Advocate vol. 20 no. 1 • March 2013 • www.nteu.org.au • ISSN 1329-7295
The future of teaching NTEU National Teaching Conference ɓɓFirst Agreements signed ɓɓTAFE cuts continue to bite ɓɓUSyd & UNE industrial action ɓɓJoan Hardy scholarship winner ɓɓBecome a Democracy Advocate
ɓɓGame On: 2013 Federal Election ɓɓVET and Higher Education ɓɓAiming for equality ɓɓUniversity Councils under threat ɓɓOur universities are still sexist
ɓɓDomestic violence an industrial issue ɓɓTime to rethink Fiji ɓɓMiddle Kingdom higher education ɓɓAleppo University bombing ɓɓ...and much more.
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A new look Advocate ready for a bumper year Editorial, Jeannie Rea
Limits of international league tables From the General Secretary
Advocate ISSN 1321-8476 Published by National Tertiary Education Union ABN 38 579 396 344 Publisher Grahame McCulloch Editor Jeannie Rea Production Paul Clifton Editorial Assistance Anastasia Kotaidis Feedback, advertising and other enquiries: firstname.lastname@example.org All text and images © NTEU 2013 unless otherwise stated.
Cover image ‘The Future of Teaching’, by Paul Clifton/Yuri Arcurs
Advocate is available online as a PDF at www.nteu.org.au/advocate and an e-book at www.issuu.com/nteu NTEU members may opt for ‘soft delivery’ (email notification rather than mailed printed copy). Details at www.nteu.org.au/softfdelivery
Outsourcing leads to chaos in Adult & Community sector
Draft Bill will legislate homophobia
NTEU celebrates 20 years
USYD & UNE members vote for industrial action
Bargaining update & State of Play
College of Law staff reject retrograde management Agreement
Base Funding Review: the Clayton’s response
Joan Hardy Scholarship winner
Defence Trade Controls Act
16 Election 2013: Shaping our sector This election could significantly shape the direction of our sector for decades to come.
9 UniSuper Stakeholder Forum
17 NTEU welcomes UA campaign
10 QUTE ready for 2013
18 Contesting the contestability of tertiary education funding
Research into implications of ERA
NAISDA Agreement signed
11 My Country, underwater 12 TAFE cuts continue to bite
Honouring Victorian TAFE reps
13 Become a Democracy Advocate INDIGENOUS NEWS 14 IHEAC becomes ATSIHEAC
Numerical targets in Agreements
15 Indigenous employment and respect: a low priority for UniMelb
Indigenous membership strong
COLUMNS In accordance with NTEU policy to reduce our impact on the natural environment, Advocate is printed on Behaviour – a 30% recycled stock, manufactured by a PEFC Certified mill, and ECF Certified Chlorine Free.
26 Our universities are still sexist
38 Organising casuals in the US News from the Net, by Pat Wright 39 On your marks, get set... go low brow Lowering the Boom, by Ian Lowe 40 You and your research CV Research Whisperer, Tseen Khoo
Are the objectives of VET and higher education merging or becoming more distinctive?
20 Building a progressive policy agenda The ACTU is working with community organisations to stage a National Community Summit.
21 Confronting insecure employment Adam Bandt MP is seeking improvements for Australian workers in insecure employment.
22 Converting Councils to boards of directors Victoria has stripped university Councils of their elected staff and student representatives.
23 At the chalkface Jeannie Rea reflects on the teaching environment her daughter will experience as a first year student in 2013.
24 Aiming for equality The Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Amendment Bill reflects a new focus on improving gender equality in the workplace.
The latest Gender Indicators from the ABS do not paint a strong enough picture for gender equity.
27 Domestic violence is an industrial issue The theme for International Women’s Day on 8 March 2013 was ‘A promise is a promise: Time for action to end violence against women’.
28 Beyond the cyber-cell Richard Hil muses on university campuses of the future largely bereft of students.
30 Paying more for less 2013 is a game-changing year for students in Australia, says Jade Tyrell, NUS President.
32 The key to achieving our vision Nour Dados talks local level organising.
33 Time to rethink Fiji This year, the ACTU wants Australians thinking about travelling to Fiji to know the facts.
34 Middle Kingdom higher education China has the largest higher education system in the world, with a total investment in research that will soon exceed the United States.
36 High death toll in Aleppo University bombing At least 87 people have been reported killed in two explosions at Aleppo University in northern Syria in January.
41 Polytechnics suffer under NZ Govt Letter from New Zealand/Aotearoa, Lesley Francey, TEU YOUR UNION 42 Celebrating two decades of NTEU 43 Advocating to members for 20 years 44 New member benefits program
Jenny Austin memorial seat
46 New staff in NTEU offices
Updating your member details
47 National Teaching Conference NTEU ADVOCATE • vol. 20 no. 1 • March 2013 • www.nteu.org.au/advocate • page 1
Editorial Jeannie Rea, National President
A new look Advocate ready for a bumper year
CONTACT INFORMATION National Office PO Box 1323, Sth Melbourne VIC 3205 1st floor, 120 Clarendon St, Sth Melbourne phone (03) 9254 1910 fax (03) 9254 1915 email email@example.com website www.nteu.org.au Division Offices NTEU has a Division Office in every State & Territory capital city. Contact details at www.nteu.org.au/divisions Branch Offices NTEU has Branches for every part of the sector and Branch Offices at most universities. Contact details at www.nteu.org.au/branches
NATIONAL EXECUTIVE National President Vice-President (Academic Staff) Vice-President (General Staff)
Jeannie Rea Kelvin Michael Lynda Davies
General Secretary National Assistant Secretary
Grahame McCulloch Matthew McGowan
National Executive: Andrew Bonnell, Linda Cecere, Stephen Darwin, Gabe Gooding, Ryan Hsu, Genevieve Kelly, John Kenny, Margaret Lee, Colin Long, Virginia Mansel Lees, Kevin Rouse, John Sinclair, Jan Sinclair-Jones, Melissa Slee, Michael Thomson, Lolita Wikander Indigenous Member/IPC Chair
NATIONAL OFFICE STAFF Industrial Unit Coordinator Sarah Roberts National Industrial Officers Wayne Cupido, Susan Kenna, Elizabeth McGrath Industrial/General Admin Support Officer Miin Yeo Policy & Research Coordinator Paul Kniest Policy & Research Officers Jen Tsen Kwok, Terri MacDonald Indigenous Coordinator Indigenous Organiser
Adam Frogley Celeste Liddle
National Organiser Michael Evans Media Officer Carmel Shute National Publications Coordinator Paul Clifton Education & Training Officers Ken McAlpine, Helena Spyrou Finance Unit Coordinator Jenny Savage Senior Finance Officer Gracia Ho Finance Officers Alex Ghvaladze, Tamara Labadze, Lee Powell, Sonia Uthuppu, Daphne Zhang Executive Manager Peter Summers Executive Officer (General Secretary) Anastasia Kotaidis Executive Officer (Administration) Tracey Coster Administrative Officer (Resources) Renee Veal Administrative Officer (Membership & Campaigns) Julie Ann Veal National Membership Officer Melinda Valsorda ICT Network Engineer Tam Vuong Payroll Officer Jo Riley Receptionist & Administrative Support Leanne Foote National Growth Organisers
Gaurav Nanda, Priya Nathan, Rifai Abdul
The Federal Election date has been set and the Labor Government is falling towards it. A couple of days before the announcement, the Government, after sitting on the university Base Funding Review for 15 months, announced that there would be no new increase in CSP funding. NTEU and advocates across the sector have consistently called for a modest 10 per cent increase recommended by the Bradley Report. And by the end of that week Higher Education Minister Evans had resigned. Senator Evans had overseen a raft of legislation and funding restoration following the Howard Coalition Government’s attacks on higher education. However, the consequences of the base funding gap, as many more students enrol in universities, mean that there continues to be insufficient funds for the basics. Nothing can be more basic than staff to teach and support students’ learning needs. Yet casual and short term contracts, along with out of control workloads for ongoing staff, are the norm rather than exception. Unfortunately, even where increases in public investment have been promised to higher education, each time there is fiscal review, higher education is targeted. The new Minister, Chris Bowen now has the responsibility to redress the funding shortfall. The new students entering university should have the same opportunities for a quality education and success as previous generations of university students (see article, p. 7). In a recent speech, the Opposition Leader Tony Abbott, while noting that ‘universities are the embodiment of the liberal tradition’, made it clear that higher education cannot expect further investment from a Coalition Government. He also claimed that ‘higher education is one area where government’s role is more to be a respectful listener than a hands-on manager’. However, the spectre of the HEWRRs has not faded in our memories. The ACTU ‘Secure Jobs. Better Future’ campaign is a key election focus for us. In just ten years the proportion of university staff in continuing positions dropped by 10 per
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cent. This means that today just over one third of people working in universities are in continuing employment. On the latest analysis of the workforce data supplied by universities there are around 45,000 fixed term positions and 86,000 ‘regular casuals’. Most of these ‘regular casuals’ are the academics responsible for more than half of the teaching. Research positions have doubled for academic and general staff, but are now more than likely to be fixed term. Rolling contracts on ‘soft money’, (non-recurrent grants) are also common in language centres, student support and digital technology areas. After taking on the responsibility of advocating for the sector with our ‘Invest In Australia’s Future, Invest In Our Universities’ campaign, the NTEU has welcomed the decision of Universities Australia (UA) to invest in a campaign advocating higher education. Smarter Australia: an agenda for Australian higher education 2013-16 was recently released focussing upon profiling Australia’s comparative advantage in higher education. The NTEU shares UA’s view that it is important for all Australians to better understand the significant economic and social contributions universities make to Australian society (see article, p. 17). With well over a million students in higher education, there are many, many voters with an interest in and connection with higher education. There is also much commentary about the content and quality of university teaching. There was never a better time for the NTEU to intervene in this sectoral and public discourse. Our first National Teaching Conference on 4–5 April will provide us with the opportunity to delve deeply and expertly into our practice and perspectives and into the policies and politics (see articles, pp. 23, 38 & 47). There are articles following through on all of these matters and more in this first edition of a new look Advocate, which marks the 20th anniversary of both the magazine and the Union (see articles, pp. 42-3). I hope you enjoy reading it and we always appreciate your feedback. Jeannie Rea, National President firstname.lastname@example.org
