. The ACT Division wishes Neil well on his retirement. With his move to Queensland, we will miss him but anticipate a continuing NTEU involvement in what will be Neil’s personal climate change. A
Gloria Sumner University of Adelaide
Gloria’s life in unions goes back a couple of decades before the amalgamation in 1993 which brought the NTEU into existence. As a long-standing activist of the General Staff Association at Adelaide, she was able to bring strong support from professional staff and an extensive understanding of their issues to the foundation NTEU Branch Committee. She was involved in enterprise bargaining as a proxy and then negotiator for the NTEU in every round – beginning in 1998, and ending with the two-year stint needed for the last round. For the last several years, Gloria has served as Branch Vice-President (Professional Staff). She was a member of the foundation SA Divisional Council, including Vice-President (General Staff) for a term, until 2006, when she stepped aside to give fresh blood a chance. At National level, Gloria served two terms on the Women’s Action Committee, and for many years was a familiar figure as a delegate at National Council, and on occasion was a proxy at National Executive. Gloria will be remembered for her grace and quiet demeanour, which could be quite disarming. This was most evident during bargaining. On one famous occasion, during a heated debate about elected versus selected Heads, Gloria kept her cool and told a prominent Dean to ‘stop behaving like a petulant school boy’. During the last round of bargaining, when she was a front-line NTEU negotiator, Gloria was told by line management that she would have to use up her annual leave to attend bargaining meetings. In polite discussion, it emerged that this was based on advice from HR. Gloria promptly let everyone know about this juicy tid-bit. The result was most unfortunate for the other side; by that time, our negotiating team had been joined by the General Secretary, and he gave senior management a well-deserved 10-minute serve. Gloria has always believed in the electoral process, so it was no surprise that she decided to nominate for the University of Adelaide Council last year and was duly elected by professional staff. The Council certainly needs someone like her to bring the expertise and concerns of staff to its attention. A
Kate Patrick RMIT University
Kate joined RMIT in 1991 after studies at Melbourne and Monash and employment at La Trobe University. At RMIT, Kate has mainly been involved in a variety of roles in Teaching and Learning Quality Control while working her way up from Lecturer to Senior Lecturer to Associate Professor. Initially a member of the Association of Scientific, Technical and Managerial Staffs (ASTMS), Kate saw the error of her ways and joined the NTEU in 1995 and has given 16 years of excellent service to the Union. In 1998, she became a workplace delegate after being ‘nominated’ by Jocelyn Clarke (an NTEU Life Member) and Matthew McGowan (then RMIT Branch President), so from that point on there was really no escape from NTEU service. In 2003, Kate became the NTEU endorsed and elected member on the RMIT Academic Promotions Committee (a position she held for six years) with a clear brief to ‘keep the bastards honest’. She was also elected to the RMIT Academic Board as an NTEU endorsed candidate which she held until she contemplated retirement. It was on the Academic Board that she really ‘kept the bastards honest’ where she terrorised many a chair of the Board and championed the rights of both staff and students. From 2004, Kate upped the ante, being elected to the Branch Committee as VicePresident (Academic) and National Councillor. Kate has served on the Branch Committee as Vice-President (Academic), Committee Member and Branch Secretary. She has always been a staunch advocate for environmental issues: kick-starting the RMIT Environment Committee and convening the Research Committee. Kate has been a major negotiator in the last two Collective Agreements (2005 and 2010). At the Division level, Kate was elected to the Division Executive and served as Division Vice-President (Academic). At the National level, Kate was a member of the Education Policy Committee and served on the National Executive. A