From the General Secretary Grahame McCulloch, General Secretary
Limits of international league tables The recent announcement that six Australian universities were in the Top 100 under the 2013 Times Higher Education World Reputation Rankings is a reminder that the growth of a managerial, performance and measurement culture in universities is a global phenomenon. The early 1960s through to the early 1990s saw the rise of mass higher education in most rich countries mainly through well funded public systems (with notable Japanese and Korean exceptions). Although egalitarian impulses underpinned much of this expansion, mass systems retained recognisable hierarchies and stratification based primarily on a premium for research intensity. As the turn of the century approached, higher education growth slowed and resources became scarcer across most of the OECD countries. This triggered increased managerial authority, an expanded role for private effort and markets, a growth in accountability and performance indicators and a gradual erosion of tenure and academic autonomy. A countervailing tendency has seen, some developing countries experience rapid growth and the emergence of embryonic mass higher education systems. This rapid growth reflects a strong preoccupation with science, technology, R&D and the direct economic role of universities (particularly in Asia). Today there are nearly 180 million higher education students across the world in more than 17,000 institutions with over 11 million staff. These numbers are expected to double over the next 20 years mainly in Asia and Latin America. Annual global higher education trade and flows involve 2.5 million students (worth around $100 billion), and this trade is underpinned by regional trade blocs dominated by US, Canada, UK, Australia and Europe. Standardised regional/national accreditation, qualifications and quality assurance frameworks encourage global mobility and recognition. As the world economic balance of power shifts, selected universities in the currently rich countries (including Australia) are seeking a larger share of world expansion through offshore and joint ventures
and research collaboration. Emerging countries are seeking to drive domestic expansion through national strategy and mixes of public and private investment (including the import of foreign capital, expertise and technical systems).
The role of university ranking systems Against this backdrop, the last decade has seen a proliferation of international university ranking systems. Unlike global measurement instruments for schools and vocational education (developed and administered centrally by the OECD), most university rankings are produced by media companies or specialist arms of university research centres. Typically, rankings are focused on individual institutions (and not systems) and weighted indicators usually include undergraduate and postgraduate enrolments, research grants and endowments, public and private funding, student/staff ratios, graduate rates, research citations and prizes/awards. Measurement of teaching and research quality is dependent on proxies (mainly metrics and reputational surveys) and league tables are produced using standardisation, aggregation into a single score and an ordinal scale based on the top ranked institutions. In rich countries rankings are increasingly used by governments and universities in domestic policy debate and in marketing, trade and promotion (particularly in North and South East Asia), while in emerging and developing countries they are prominent as bench marks for the development of domestic institutions and systems. Most observers agree that international rankings directly affect institutional behaviour, but only indirectly affect student choice (and then only high achieving student choice). The perils and problems of rankings have been well canvassed in the international debate – the misinterpretation or misuse of data by national governments and institutions (including confusion between causation and correlation) the dangers of simplistic tables based on single standardised scores and the limits of mathematical language. And of course, reliance on scores and metrics has a tendency to undermine qualitative and organisational quality assurance measures, and to encourage ‘gaming’ and manipulation of metrics.
The two most influential systems – the Times Higher Education (THE) Rankings and the Shanghai Jiao Tong Academic Rank of World Universities (ARWU) – are heavily weighted in favour of research intensity, at around 90% (ARWU) and 75% (THE). At a wider level both systems actually reflect the prestige, high selectivity in student enrolments and staff appointments, economic resources and global reach of the listed universities. While this is an important proxy for the international weight of university systems around the world, it is not able and does not aspire to reflect the huge diversity of institutions and systems (large and small, teaching intensity, access and equality, three and four year programs, and cultural context). They cannot be taken as a guide or benchmark for national system development.
An international union response Our international education trade union federation – Education International (EI) – is deeply involved in this debate. There is an emerging EI consensus that mass higher education systems depend on high quality information and feedback for national and international students, and this requires some consistent ability to compare the characteristics social/educational objectives of universities within and across national borders. While this is a pre-condition for informed student choice, it can only be successful if the aggregation of national and international cross-institutional comparative data is carefully modelled and selected to prevent arbitrary and counterproductive league tables. Some of the better options are emerging within the European Union under the auspices of U-Map and multi-ranking systems without single league tables. Grahame McCulloch, General Secretary email@example.com This column is based on a seminar debate between Grahame McCulloch and the Editor of the Times Higher Education Rankings, Phil Baty, held in London on 30 January 2013. The full presentation is available at www.nteu.org.au/ei_uni_rankings Times Higher Education World Reputation Rankings www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/ world-university-rankings
NTEU ADVOCATE • vol. 20 no. 1 • March 2013 • www.nteu.org.au/advocate • page 3
Update Outsourcing leads to chaos in Adult & Community sector The Adult and Community Sector has a very important role in servicing local communities’ needs in relevant training and education. Most community education centres have extremely tight budgets and run on a shoe string. Last year the sector saw further changes to how the Community and Adult Education sector is administered and funded. The Victorian State Government has outsourced the financial assessment of the registration to a private company. Centres are now required to load all their financial reporting information to a central portal. To add to the frustration of our members, the number of staff in the Government department that administers community education, which was severely cut in the State Budget, is overworked and unable to respond adequately to the needs of the sector. This year’s start to teaching and training programs for students began with even more uncertainty with the vast majority of
providers unaware if they were going to receive funding or not. The funding round should have been completed in late 2012. The problem is the annual registration process, now all online, not adequately supported by real staff and outsourced by the Victorian State Government to a company called Corporate Scorecard. The portal was unable to keep pace with the volume and complexity of the applications from the centres. There were reports to the NTEU that the site was often unreliable and not working, in particular over the holiday season. With the uncertainty of not being registered, many centres had little choice but to delay programs or move financial resources from another area to prop up their programs. This greatly affected the students and staff who were caught up in the middle of this State Government inflicted nightmare. The NTEU finds this unacceptable and says the Victorian State Government should take responsibility for their staff and provide adequate financial and human resources to fix the problem. This will ensure that a calamity of this scale does not occur again. We will continue to campaign for better resourcing of the sector. Rob Binnie, Industrial Officer, Community and Adult Education Sector Please feel free to contact me to share your local stories about the registration issue and the sector. firstname.lastname@example.org
NTEU celebrates 20 years Formed by amalgamation in 1993, the NTEU reaches its 20th anniversary this year. To celebrate we’ve updated our logo and, for 2013 only, added a ‘20 years’ birthday badge. The Union will be organising a range of celebrations throughout the year, culminating in a big bash at the 20th National Council in October. See full 20th anniversary report on p. 42, as well as a look back at twenty volumes of Advocate on p. 43.
NTEU says draft Bill will legislate homophobia in the workplace NTEU publicly warned that the current draft of the Human Rights and AntiDiscrimination Bill 2012 will legislate homophobia in many Australian workplaces, as well as discriminating against ‘unmarried’ mothers and many others. NTEU wrote to the Attorney-General objecting to the religious exceptions in the draft Bill. In a media release, National President Jeannie Rea explained that the exceptions currently in the draft Bill were an offence to human rights and anti-discrimination principles. She claimed that it is a terrible irony that a Bill designed to eliminate discrimination could end up entrenching it, especially for employees of religious organisations. Exceptions related to religion allow workers of diverse sexualities and genders to be treated unfairly in church-run hospitals, schools, universities, charities, employment services and retirement homes. Many of these organisations are publicly funded and the expectation of the community is that this funding be accompanied by a social responsibility and respect for human and workplace rights. The NTEU argued that the religious exceptions in the draft Bill represent a fundamental undermining of workers’ rights, since they allow discrimination on the basis of individuals’ status as workers. In the case of universities, discrimination of any kind is contrary to principles of free enquiry and academic freedom, which the current Federal Government legislated to protect. The acts establishing the Australian Catholic University in the various states, for instance, prevent discrimination towards students on the basis of religion. The effect of the Bill would be to permit discrimination towards staff. NTEU noted that the intent of harmonisation of the human rights and anti-discrimination legislation across Australia should be to produce the best possible outcome, not to sanction prejudice and reintroduce discrimination. Jeannie Rea, National President
page 4 • NTEU ADVOCATE • vol. 20 no. 1 • March 2013 • www.nteu.org.au/advocate
Update USyd & UNE members vote for industrial action NTEU members at both the University of Sydney and the University of New England (UNE) have voted overwhelmingly in favour of industrial action in an effort to defend key conditions and advance claims designed to address important issues facing many of us in the sector, including clearer regulation of workloads, reducing casualisation, improving job security and securing genuine consultation around change. For the University of Sydney, this will mean a 24 hour strike on 7 March and may mean further strikes on 19 and 20 March if management refuse to sign a ‘Heads of Agreement’. Over 92 per cent of voters in the protected industrial action ballot supported a 24-hour stop work. ‘This is the first strike in a decade and shows just how riled members are at management’s arrogance and its lack of
commitment to the enterprise bargaining process,’ said Sydney University Branch President, Michael Thomson. The issue for Sydney members has been management’s refusal to genuinely engage with the concerns staff have raised at the bargaining table. Instead, management have tabled proposals that would strip key conditions from the Enterprise Agreement. ‘We logged our enterprise bargaining claims on 7 August last year. Management took ages to respond. Its main thrust since has been a serious attack on working conditions. While management has now backed down on removing protections around intellectual freedom, it is still offering less job security, wants to reduce sick leave entitlements, cut workload and work hour provisions, and cut requirements to properly classify general staff positions,’ Thomson said. ‘Management is refusing to limit the numbers of casuals and is trying to wind-back provisions for fixed-term staff to convert to ongoing positions. It wants to reduce obligations to consult around workplace change, remove all commitments to prevent and eliminate discriminatory employment practices and do away with restrictions on general staff having to work regular overtime.’ While management’s agenda appears to be to roll back previously won conditions that are standard across our sector, NTEU members at Sydney University are keen to work on a new Agreement that addresses some of the problems facing higher education, including tackling high levels of casualisation. ‘A big part of the claims the NTEU is taking into the current round of bargaining is
about the composition of the academic workforce. We’re arguing that 80 per cent of all the face-to-face teaching that is done [at Sydney University] by casuals ought to be converted into teaching that is done by people with ongoing employment,’ said Kurt Iveson, NTEU bargaining team representative. ‘The creation of these positions is all about making sure that the University of Sydney can both attract and invest in the next generation of academics, by providing jobs with security, decent working conditions and career progression.’ Career development and progression opportunities for general staff are also high on the NTEU agenda. ‘Our claims around general staff development and mobility are about creating a transparent, accountable and fair system for staff to access training and development,’ said Laura Wilson, NTEU bargaining team representative. ‘It’s definitely a more cost-effective solution for the University than to constantly seek to outsource, to make people redundant, or to bring new staff in when they have a fabulous staff here they can support and develop.’ These issues, and the wider bargaining campaign, are resonating with staff: 85 delegates hit the phones during the protected industrial action ballot urging members to vote, and over 150 members have already signed up for picket line duty. Since the log of claims was served on 7 August last year, over 320 members have joined NTEU University of Sydney Branch. www.nteu.org.au/sydney
Below: Members vote at Sydney. Photo: Kate Barnsley
NTEU ADVOCATE • vol. 20 no. 1 • March 2013 • www.nteu.org.au/advocate • page 5
Update First Round 6 university Agreements signed Round 6 bargaining is well under way, with new Agreements having been reached at Curtin University of Technology and Central Queensland University.
At both institutions payrises of at least 4% per year were achieved, together with a suite of improvements in conditions.
Respect. Recognition. Reward.
Bargaining is also progressing well at many other sites. However, at both the University of Sydney and the University of New England, members have already voted to approve industrial action to force management to a more reasonable position in bargaining. Members at these institutions are planning industrial action early in the first semester 2013 (see article p.7). Sarah Roberts, National Industrial Coordinator
I support NTEU’s bargaining campaign.
It’s our Agreement – join NTEU to have a say! Find out more at
www.universitybargaining.org.au Authorised by Grahame McCulloch, General Secretary, National Tertiary Education Union, PO Box 1323, Sth Melbourne VIC 3205 email@example.com www.nteu.org.au
Round 6 Bargaining - State of Play Status
Approval Date by Nat. Exec.
Salary Increase (flat)
Staff development fund
Internal advertising of positions
Employment strategy / targets
Removal of age-based limits
Notes and special features
Indigenous employment target and Monitoring Committee contained in Memorandum of Understanding
Indigenous employment target contained in Memorandum of Understanding
Increase compounded Annual Expiry to expiry wage growth Payrise to payrise
Casuals Scholarly Teaching Fellows Academic Workloads Hours-based cap on teaching General Staff Claims
Protected action ballot held; Industrial action planned.
Industrial action KEY: Claim achieved ✔ Claim rejected or stalled ✖
Claim under serious negotiation ? Claim largely settled with some detail in dispute ✔?
page 6 • NTEU ADVOCATE • vol. 20 no. 1 • March 2013 • www.nteu.org.au/advocate
Protected action ballot held; Industrial action planned.
Enterprise Bar gai
ning College of Law
Update College of Law staff reject retrograde management Agreement Staff at the College of Law, the largest provider of practical legal training in Australasia, have struck a blow against an unfair Enterprise Agreement. On 15 January, staff overwhelmingly rejected the management proposed Agreement in a resounding 89 to 40 no vote. NTEU Branch President, Michael Holland, said that College of Law management decided in December to put its draft Enterprise Agreement to staff for approval, despite the fact that agreement had not
yet been reached with the NTEU.
‘All in all, the proposed Agreement was retrograde. It radically reduced staff rights and entitlements, under the guise of providing a simple Agreement that was easy for staff to understand.’