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University of South Australia At the end of this year, Michael Venning will retire as an academic at the University of South Australia. Michael was a foundation member of the NTEU, joining UACA in 1987 later becoming a Committee Member and National Councillor, and before that he was a member of FAUSA during the 1970s and 1980s. Michael comes from a family with a long tradition as active trade unionists. Other unions of which he has been a member are the Adelaide University Students’ Union during the turbulent 1960s and early 1970s, the South Australian Institute of Technology (SAIT) SA Institute of Teachers, the Artificial Fertiliser and Chemical Workers’ Union, the Entertainment Industry Union and the Adelaide University Staff Association. Michael worked at the University of South Australia for 24 years, and served as academic staff representative on University Council for a record seven terms, or almost 13 years. He never lost an election to Council, and his continued electability arose from his understanding of what mattered to NTEU members. He always spoke with a voice of reason that senior management could not ignore; they knew that he spoke for the membership and had their interests at heart. The University’s former Vice Chancellor, Emeritus Professor Denise Bradley, once described Michael Venning as ‘a good trade unionist, and it would be unreasonable not to take notice of what he has to say.’ Michael Venning has been a member of the NTEU since its inception in 1993, and a UniSA Branch Committee member since that time. He has also been on the South Australian Division Executive and a National Councillor since the beginning. Michael was SA Division President from 2000-2002, and on the NTEU National Executive between 2002 and 2004. In addition, he served two terms as SA Division Secretary, the first between 2002 and 2004, and the second between 2008 and 2010. His contribution to the NTEU at the Branch, State and National levels will be greatly missed. A
NOVEMBER 2011 www.nteu.org.au
NTEU History Project seeks your Union memories D
r John O’Brien (pictured right) has been commissioned by the NTEU Executive to write a history of the NTEU. He would like to interview NTEU members past and present who could talk about their experiences as an NTEU activist at any level. The history will require some coverage of the Union’s predecessor organisations in order to explain the emergence of the NTEU in 1993. While John is interested in the whole of NTEU history, he is keen to look in particular at the role of general/professional staff in the founding and operation of the Union.
Dr John O’Brien has been a union activist for most of his working life. He learnt his union politics in the NSW Teachers’ Federation. When he became an academic in the late 1980s he was soon active in the Union of Australian College Academics (UACA), and subsequently in the NTEU. John was NTEU ACT Division Secretary and a National Executive member from 1994 until 1998; an ACTU nominee on the Higher Education Council from 1991 until 1994; and a member of the Privacy Advisory Committee to the Australian Privacy Commissioner from 2003 until 2011. He is an NTEU Life Member. While trained as an historian, he spent much of his academic career in either management or business schools principally teaching industrial relations. John has written extensively on public sector management and industrial relations. He has also written on industrial relations in education both in the schools
Much of the book will cover the various enterprise bargaining episodes since 1993. Any history of the NTEU needs to be located within the framework of the significant changes in higher education and in industrial relations since the mid 1980s. To that end the book will examine the policy influence of the NTEU (and its predecessors) during this period on such matters. John has a particular interest in the role of the NTEU in international matters and in encouraging Indigenous participation in the Union and the sector(s) more generally. This list is not exhaustive! John O’Brien can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org A
and higher education sectors including two papers on the unionisation of academics and another on the early phase of enterprise bargaining in the higher education. He has written a post war history of the NSW Teachers’ Federation (A Divided Unity, 1987). John’s most recent publication, Globalisation and Unions: Governments, Management and the State at Work (Routledge, 2011) is a study of public and civil service unions’ responses to changes in public sector work in the United Kingdom and Australia over the last thirty years. He is coauthor with four colleagues from the UK and Australia. John retired from UNSW in 2010 and is working, but is not employed. When he is not engaged on this task he exercises his tenor voice in a number of choirs. He is also trying to relearn how to play the piano - with both hands simultaneously.
Recent human rights actions by NTEU N
TEU National Office regularly sends letters to foreign governments and companies in support of imprisoned or victimised educators, unionists and workers, upon the request of education and human rights organisations.