‘Management wanted to introduce a perforto save your mance pay system, conditions an d protect your moving away from annual salary set annual salary increase. increases and www.nteu.or g.au/nsw/col abolishing the automatic increHolland said manageFor more inf ormation, vis it www.nteu.org .au/nsw/col mental increase ment draft agreement staff receive on was a far cry from the the anniversary current Agreement apof their employment. It wasn’t proved by staff in 2010. clear how performance would be assessed ‘The NTEU opposed the draft Agreement and implemented—the proposed at the bargaining table and actively Agreement did not outline any specific campaigned against the it. We were natuperformance measurement process, which rally pleased when staff overwhelmingly would have made it difficult for staff to rejected it,’ he said. ‘Staff at the College of enforce their rights,’ Holland said. Law are keen to get back to the table to ‘In the initial tabled Agreement, lecturer bargain for an Agreement that values the workloads were to be increased by 20%, contribution staff make to the College of without a proper workload study or Law, and treats staff fairly.’ consultation. Management also proposed The College of Law prepares law gradto strip staff rights relating to consultation uates for admission to practice and when managing change in the workplace offers postgraduate specialised degree and consultation in dispute resolution – by programs and continuing professional deapplication of the Government’s model velopment seminars and workshops. It has clauses in these areas. Although some of campuses in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane the rights were restored after negotiations, and Perth (as well as New Zealand). in the final proposed Agreement, the model clauses remained and lecturer workloads www.nteu.org.au/col were increased by between 6% –14%. Authorised by
Base Funding Review: the Claytons response
NTEU NSW Division
it would commission a more detailed review of higher education funding.
What does a Government do after two major reviews over a three year period that provide the evidence and the inescapable conclusion that funding per government-supported university students needs to increase by at least 10 per cent on average? The answer, according to John Ross (‘Death by Review’, The Australian, 30 January 2013) is that it sits on the report for 15 months and releases its formal response on the a public holiday while the country is afflicted by floods in the north and fires in the south. It was early in 2008 that then Education Minister Julia Gillard announced the Review of Australian Higher Education to be chaired by Professor Denise Bradley. Amongst the many recommendations in the final report released in December 2008 was one that called for a 10 per cent increase in funding per government-supported student. While the Government adopted many of the Bradley Review recommendations in its May 2009 ‘Transforming Australian Higher Education’ policy initiatives, including the introduction of the demand driven system, it did not adopt the recommendation for a 10 per cent increase in funding but indicated that
After more than an 18 month delay, Dr Jane Lomax-Smith was eventually asked to chair a review of university base funding with the final report being released in November 2011. The evidence presented in the Base Funding Review essentially reaffirmed the Bradley findings that current funding clusters did not reflect the real costs of educating students and that universities were underfunded to educate government-supported students. In its formal response to the Base Funding Review findings and 29 recommendations released on 28 January, the Federal Government: • Rejected 17 recommendations: five being noted, three requiring no further action, and eight not being accepted. • Accepted 7 recommendations of which five maintained the status quo and two had already been implemented. • P artially accepted 6 recommendations which had already been implemented, referred to another department or reflected current Government policy. In other words, the Government’s formal response to the Bradley and Base Funding Reviews is a Clayton’s response – that is, the response you have when you’re not having a response. Paul Kniest, NTEU Policy & Research Coordinator www.nteu.org.au/basefundingreview
NTEU ADVOCATE • vol. 20 no. 1 • March 2013 • www.nteu.org.au/advocate • page 7
Update Joan Hardy Scholarship winner passionate about mental health nursing
‘My husband and three children will also appreciate the opportunity for me to use this scholarship to reduce my teaching and administrative load and focus on getting my PhD completed.’
Remembering Joan Hardy NTEU established the Scholarship in 2007 in memory of the late Joan Hardy, who died in 2003.
Murdoch University lecturer Irene Ikafa (pictured, right) has been awarded the 2013 Joan Hardy Scholarship for postgraduate nursing research. Irene is completing a PhD on the impact of resettlement experiences on the mental health of African migrants in WA, and evaluating current support services. Before migrating to Australia in 1997, Irene studied and worked as a mental health nurse in her native Zambia. She then completed a Bachelor of Science and a Masters of Science at Curtin University while working in mental health nursing at various WA hospitals. She has been a full-time lecturer at Murdoch since 2008. A traumatic childhood experience involving the headmaster of the school where her father taught is what led her to mental health nursing. ‘Since then I have been passionate about advocating for people who are not treated well by society generally, and who in most instances are without a voice,’ Irene said. Irene said that there are some differences in the experiences of refugees forced out of their country because of ethnic or political persecution, and those of voluntary migrants. ‘Many refugees have had traumatic experiences living in refugee camps. They mostly have not had educational opportunities, and the culture shock of moving to a totally different world such as Australia makes it very hard for them to adapt, and often leads to resettlement problems.’ The issues facing migrants are centred around racial discrimination generally, particularly around finding suitable employment. But there are common positive factors among both groups. ‘There are high levels of resilience because of the suffering they have been through, and high expectations about being able to make a better life,’ Irene said, although those expectations not being fulfilled can exacerbate any existing mental health issues.
Irene is appreciative of receiving the NTEU Scholarship, which she hopes will assist her in being able to finish her PhD on schedule in 2013. ‘I have a very heavy workload – lecturing, tutoring, co-ordinating the Unit, and dealing with a range of university committees and other administrative tasks. While I have been studying my family life has suffered, as I have needed to spend many nights and weekends working on my thesis.
Joan Hardy was active in higher education unionism for over 30 years, during which time she held many positions at local and state levels. She was the first woman President of UACA (one of the predecessors to NTEU) a position she occupied for five years. Joan was a tireless advocate for union amalgamation and was a key negotiator in the formation of NTEU, becoming Vice-President when the Union was formed in 1993. The Joan Hardy Scholarship for post-graduate nursing research recognises the contributions Joan made to higher education and higher education unionism. Michael Evans, National Organiser Elite Editing has launched a $6,000 Scholarship for Postgraduate Students. See inside back cover for details.
Defence Trade Controls Act Reference Group Members who have followed the debate around the Defence Trade Controls Act (2012) at the end of last year will know that NTEU, as well as others in the sector, had serious concerns about the potential of this legislation to impinge upon academic freedom. Broadly speaking, NTEU concerns were in relation to the broad scope of the goods and services included on the Defence Strategic Goods List (DSGL) and the fact that the export ban would be extended to intangible as well as tangible goods and services. In other words, we were concerned that researchers might need to seek an export permit to communicate the results of their research (if it involved goods or services on the DSGL) with colleagues located overseas. In order to overcome some of the sectors concerns, the Act makes provision for the establishment of a Steering Committee hosted by the Chief Scientist to monitor its implementation. In order to facilitate and coordinate the NTEU’s monitoring of the Act and our liaison with the Government and the Chief Scientist’s Steering Committee, the NTEU National Executive has established a Reference Group which will be responsible for collecting information from members on how the operation of the Defence Controls Permit regime established under the Act will impact on their capacity to undertake research and/or communicate their research results. More information: www.nteu.org.au/campaigns/defence_trade_controls_act
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Update UniSuper Stakeholder Forum In mid-2012, UniSuper established a Stakeholder Forum to consider options to remedy the shortfall in funding for the Defined Benefit Division (DBD). The Forum is comprised of 3 persons nominated by Universities Australia and 3 persons nominated by national unions (of which two were reserved for NTEU). The terms of reference for the Forum are: • Consider the benefit design of the DBD in the long-term and strategic options for the DBD in the best interests of DBD members; and • Provide input on options that may be considered in the event benefit reductions are required, including alternatives to benefit reductions. It is important to note that the Stakeholder Forum has no decision making authority in relation to UniSuper. Its role is to provide suggestions to UniSuper Management which may then be taken into account by UniSuper Management in making its recommendations to the UniSuper Trustee Board about the matters outlined in the terms of reference. In order to be provided with access to information and data held by UniSuper, the members of the Forum were required to sign confidentiality Deeds which necessarily constrain how much may be publicly reported to our members. Since June 2012, the Forum has met on a monthly basis and has methodically worked its way through the key architectural features of the DBD with a view to placing the DBD on a secure long term footing to avoid future funding shortfalls. Members of the Forum have agreed in-principle that this can only be achieved by redesigning key elements of the existing benefit profile.
In considering options for a fundamental re-design of the DBD, members of the Forum have accepted that the key objectives should be to: • Make the financial position of the fund more stable. • Reduce age and gender bias in the existing benefit design. • R educe bias between general and academic staff in the existing benefit design. • Reflect changed work patterns in the higher education sector and to anticipate likely changes to such patterns in the future. The Forum has made a number of suggestions to UniSuper Management about how best to achieve these objectives and these matters were considered by the UniSuper Board at its meeting in February and will be further considered at meetings of the Board during the course of 2013. The Forum has also considered a range of options to reduce member benefits in the event that the imbalance between the
assets and liabilities of the DBD was not satisfactorily addressed before February 2013. When the Forum commenced its work, the DBD had been placed under severe pressure because of a sharp downturn in international investment markets coupled with higher than anticipated wages growth in the higher education sector. Since this time however, there has been a significant rebound in the markets and the latest estimates of wages growth indicate a return to the historical long term average (which was the basis for original UniSuper funding assumptions). The combination of these factors are expected to have considerably eased the financial pressure on the DBD to such an extent that NTEU now considers it very unlikely that UniSuper will need to consider making reductions to past service benefits. This will be very welcome news to pensioners and other members of the DBD (especially those who are facing or considering retirement from the workforce). The actual position of the DBD will be confirmed when the latest actuarial report is presented to the UniSuper Board in early 2013 (after which time it becomes a public document and will be made available on request to any member of UniSuper). UniSuper Management has assured the Stakeholder Forum that proposed changes to the design of the DBD will not be implemented until an extensive process of consultation with employees and employers at each participating institution has been completed. NTEU will continue to actively and aggressively promote the interests of our members while these processes unfold. We will issue further reports to members on these matters during the course of 2013. Peter Summers, NTEU Nominee on UniSuper Stakeholder Forum
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Update Queer Unionists in Tertiary Education (QUTE) ready for 2013 QUTE is a network of members and staff of the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) who are actively engaged in addressing issues facing workers of diverse sexualities and genders. Members have identified a range of issues for the group to discuss in 2013 including bullying, harassment and discrimination, marriage equality, superannuation and Federal anti-discrimination legislation. Last year we sought the support of National Council to amend NTEU membership forms to be gender inclusive and to adopt the inclusive term people of diverse sexualities and genders when referring to our community. The group joined Victorian marriage equality rallies and attended the annual Melbourne Pride March in February. Our 2013 activities include dinners, meetings, rallies and organising forums addressing some of the issues we have identified. Our first forum will be held in April and will examine the role of unions in
Above: QUTE members preparing to march in the 2013 Melbourne Pride March in St Kilda. responding to issues related to people of diverse sexualities and genders, in a Federal election year. Activists from all Victorian unions will be invited to attend. More information about QUTE, including an events calendar, can be viewed on our website and our Facebook page. David Willis, Deakin Branch Organiser
Research Project into implications of the ERA Thank you to all NTEU members who participated in a major research project undertaken by the National Office’s Policy and Research Unit examining the implications of the Excellence in Research Australia (ERA) exercise and other research metrics on Australian university staff. About 100 researchers (members and non-members) made contributions which included participating in: • A national survey of senior research administrators on how the ERA and other metrics are used in the assessment of research performance. • Focus groups and semi-structured interviews, and • A Early Career Researchers (ECR) and Academics (ECA) workshop. The report shows that the ERA has had a significant impact on institutional behaviour which has implications for the allocation and management of university resources, research careers and freedom of intellectual inquiry. The final report will be released in March 2013 and will be available at www.erawatch.org.au
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For information about joining QUTE, or for suggestions about getting QUTE activities running in your State, contact Dave Willis, firstname.lastname@example.org www.nteu.org.au/qute www.facebook.com/qutenteu
NAISDA Agreement signed A new Collective Agreement at the National Aboriginal and Islander Skills Development Association (NAISDA) has been approved, with NTEU negotiators on the bargaining team securing a good outcome for members in very difficult circumstances. The Indigenous Policy Committee (IPC) and National Indigenous Unit sincerely thank members of the negotiating team, including Sue Gosson and Lois Magann as well as Lance Dale from the NSW Division for their work in negotiating the historic three-year Agreement.
Update My Country, underwater I love a sunburnt country, A land of sweeping plains, Of ragged mountain ranges, Of droughts and flooding rains. I love her far horizons, I love her jewel-sea, Her beauty and her terror The wide brown land for me!
During the last two weeks of January (2013) the words of this poem by Dorothea Mackellar kept interrupting my thoughts. ‘My Country’ was a favourite poem, discovered at my oneteacher primary school in regional Queensland in the 1960s. Unfortunately though, due to the imminent flooding of the Burnett River in Bundaberg, my focus was much more on the terror than the beauty.
Two years ago, nearly to the day, in my role as Dean of Education I offered my support and that of my School, to our staff and students in Rockhampton and Emerald, as they faced the massive task of resurrecting their lives after a record flood. I am now making that same offer in Bundaberg as we start the long process of post-flood recovery. This time though, my involvement is much closer to home. In fact, at the peak of the floods our home became a min-evacuation centre, and as the water rose and the Burnett broke its banks on the North side of the river, I wondered where we would go if the water crept any closer. Thankfully that did not happen, and my husband and I were able to assist our neighbours with the massive clean up that currently faces thousands of Bundaberg people. One of my close colleagues and her family stayed with us as the flood invaded their home, and I saw first hand the devastation, both physical and emotional, that the flood has caused. As the flood waters receded, the true devastation was revealed and I believe it will be many years before our community will recover fully. But, being the resilient and proud Central Queenslanders that we are, the recovery effort is in full swing and the generosity of the Australian spirit is evident everywhere I look. My own university, CQU, was very quick to organise a flood recovery
breakfast with all proceeds going to the Red Cross. The Bundaberg Campus threw open its doors to the local newspaper whose premises were flooded, and to the local regional council who utilised our laboratories for the purpose of water testing. My own Education students volunteered their time in many activities from making sandwiches for flood evacuees and volunteer workers, to providing activities for the children at the evacuation centres. My colleagues have collected hundreds of textbooks and teacher resources to donate to a severely affected primary school whose library was destroyed, and volunteered their own time in the clean-up effort. Our VC describes us as a university that ‘gives back’, and he is absolutely correct. I am proud to belong to a community such as ours and know that the universities in which we work, are a vital part of our communities, in the good times and the bad. Dorothea really knew her stuff when she recognised the ‘beauty and the terror’, but even she could not have foreseen the resilience of the Australian spirit. I am pleased to report it is alive and well in Central Queensland. Professor Helen Huntly, Dean, School of Education & the Arts, Central Queensland University
Bundaberg Flood, 29 January 2013. Taken at 6.30am, the Burnett River was at 9.4m and still rising slowly. © www.flickr.com/photos/gglconly. Used with permission. NTEU ADVOCATE • vol. 20 no. 1 • March 2013 • www.nteu.org.au/advocate • page 11
Update TAFE cuts continue to bite 2012 may well go down in history as the year that (almost) killed TAFE. Up and down the east coast, conservative State Governments cut staff, courses and budgets. Victoria In Victoria, several thousand staff lost their jobs following a $290 million budget cut. NTEU Victorian Division Secretary Dr Colin Long told Advocate, ‘TAFE’s not dead yet but it is seriously wounded. NTEU’s Victorian Division, together with the Australian Education Union which represents teachers, has resolved to continue the TAFE campaign, taking the fight forward and working to rebuild the TAFE sector over the long term.’ Dr Long said that it wasn’t yet possible to gauge the full extent of the damage. ‘Many of the people who’ve lost their jobs were casuals or sessionals and we won’t have an accurate picture of the total job cuts for some time. The same applies to courses and student numbers. The Victorian Tertiary Admission Centre (VTAC) figures reveal at least 170 fewer courses. Worst affected are hospitality, business administration and events management. The Centre’s figures also show a 2,364 drop in applications but it must be noted that most students do apply directly to TAFE,’ he said. ‘The extent of the damage will be revealed to all when Swinburne University of Technology proceeds to close its Lilydale campus in July and its Prahran campus in 2014. Both Holmesglen TAFE and Northern Metropolitan Institute of TAFE have expressed interest in acquiring the Prahran campus, currently home to Swinburne’s creative arts programs and the National Institute of Circus Arts (NICA). Prahran MP Clem Newton-Brown is meanwhile trying to drum up support for a new high school on the site. Box Hill TAFE has its eye on the Lilydale Campus.’ The public sector – TAFE – is paying the price for private sector rorts in the five years since the previous Brumby Labor Government introduced full contestability of funding. While the Baillieu Coalition Government has resisted all attempts to persuade it to reduce the size of its TAFE
Honouring NTEU’s Victorian TAFE reps In December, the NTEU Victorian Division hosted a ‘celebration’ to honour the immense contributions made by some of the long-serving TAFE representatives who have lost their jobs. As a token of its appreciation, the NTEU awarded certificates to representatives Kath Dubout, Brian Hughes, Ivan Munro, Gani Ozturk, Max Campbell and Anne Kinne. Division Secretary, Dr Colin Long, praised the outstanding work of these reps over their many years’ service, and the positive impact they have had, not just in supporting work colleagues at TAFE institutes, but in the wider TAFE sector.