For more information, please visit the organisations’ websites: Network for Education and Academic Rights www.nearinternational.org Amnesty International www.amnesty.org Scholars at Risk scholarsatrisk.nyu.edu Education International www.ei-ie.org
Action request: NEAR and Amnesty International To:
Minister of Justice and Islamic Affairs
Action: Letter re arrest of poet and University student Ayal al-Qarmezi following her participation in peaceful pro-democracy protests. Released on 13 July and subsequently placed under house arrest - the charges against her have not been dropped. Action request: Amnesty International To:
Shaikh Hamad bin ‘Issa Al Khalifa (King); Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa (Prime Miniser) and Minister of Justice and Islamic Affairs
Action: Letters re arrest of Jalila al-Salman and Mahdi ‘Issa Mahdi Abu Dheeb – President and Vice President of Bahrain Teachers Association. Prisoners of conscience. Action request: Scholars At Risk To:
Action request: NEAR King of Bahrain, Minister of Education, Minister of Justice and Islamic Affairs
Action: Letters re Bahraini students, academics and university staff expelled over pro-democracy protests.
Action request: Amnesty International To:
Action: Letter re detention and prosecution of Maria de Jesus Bravo Pagola (journalist) and Gilberto Martinez Vera (teacher) in relation to material posted on Facebook and Twitter. Accused of terrorism and sabotabe under Veracruz State criminal law.
Colombia Action request: Justice for Colombia To:
Colombian Embassy, Canberra
Action: Letter re arrests of six FENSUAGRO activists (22 June) – arrested as a result of their legitmate trade union activities.
Shaikh Khalifa Bin Salman Al Khalifa, Prime Minister
Action: Letter re arrest and detention of Professor Masaud Jahromi, Chairman Department of Computer Science and Engineering, Ahlia University, Manama, Bahrain. Prisoners of conscience.
Chad Action request: NEAR To:
President of the Republic of Chad, Minister of Justice
Action: Detention and torture of two students Bebkika Passoua Alexis and Nedoumbayel Neakaou in May for carrying pamphlets calling for peaceful anti-Government demonstrations.
Syria Action request: Scholars At Risk To:
Charge d’Affaire, Embassy of the Syrian Arab Republic
Action: Letter re incommunicado detention of Yassin Ziadeh in retaliation for the academic and human rights activities of his brother Radwan Ziadeh (visiting scholar at George Washington University and Founder of the Damascus Centre for Human Rights Studies).
Uganda Action request: Education International To:
Prime Minister, Amama Mbabazi
Action: Letter urging Government to enter into meaningful negotiations with the teachers union – UNATU – on teachers pay and conditions; and to stop intimidation and repression of teachers by Government security agents.
NTEU ADVOCATE vol. 18, no. 3
Action request: Amnesty International
Action request: Amnesty International
Action request: Scholars at Risk
Premier of the PRC
Action: Letter re incommunicado detention and torture of human rights defender, Mao Hengfeng. Released due to ill health 28 July.
Prime Minister, Socialist Republic of Vietnam
Action: Letter re impending trial of prisoner of conscience Professor Pham Minh Hoang (Mathematics Lecturer, Ho Chin Min City Polytechnic Institute). Charged with ‘attempting to overthrow the socialist government’.
Action request: NEAR President Lukashenka
Action: Letter re arrest of Aleksandr Feduta (Lecturer – European Humanities University) in the aftermath of recent Presidential election. He was a member of Vladimir Nekliajev’s presidential election team. Letrer re arrest of Anastassia Palazhanka (political science student and recipient of 2011 International Women of Courage Award) for participating in a ‘mass riot’.
Myanmar (Burma) Action request: Jane Bange, NTEU member, UTAS To:
New Zealand Action request: Tertiary Education Union Vice-Chancellor, University of Auckland
Action: Letter re offer of 4 per cent additional salary and extra week annual leave to non-union staff.
NOVEMBER 2011 www.nteu.org.au
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Supreme Leader, Islamic Republic of Iran
Action: Letter re serious health deterioration of detained student activist, Abdollah Momeni. (Detained since 2009). Mr Momeni has been denied medical attention because of an open letter he addressed to Ayatollah Khamenei regarding physical and psychological mistreatment he received in detention.