Above, from left: Colin Long (Division Secretary), Kath Dubout, Janet Bourke (TAFE Industrial Organiser), Garry Ryan (TAFE Industrial Organiser), Brian Hughes, Ivan Munro, Gani Ozturk, Max Campbell, Anne Kinne. budget cuts, the cuts to course subsidy rates and more stringent registration requirements (a belated attempt to put a stop to shonky colleges) have also hit private registered training organisations (RTOs), whose numbers appear to have declined by more than half. ACPET, the private colleges’ peak body, predicts that RTOs will lose up to 4800 staff. Victorian TAFEs are lobbying for a better deal in this year’s State budget – funding to cover TAFE’s community service obligations, such as the enrolment of ‘special needs’ students, and ‘full service provider funding’ to cover TAFE’s higher employment costs. TAFEs are obliged to accept deaf students and this can necessitate them hiring Auslan interpreters and note takers, upping the teaching costs to $100,000 per student. Most RTOs don’t have Enterprise Agreements and require staff to teach 1150 hours, as opposed to 800 hours in TAFE. Last year, the Baillieu Government scrapped its $170 million allocation to TAFEs to make up this shortfall.
Queensland The three-year old plan to merge the 12 Central Queensland Institute of TAFE colleges with Central Queensland University has stalled, after the Federal Government went back on a commitment to allocate $74 million to the merger. Former Federal Higher Education Minister, Senator Chris Evans, has stated that the Federal Government is not prepared to
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put billions into TAFE ‘only to see these dollars stripped out of the system by Liberal governments’. Dr John Fitzsimmons, NTEU Branch President at CQU, said that the Union supported the merger. ‘The move to a dual sector institution can work if it’s properly funded and resourced. The Queensland Government should stop seeing TAFE as a cost and support it as an investment in education that’s badly needed in our region.’ Senator Evans suggested that CQU should reapply for funding. Overall, the Queensland Government is closing and selling 13 of its 82 TAFE colleges with up to 30 more under threat in the longer term.
NSW The O’Farrell Government is proceeding to cut 800 jobs from TAFE as well as putting up fees, despite NSW being $1 billion better off than it previously thought. It has abolished funding for fine arts courses on the basis that it would lead to an oversupply of graduates, even though a confidential document prepared by TAFE NSW’s strategy unit predicts that there will be nearly 6,000 new jobs for program and project administrators over the next five years. Some fine arts courses now cost more than $10,000. Nearly 4,000 existing students may have to draw up alternative plans. Michael Evans, National Organiser www.nteu.org.au/tafe
Update Become an NTEU Democracy Advocate and encourage your students to enrol to vote
NTEU has launched a website where members can sign up to become Democracy Advocates, spreading the word on enrolling to vote in September’s Federal Election. The Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) estimates that about 1.5 million eligible voters are not on the electoral roll. Many of these unregistered voters are young people. While voting is compulsory for all Australian citizens aged 18 and over, only 66% of 19-year-olds were on the electoral roll in 2006, and about 25% of people under 25 are not currently enrolled to vote.
While the Federal Government has passed new laws to allow for ‘direct enrolment’ (a process by which people can be automatically enrolled or have their enrolment details updated using information from third parties such as motor vehicle and licence registries, utilities and the Australian Tax Office), it’s likely that a significant number of young people will still not be registered come election day on 14 September.
Democracy Advocate program NTEU will be working with the AEC over the next few months to reach out to students and encourage them to enrol to vote. We want you to sign up to be part of this campaign. Help us overcome some of the barriers that prevent young people participating in our democracy – become a Democracy Advocate and help us work with the AEC to spread the message to students at your campus. All you need to do is visit the NTEU’s Enrol to Vote website, www.nteu.org.au/enroltovote, and click on the Democracy Advocate link. Fill in the form to let us know how many ‘make sure U get 2 have your say’ posters you would like us to mail to you. You can also download an Enrol to Vote powerpoint, with further resources to come. Michael Evans, National Organiser www.nteu.org.au/enroltovote
You need to enrol to vote or update if you: Will be 18-years-old by 14 Sept 2013. Have changed your address or name since the last election. Have become an Australian citizen. If you’re not on the roll, or your details are not up-to-date, you can’t vote! For more details visit www.nteu.org.au/enroltovote NTEU ADVOCATE • vol. 20 no. 1 • March 2013 • www.nteu.org.au/advocate • page 13 Authorised by Grahame McCulloch, General Secretary, National Tertiary Education Union, 120 Clarendon St, Southbank, VIC 3006
Indigenous News IHEAC becomes ATSIHEAC: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Higher Education Advisory Council On 17 December 2012, the former Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills, Science and Research, Chris Evans officially announced the membership of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Higher Education Advisory Council (ATSIHEAC); previously known as the Indigenous Higher Education Advisory Council (IHEAC). In 2004, NTEU was successful in negotiating the development and implementation of the ATSIHEAC predecessor, with the previous Minister for Education, Science and Training, the Hon. Brendan Nelson. Although successful in assisting to develop the Council, NTEU has only held observer status positions on two of the three preceding advisory Councils.
For the first time since the Council was implemented, membership now incorporates Indigenous and non-Indigenous members, with Professor Ian Anderson Co-Chairing with the Vice-Chancellor of Curtin University, Professor Jeanette Hacket. Along with the addition of non-Indigenous members to the Council, a full-membership position for a National Union of Students nominee has been incorporated as well as an Executive membership position for the publicly owned company Wesfarmers Ltd. NTEU looks forward to working with other Council members to see appropriate, positive and progressive reform in the Australian higher education sector for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander members, students, staff and community. ATSIHEAC membership for 2012-2015 is: • Professor Ian Anderson, University of Melbourne, Co-Chair and Executive Member • Professor Jeanette Hacket, Curtin University of Technology, Co-Chair and Executive Member • Professor Jill Milroy, University of Western Australia, Executive Member • Ms Rosie Southwood, Wesfarmers Limited, Executive Member • Professor Toni Downes, Charles Sturt University • Professor Sandra Eades, University of Sydney
In recognition of the Union’s strident work in the area of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander education, employment and social justice, NTEU has been awarded a full membership position on the Council.
• Professor Shane Houston, University of Sydney
NTEU is pleased to announce that Jillian Miller, former NTEU Indigenous Policy Committee (IPC) Chair has been named as the NTEU nominee to ATSIHEAC. NTEU congratulates Jillian on her appointment to the Council for the term of office, commencing in December 2012 and concluding on 30 June 2015.
• Professor Michael McDaniel, University of Technology, Sydney
Role & Membership of the Council The role of ATSIHEAC is to provide advice to the Minister and the Australian Government on enhancing and improving outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in higher education and research. To achieve this goal, ATSIHEAC has been charged with the task to implement recommendations from the 2012 Review of Indigenous Higher Education report (Behrendt Review).
• Professor Steven Larkin, Charles Darwin University
• Professor Michael McManus, University of Queensland • Professor Andrew Wells, University of Tasmania • Professor Greg Hill, University of the Sunshine Coast • Ms Jillian Miller, NTEU nominee • Mr John Leha, NUS nominee • Mr Russell Taylor, Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies, Observer. Adam Frogley, National Indigenous Coordinator Further info on ATSIHEAC: www.innovation.gov.au/highereducation/indigenoushighereducation/indigenoushighereducationadvisorycouncil
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Numerical targets in Agreements The inclusion of numerical Indigenous employment targets in Enterprise Bargaining Agreements are proving to be a contentious issue in bargaining at some institutions. Most recently, negotiations at the University of Melbourne received media attention on this matter. Conversely, numerical targets were established in two Agreements that began the bargaining process early (Curtin University and Central Queensland University). There are several other sites concluding their Indigenous clauses by meeting the numerical target or in some cases exceeding the base with statements of intent to fulfil an even higher goal. It is good to see that these are possible once negotiation and explanation occur. Some Indigenous Employment Coordinators have expressed concern that they may not reach the target and will be ‘punished’. Though the responsibility lies with university management, the NTEU is most willing to engage with universities in supporting them to meet their targets. These positions should not be seen as positions only within an Indigenous Centre but university-wide positions engaging in the full gamut of university employment. Local communities may be the obvious source of employees but as each university draws upon students from across Australia, then that diversity should be represented in those working on their behalf. If a university has tried all possible means to meet the target and has not achieved it, then Fair Work Australia would accept their attempts. Coordinators may feel they are the ‘meat in the sandwich’ but it is the signatories to the Agreement who are held to account, not the Coordinators nor the Indigenous Centres. If they are experiencing difficulty with resources or approvals, then responsibility falls on management to supply these, and the NTEU to monitor. They are the signatories. We have examples of successful employment strategies in universities where there are also Indigenisation of Centres clauses. This can be done! This is a wonderful opportunity for the sector to follow up on the ‘Apology’ with positive action and help ‘Close the Gap’. Terry Mason, Indigenous Policy Committee Chair
Indigenous news Indigenous employment and respect: a low priority for UniMelb The bargaining round at University of Melbourne has proven to be continually challenging when it comes to Indigenous employment and recognition. Unfortunately though, the challenges lie not in the haggling over details of true transformative agendas on campus, but over small things which really shouldn’t be a problem for management if they are dedicated to Indigenous equality on campus. In November, the fact that the University of Melbourne management wished to remove all Indigenous targets from the Collective Agreement received national media coverage.
Reconciliation Action Plans and Indigenous Employment Strategies are, of course, important policy documents for universities to have, but they remain mere words on paper if universities are not bound to them. Then the management came up with all sorts of excuses as to why an Acknowledgement of Country should not be on the agenda during bargaining sessions. The NTEU is puzzled by Melbourne management’s ongoing need to remove Indigenous anything from negotiations and hopes that this does not continue throughout the entirety of negotiations around the Indigenous Claim. Celeste Liddle, National Indigenous Organiser Further information is available at these links: www.nteu.org.au/melb/article/ University-of-Melbourne-to-axeIndigenous-employment-targets-13770 www.nteu.org.au/melb/article/ Indigenous-staff-critical-to-boostingIndigenous-university-studentnumbers-13859
Indigenous Forum 2013 NTEU Indigenous Forum 2013 will be held in Melbourne on Friday 24 and Saturday 25 May. For information, please contact your local NTEU Branch Office or the National Indigenous Unit staff: Adam Frogley, National Indigenous Coordinator, email@example.com Celeste Liddle, National Indigenous Organiser, firstname.lastname@example.org
NTEU Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander membership stronger than ever Over 2012, Indigenous membership of the NTEU continued to grow strongly and we are now happy to confirm that Indigenous members now make up 1.5% of the overall NTEU membership. Considering that Indigenous staff make up roughly 1% of the overall staff number in the sector, this is a remarkable feat. Additionally, 56% of all Indigenous academic staff are members therefore being one of the few demographic groups where a majority unionisation has been recorded. The National Indigenous Unit looks forward to assisting in the continuation of this trend in 2013. Indigenous staffing numbers, according to the latest Government data, currently sit at 1070 staff, or 971 FTE. Effectively, since the Indigenous claim was introduced in 2002, Indigenous staff numbers in the sector have doubled. The NTEU is dedicated to continuing this growth of Indigenous staff until parity levels are achieved and beyond. We feel that the comparatively high rates of Indigenous unionisation reflects Indigenous support of the NTEU’s commitment to growth and institutional change. The Behrendt Report into Indigenous Higher Education was released last year and as many universities are currently reviewing Indigenous programs, it is important to ensure that both Indigenous staff numbers and NTEU membership are growing and that the NTEU is engaged in these discussions. It is the National Indigenous Unit’s hope that membership reaches 500 by the end of 2013, so that our claim continues to strengthen and Indigenous equality on campus continues to be front and centre. Celeste Liddle, National Indigenous Organiser www.nteu.org/indigenous
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Shaping our sector The 2013 Federal Election poses some significant challenges for the tertiary education sector. The outcome could significantly shape the direction of the sector for decades to come.
Labor’s record While the current Government has made important changes and significantly increased investment in the sector, these have not been without their problems and a number of big issues remain. The most important is the issue of inadequate per student funding that is leading to increasing work pressures on staff, and inadequate student access to the people and resources they need to achieve their best. In addition, when there have been budget cuts made over the past two years it has been Higher Education that has borne a disproportionate share of the burden. However, there have been real efforts made to increase participation, and this Government has listened to the concerns of the sector about replacing the RQF with the ERA, and has introduced the first legislative recognition of the principle of freedom of intellectual inquiry.
Matthew McGowan National Assistant Secretary
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The Coalition, as the alternative Government, has not been clear about everything, but there are clear statements that point to the likely results from a change of government. A combination of spending commitments, and cuts to revenue raising initiatives such as the mining tax, and the carbon tax, mean that many areas of budget outlay
can expect to suffer, and tertiary education is one. Opposition Education spokesperson, Christopher Pyne last year raised the prospect of increased HECs payments for students, the re-imposition of caps on student numbers, and the re-introduction of full fee paying domestic student places. The reintroduction of caps is a mechanism for cutting spending with estimates of around $2.6 billion being mentioned. It seems reasonable to assume that the plan is to partly offset this income loss with fee increases, possibly as high as a 25 per cent increase. But this would contribute to the worsening student debt problem, and will undermine the efforts that have been made in recent years to increase participation rates. It seems highly unlikely that the income generated from fees would fully offset expected funding cuts. Under this scenario, the sector can expect significant job losses, and any increase in per student funding seems highly unlikely.
Political interference in universities In addition, the Coalition has a history of direct political interference in the sector. In 2004 and 2005, Brendan Nelson vetoed 10 Australian Research Council grant decisions. The Howard Government also went through two attempts to force universities to cut conditions of employment for staff, and to remove the NTEU as an effective voice in the sector. Fortunately, these were resisted and ultimately defeated. However, it would be foolish to think that this could not happen again. University managements are also making similar assessments that are playing out in a number of ways. In bargaining, some managements appear to have decided to position themselves for a Coalition Government taking a very hostile approach to the NTEU bargaining claims. Others are seeking to come to swift agreement and hopefully avoid the worst elements by locking in the conditions of employment so they are not put in the position of being in negotiations if the new broom sweeps through.