Action: Detention of Mr Omid Kokabee (doctoral student and physicist – University of Texas). He was arrested in Iran after visiting his parents. No formal charges against Mr Kokabee have been announced – but he is reportedly accused of communicating with a foreign government and accepting illegal earnings.
To: MYANMAR (BURMA)
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Supreme Leader, Islamic Republic of Iran
Action request: NEAR
Minister of Home Affairs & Minister of Foreign Affairs, Republic of the Union of Myanmar
Action: Letter re imprisonment of political activist, Su Su Nway for putting up anti-Government banner in 2007. Currently serving 8½ year sentence without access to family and medical attention (is suffering from malaria and has congenital heart condition).
Action request: NEAR To:
Leader of the Islamic Republic, President of the Islamic Republic, Office of the Head of Judiciary
Action: Letters re sentencing and imprisonment of Ahmad Ghabel, an Iranian scholar and researcher into the Qu’ran. Known for his strong criticism of the authorities, he was also imprisoned in 2001. Prisoner of conscience. Action request: Scholars at Risk To:
Mr Ramin Zibaei
Action: Letter re arrest of Ramin Zibaei in May 2011, a scholar of psychology and Dean at the Baha’i Institute of Higher Education in Tehran. No clear basis for his arrest and detention. Mr Zibaei’s detention is part of wider attempts by the authorities to exclude Baha’i individuals from higher education.
Obituary: Simone Morrisey, 1987–2011
A bright presence lost from NTEU’s Macquarie Branch S
imone Morrissey started as an organiser with the NTEU Macquarie Branch on Thursday 28 April this year. Simone died on Friday 5 August after suffering a brain aneurysm on the Monday of that week. She never regained consciousness. She was only 24 years old. Simone Morrissey was a superb union organiser – enthusiastic, committed and utterly fearless in her advocacy for workers’ rights. Although young (at least to us in the university sector!), she had already made her mark in the Greens and in a range of student and women’s organisations, as well as with her former employer, the ASU where she inspired and motivated community workers’ engagement with the equal pay campaign. Simone was a fast learner. She quickly picked up on the key NTEU issues, both local and sectoral, and was out talking to members almost as soon as she arrived at Macquarie – pausing only to take a photo of her name on the NTEU office door and proudly send it to all her friends! Members responded very positively to her – she was such a bright, vital presence wherever she went. The many expressions of shock, sadness and sympathy that we received from members in response to the terrible news of Simone’s passing bear
testament to the huge impact she had on the Macquarie Branch in a very short time. My colleague and fellow Green, and friend of Simone, Ben Spies-Butcher, told me of a conversation he had had with her in July. She was lamenting the fact that members still saw her as the ‘new’ organiser, while she felt that she had been there long enough to ‘know the ropes’. Ben gently explained that in academia, time moves differently, and that it would take several years before anyone would think she had been there for any length of time. Even so, it’s hard to believe that she was only with us for three months – it seemed as if she’d been around much longer. Apart from her obvious skills and commitment as an organiser, Simone was a beautiful, funny and feisty character. Our Branch Secretary, Paul McKechnie, says Simone told him about the time she was fired from a juice bar for refusing to wear hot pants and a halter top. Simone would have looked nice in the uniform, but it’s to her credit that she set that rational limit to what she would do to make a dollar. ‘I don’t even know why they hired me in the first place,’ she said, ‘I was grumpy at the interview.’ When Paul heard her tell the story, her thought of saying, ‘They probably hired you for your looks.’ But he held his tongue. The thing was, they could have done – and she would have hated that, even more than she would have hated
wearing hot pants and a halter top for the sake of selling fruit juice. Simone was the kind of union organiser who was ready to give members the comfort they needed, though not always the comfort they wanted. When an middle-aged union man on the railways called her to complain about management promoting a younger woman instead of him, she told him, ‘Get over it, managers are sometimes right.’ Apart from her obvious skills and commitment as an organiser, Simone was a beautiful, funny and feisty character. We quickly established a solid working relationship, and in that the foundations of a really lovely friendship. We had lots in common – not only the Greens and unionism, but also a love of friends and concern for family, and of course our shared passion for knitting and a fondness for a good cup of tea. My personal sense of loss is immense. Simone’s position with us was only temporary, but I was sure that she would go on to develop further in her union work, whether with the NTEU or another union. It seems so cruel that this bright future has been stolen from her, and that she has been stolen from us, at such a tender age. There is no sense in this tragedy, and little comfort in the knowledge that bad things can – and do – happen to good people. The only way to make even a little sense of this is to continue the work for the things Simone was committed to – social justice, fair working conditions, equal rights and a peaceful and sustainable world. For inspiration in that, we need look no further than our memories of this dear, beautiful, brave young woman who no longer walks among us. A Cathy Rytmeister, President, Macquarie Branch This is an edited version of Cathy Rytmeister’s tribute to her, which appeared on the Macquarie Branch blog on August 11. NTEU ADVOCATE vol. 18, no. 3
Obituary: Jenny Austin, 1951–2011
Egalitarian admired for living out her principles I
n her last column for the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) magazine The Advocate, in July 2010, Jenny Austin argued that there had never been a more urgent time for the union movement to educate people about the ‘importance of solidarity’. For over 40 years, her commitment to leftwing politics, feminism and egalitarianism never wavered. She was not the sort who paid lip service to these ideologies - she very much led by example. Her whole life was a lesson in what could be achieved if people refused to be defined by their backgrounds. She proved that a young, working-class, single mother of three small children with little formal education could forge a career and take a university degree. She showed it was possible for a white woman to be a much loved ‘Aunty’ to Aboriginal friends and neighbours. And she put into action her desire for a more equitable world by doing voluntary and low-paid work for marginalised communities. Jennifer Joy Austin was born in Dubbo on 16 March 1951, the middle of five children to John Austin and his wife, Mavis (nee Holland). As Jenny grew up, the family lived in Dubbo, The Rocks and Wollongong. In 1969, while was working as a geriatric nurse at Waterfall Hospital, Jenny married Michael Rogers. Within four years she bore three children. In 1974, the family climbed into their Kombi van and headed north to settle in the Northern Rivers area, but the marriage didn’t last.
NOVEMBER 2011 www.nteu.org.au
Austin had always been interested in writing, so when she met the filmmaker Joan Long, who arrived in the area in the mid1970s to shoot scenes for her feature The Picture Show Man, she showed Long some of her work. Long was hugely encouraging, and that day Austin rang the editor of Grafton’s Daily Examiner. He invited her in for a chat and offered her a job on the spot. Over time, Austin worked at Radio 2GF (Grafton), NRTV News and ABC Local Radio (both Lismore). One highlight was travelling to China with NRTV to produce a documentary about dragon boats which won her a Prodi Award (for local journalism) in 1991. In the last phase of her working life, Austin was employed by Southern Cross University, and was a branch president and councillor for the NTEU while still writing columns for the Northern Star newspaper in Lismore. While Austin was well-known in her district as a journalist and commentator, not long before she died she told a friend that she was much prouder of her community development work in Australia and overseas. Most notably, Austin worked with Australian Volunteers Abroad and, in the late 1990s, spent two years in Cambodia, training
women in journalism and helping to establish the Cambodian Women’s Media Centre. This was a time of ‘political madness’ in Cambodia, including the 1997 coup when the city of Phnom Penh was under siege. Almost all foreign journalists and workers fled, but Austin stayed on despite the danger. Austin also worked in Brisbane, on a documentary that represented a community of Filipino brides that was keen to show that unlike the stereotype, the women were actually strong, intelligent, educated and in charge of their destinies. Austin wanted her three children to expand their horizons and make them better, more compassionate people. She lived with them in Aboriginal communities, and took them to New Zealand and Papua New Guinea. As grandchildren arrived, she became a devoted and loving grandmother. Jenny Austin, who died of breast cancer, is survived by her mother, Mavis, brothers Bob and John, sister Wendy, children, Blake, Jane and Jasmin, and seven grandchildren. A Elizabeth Heath Elizabeth Heath was long-time friend and colleague of Jenny’s. This article originally appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald, 3 October 2011. Reprinted with permission.
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NTEU ONLINE MEMBERSHIP DATABASE Update your details: In order for NTEU to keep you in touch, it is important we have your latest details.
How to check your membership details or download your tax statement online
If any of the following points apply to you, please change your details online or contact us immediately.
MEMBERSHIP DETAILS Have you moved house recently? ÎÎ IF YOU HAVE NOMINATED YOUR HOME ADDRESS AS YOUR NTEU CONTACT ADDRESS, YOU MUST UPDATE IT.
Has your family name changed? Have your workplace details changed? Has your Dept/School had a name change or merged with another? Are you moving to a different institution? ÎÎ TRANSFER OF MEMBERSHIP FROM ONE INSTITUTION TO ANOTHER IS NOT AUTOMATIC.
Have your employment details changed? ÎÎ PLEASE NOTIFY US TO ENSURE YOU ARE PAYING THE CORRECT FEES.
For any of the above membership enquiries, please contact: Melinda Valsorda, Membership Officer ph (03) 9254 1910 email email@example.com
CREDIT CARD/DIRECT DEBIT PAYMENTS Have your credit card (ie expiry date) or direct debit account details changed? ÎÎ PLEASE NOTIFY US IMMEDIATELY.
Are you leaving university employment? ÎÎ IF YOU ARE NO LONGER AN NTEU MEMBER, DEDUCTIONS WILL CONTINUE UNTIL THE NATIONAL OFFICE IS NOTIFIED.
For all credit card and direct debit enquiries, please contact: Tamara Labadze, Finance Officer ph (03) 9254 1910 email firstname.lastname@example.org
PAYROLL DEDUCTION PAYMENTS Have your payroll deductions suddenly stopped without your authority?
1: Click on ‘Member Login’ ID = Your NTEU membership number Password = Your surname in CAPITALS
ÎÎ CONTACT YOUR PAYROLL DEPT URGENTLY.
2: Go to ‘My Home’
Payroll deduction queries should be directed to your Branch or Division office.
3: Select ‘Your Profile’ 4: Select ‘View Details’ (to change personal details) or ‘Print Tax Statement’ (after 1 July)
Annual tax statement: Available for download after 1 July. Statements will not be posted out. 46
NTEU ADVOCATE vol. 18, no. 3
NATIONAL TERTIARY EDUCATION UNION I want to join NTEU I am currently a member and wish to update my details The information on this form is needed for aspects of NTEU’s work and will be treated as confidential.
YOUR PERsONAL DETAILs
|STATE |POSTCODE |MOBILE |DATE Of BIRTH | MALE fEMALE |ARE YOU AUSTRALIAN ABORIGINAL/TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER? YES
CITY/SUBURB PHONE |WORK INCL AREA CODE
HOME PHONE INCL AREA CODE EMAIL HAVE YOU PREVIOUSLY BEEN AN NTEU MEMBER?
YES: AT WHICH INSTITUTION?
YOUR CURRENT EMPLOYMENT DETAILs
|DEPT/SCHOOL |CLASSIfICATION LEVEL LECTB, HEW4
PlEASE USE MY HoME ADDrESS For All MAIlINg
|ANNUAL SALARY If KNOWN
YOUR EMPLOYMENT gROUP
TEACHING & RESEARCH
I hereby apply for membership of NTEU, any Branch and any associated body‡ established at my workplace. SIGNATURE
YOUR EMPLOYMENT CATEgORY AND TERM
CONTINUINg/ fIxED TERM PERMANENT
HoUrS PEr WK
DATE oF ExPIrY
sEssIONAL ACADEMIC gENERAL/PROfEssIONAL sTAff CAsUAL
You may resign by written notice to the Division or Branch Secretary. Where you cease to be eligible to become a member, resignation shall take effect on the date the notice is received or on the day specified in your notice, whichever is later. In any other case, you must give at least two weeks notice. Members are required to pay dues and levies as set by the Union from time to time in accordance with NTEU rules. Further information on financial obligations, including a copy office use only: Membership no. of the rules, is available from your Branch.
If YOU ARE CAsUAL/sEssIONAL, COMPLETE PAYMENT OPTION 4 ONLY
If YOU ARE fULL TIME OR PART TIME, PLEAsE COMPLETE EITHER PAYMENT OPTION 1, 2 OR 3
Membership fees = 1% of gross annual salary
OPTION 1: PAYROLL DEDUCTION AUTHORITY
office use only: % of salary deducted
I INSErT YoUr NAME
| STAff PAYROLL NO.
Of YoUr ADDrESS HEREBY AUTHORISE INSTITUTIoN
OPTION 2: CREDIT CARD
— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —
OPTION 3: DIRECT DEBIT
QUARTERLY HALf-YEARLY ANNUALLY
$10,000 & under: $10,001–$20,000: Over $20,000:
$27.50 $38.50 $55
$55 $77 $110
PLEAsE ACCEPT MY CHEqUE/MONEY ORDER OR CREDIT CARD: MAsTERCARD vIsA
I hereby authorise the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) APCA User ID No.062604 to arrange for funds to be debited from my/our account at the financial institution identified and in accordance with the terms described in the Direct Debit request (DDr) Service Agreement
Full text of DDR available at www.nteu.org.au/ddr
REGULARITY Of PAYMENT:
BRANCH NAME & ADDRESS
MONTHLY QUARTERLY HALf-YEARLY ANNUALLY
5% DIsCOUNT fOR ANNUAL DIRECT DEBIT
CARD NUMBER — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —
Processed on the 15th of the month or following working day
I INSErT YoUr NAME
Choose your salary range. Select 6 month or 1 year membership. Tick the appropriate box. Pay by cheque, money order or credit card.
NAME ON CARD
I hereby authorise the Merchant to debit my Card account with the amount and at intervals specified above and in the event of any change in the charges for these goods/ services to alter the amount from the appropriate date in accordance with such change. This authority shall stand, in respect of the above specified Card and in respect of any Card issued to me in renewal or replacement thereof, until I notify the Merchant in writing of its cancellation. Standing Authority for recurrent Periodic Payment by Credit Card.
| MASTERCARD VISA |PAYMENT: MONTHLY
I hereby authorise the Institution or its duly authorised servants and agents to deduct from my salary by regular instalments, dues and levies (as determined from time to time by the Union), to NTEU or its authorised agents. All payments on my behalf and in accordance with this authority shall be deemed to be payments by me personally. This authority shall remain in force until revoked by me in writing. I also consent to my employer supplying NTEU with updated information relating to my employment status.
OPTION 4: CAsUAL/sEssIONAL ONLY 1. 2. 3. 4.
Processed on the 16th of the month or following working day
NAME ON CARD CARD NO.
|MAIL/ BLDG CODE MONTH NExT | INCREMENT DUE
Description of goods/services: NTEU Membership Dues. To: NTEU, Po Box 1323, Sth Melbourne VIC 3205
‡Associated bodies: NTEU (NSW); University of Qld Academic Staff Association (Union of Employees) at UQ; Union of Australian College Academics (WA Branch) Industrial Union of Workers at Edith Cowan University & Curtin University; Curtin University Staff Association (Inc.) at Curtin University; Staff Association of Edith Cowan University (Inc.) at ECU
NTEU National Office PO Box 1323, South Melbourne VIC 3205 T (03) 9254 1910 F (03) 9254 1915 E email@example.com
Contacting NTEU . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
office phone fax email website
PO Box 1323, South Melbourne, VIC 3205 (03) 9254 1910 (03) 9254 1915 firstname.lastname@example.org www.nteu.org.au
1st Fl, 120 Clarendon St, Southbank, VIC 3006
PO Box 3114, Broadway LPO Nedlands, WA 6009 (08) 6365 4188 (08) 9354 1629 email@example.com www.nteu.org.au/wa
PO Box U371, CDU, Darwin, NT 0815 (08) 8946 7231 (08) 8927 9410 firstname.lastname@example.org www.nteu.org.au/nt
4 Briggs Street, Taringa, QLD 4068 (07) 3362 8200 (07) 3371 7817 email@example.com www.nteu.org.au/qld
Ground Floor, Palais Apartment Complex, 281 North Tce, Adelaide SA 5000 (08) 8227 2384 (08) 8227 0997 firstname.lastname@example.org www.nteu.org.au/sa
Level 1, 55 Holt St, Surry Hills, NSW 2010 (02) 8066 6600 (02) 8066 6677 email@example.com www.nteu.org.au/nsw
NATIONAL OFFICE STAFF Officers & Central Resources Unit Executive Officer – President . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Andrea Sauvarin Executive Officer – General Secretary. . . . . . . . . Anastasia Kotaidis IT Manager . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Michael Riley ICT System Administrator/Help Desk. . . . . . . . . . Tam Vuong Executive Officer – Meetings & Events . . . . . . . . Tracey Coster Administrative Officer – Reception. . . . . . . . . . . . Renee Veal
1st Fl, 120 Clarendon St, Southbank, VIC 3006 (03) 9254 1930 (03) 9254 1935 firstname.lastname@example.org www.nteu.org.au/vic
Policy & Research Unit Policy & Research Unit Coordinator.. . . . . . . . . . Paul Kniest Policy & Research Officers. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Terri MacDonald Jen Tsen-Kwok
Indigenous Unit National Indigenous Coordinator. . . . . . . . . . . . . Adam Frogley National Indigenous Organiser. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Celeste Liddle
Recruitment & Training Unit National Organiser. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Michael Evans National Publications Coordinator. . . . . . . . . . . . Paul Clifton National Media Officer. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Andrew Nette Membership Records Officer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Melinda Valsorda Administrative Officer. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Julie-Ann Veal
Finance Unit Finance Unit Coordinator. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Jenny Savage Finance Officers. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Gracia Ho, Joanne Dunn, Alex Ghvaladze, Tamara Labadze, Lee Powell, Sonia Uthuppu
G Block, Old Admin Area, McDonald Place, ANU, Acton, ACT 0200 (02) 6125 2043 ANU/ADFA/ACU (02) 6201 5355 UC (02) 6125 8137 email@example.com www.nteu.org.au/act
Industrial Unit Industrial Unit Coordinator (Acting).. . . . . . . . . . Peter Summers Senior Industrial Officer (Strategy & Policy). . . . Ken McAlpine Industrial Officer. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Michelle Rangott Industrial Support Officer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Philippa Noakes
Private Bag 101, University of Tasmania, Hobart, TAS 7001 (03) 6226 7575 (03) 6226 2172 firstname.lastname@example.org www.nteu.org.au/tasmania
NATIONAL EXECUTIVE National President. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Jeannie Rea Vice-President (Academic). . . . . . . . . . . . Gregory McCarthy SA Div Vice-President (General). . . . . . . . . . . . . . Gabe Gooding UWA General Secretary. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Grahame McCulloch National Assistant Secretary. . . . . . . . . . Matthew McGowan Executive Members Lyn Bloom WA Div Derek Corrigan ANU Tony Gilding NT Div Kelvin Michael Tas Div Colin Long Vic Div Terry Mason UWS Neil Mudford ACT Div Kevin Rouse SA Div
Andrew Bonnell UQ John Fitzsimmons CQU Genevieve Kelly NSW Div Margaret Lee Qld Div Virginia Mansel Lees La Trobe Helen Masterman-Smith CSU Susan Price UNSW Michael Thomson Sydney
Indigenous Executive Member. . . . . . . . . Jillian Miller UniSA
NTEU ADVOCATE vol. 18, no. 3
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Driving student recruitment through your social media strategy
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Benefits of attending:
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