NTEU welcomes UA ‘Smarter Australia’ campaign’ Universities Australia’s (UA) launched a major policy statement at the National Press Club on 27 February, delivered by outgoing UA Chair, Professor Glyn Davis. UA’s A Smarter Australia calls for a partnership between the university sector and government to establish a practical and realistic policy framework around four key themes:
Above: Glyn Davis at the National Press Club, Canberra, 28 Feb 2013
• Increasing Australians’ university participation • Developing Australia’s globally engaged university sector • A powerful research and innovation system that drives economic and social progress • Increasing investment, improving efficiency and reducing red tape Accompanying the policy release was the launch of UA’s $5 million television, print and online media campaign, promoting the role that universities play in creating a diverse, innovative and prosperous nation. UA’s policy statement, developed over the past 12 months, responds to four trends driving change in Australian higher education: • The emergence of digital technologies. • Increasing globalisation and growing international competition in the Asian century. • The need for economic and industrial renewal and diversification. • The need to arrest declining national productivity. NTEU welcomed UA’s policy document and campaign, which aligns closely with the themes of our campaigns and advocacy. However, while UA’s policy launch and campaign will play an important role in national discourse on the value of universities, it is disappointing that UA will suspend these activities in the lead up to the federal election. For political parties (and elected government) to prioritise higher education in tight fiscal times, there needs to be pressure - not only from the sector, but more broadly. In the lead up to this year’s election, voters need to be aware of the integral role of universities in creating a Smarter Australia.
Our sector and the campaign
NTEU and the election
On a wider front, Universities Australia (UA) has just announced a pre election campaign to raise the profile of the sector in the community, ‘University Education: The Smartest Investment’. This is a significant move which the Union has warmly welcomed, and comes off the back of the NTEU’s own ‘Invest in Australia’s Future, Invest in our Universities’ campaign.
There is a lot that could happen in the months leading up to the election. The NTEU will be seeking policy statements from all significant political parties and will give members a summary of their responses in a special edition of Advocate. We will also be looking closely at candidates who have a clear track record of supporting the sector, and advise members accordingly.
And with a $5 million budget, it is pleasing to see UA cut through the long standing tensions between many of its members to deliver a common message to the public about the significance of our work.
As always, NTEU is not politically aligned, and does not make donations to political parties. It is our responsibility to analyse the policies and records of all participants in the political process and advise our members accordingly.
For information on NTEU’s Enrol to Vote and Democracy Advocate campaign, see article p.13 and visit: www.nteu.org.au/enroltovote NTEU’s Invest in Australia: Invest in Our Universities campaign: www.investinuniversities.org.au Universities Australia Smartest Investment campaign: www.smartestinvestment.com.au
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Contesting the contestability of tertiary education funding One of the major questions that the 2008 Review of Australian Higher Education, chaired by Professor Denise Bradley, was asked to examine was, whether the missions and objectives of the Vocational Education and Training (VET) and the higher education sectors were merging or becoming more distinctive? In its final report, the panel concluded that while maintaining the distinct natures of each sector’s missions, pedagogy and assessment was desirable, there was also a critical need for better connections across tertiary education and training and a more coherent and flexible policy framework.
In drawing these conclusions the report noted that ‘anomalies and inconsistencies … between higher education and VET in areas such as funding and tuition financing … potentially distort decisions about training and education.’ (Review of Australian Higher Education 2008, p. 182). While the NTEU agrees with these conclusions we would argue that recent policy initiatives towards a more market oriented framework which allows greater competition and contestability of funding between VET and higher education and between public and private providers is not necessarily in the best interest of students, governments or educational institutions. Student choices about what to study and where to study should be based on their aspirations and on merit. These decisions should not be distorted by financial considerations such as ability to pay or manipulation of choices offered to students based on which courses provide the highest return to providers.
Paul Kniest NTEU Policy & Research Coordinator
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Competition that provides students with greater and more genuine choice in relation to the structure, quality and cost of education is welcomed. However, it appears that much of the ‘competitive’ behaviour induced by recent policy changes in tertiary education (such as in Victorian
VET) is generating highly undesirable competition or gaming of regulatory and funding frameworks including: • Cost shifting from the public sector to individual students disguised in the form of income contingent loans. • C ost shifting between State/Territory governments and the Commonwealth. • Policy competition between public universities and TAFE institutes. • Policy competition between private and public sectors within and between the higher education and VET sectors. The evidence of undesirable behaviour by providers in tertiary education in Australia is confirmed by a number of policy responses from both the Commonwealth and Victorian Governments over the last twelve months. Last year, the then Federal Minister for Tertiary Education, Senator Chris Evans, announced that caps on the number of Commonwealth supported sub-degree places would be kept in place partially as a response to announced plans by a number of universities proposing to rapidly expand the number of students enrolling in Diploma, Advanced Diploma or Associate Degree programs. In January this year, the Minister also denied permission for University of Canberra degree programs to be offered by Holmesglen Institute of TAFE in Victoria. It appears that the Minister was concerned that these initiatives were being motivated by cost shifting from the State Government to more generous Commonwealth sources.
TAFE gutted in Victoria However, if one needs a clear and present example of risks to education and public finances associated with regulatory reform based on contestable market principles one need only look at recent reforms to VET funding in Victoria. The $300m cuts to Victorian TAFE funding announced by the Baillieu Government in 2012 arose as a direct consequence of policy initiatives introduced by the 2008 Brumby Government policy ‘Securing Jobs for Your Future’. This policy framework directed government subsidies for VET courses to all approved private providers as well as public TAFE institutes. It made public funding fully contestable. It was the full contestability of funding which led to the blow out in VET funding and provided
the excuse for the Baillieu Government cuts to TAFE funding. The consequences for VET students and TAFE institutes in Victoria have been profound and undesirable and have included: • Substantial increases in student fees for most programs except introductory programs. • Massive increases in fees for Diploma and Advanced Diploma qualifications which were facilitated by students having access to Commonwealth income contingent loans through VET FEE HELP. • The proliferation of highly popular (and often substandard) courses by private providers. • More than 2,000 redundancies, the closure of up to 20 sites and cessation of hundreds of courses at TAFEs across Victoria.
Unequal playing field In summary, private providers exploited the direct public subsidies available under the new funding arrangements by cherry-picking highly popular and high margin (profit) courses such as those for personal trainers, masseurs and baristas. In some cases less than scrupulous marketing tactics were also used to attract new students, such as offering free iPads or holidays. As a consequence TAFE colleges find themselves in a position where it is difficult to compete because of their community service obligations to offer students full services or offer training in less popular high cost areas of critical skills shortages in areas such as the trades and or aged care for example.
Building a new framework Discussion about the nature of any new framework needs to be based on a number of sound principles, which the NTEU believes should include: 1. Maintaining the essential characteristics, distinct missions and nature of education, research and community and student support services offered by different types of providers in both VET and higher education. 2. Explicitly recognising and supporting the obligations that public universities and TAFEs have to their students and communities. 3. Eliminating the risks inherent with a fully contestable funding model because private providers do not have the same community service obligations as public universities or TAFEs. 4. Keeping the cap on the fees providers can charge students enrolled in courses for which they receive direct government contributions for the education or training of government-supported students. 5. Eliminating the opportunity for providers to exploit different funding and regulatory regimes for similar education and training depending on the sector in which they are delivered or the level of government responsible for regulation and funding. 6. Ensuring that no one is prevented from participating in tertiary education because of upfront costs or tuition fees by making income contingent loans available to all students studying in an approved course by an accredited provider.
These cuts to Victorian TAFE funding (which included the removal of ‘full service’ funding) are undermining the financial viability of many of Victoria’s TAFE institutes and cross sectoral universities. Given the highly undesirable impacts that the anomalies and inconsistencies in the funding and regulatory frameworks between VET and higher education are creating, it is essential that all levels of government, public and private providers, staff and student representatives, work together to achieve greater consistency and coherence across the tertiary education sector.
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National Community Summit
Building a progressive policy agenda The ACTU worked with community organisations to stage a National Community Summit about secure employment at the old Parliament House in Canberra on 13–14 March. The Summit was convened to build a progressive policy agenda for Australia’s future, and form new partnerships between the trade union movement, the community sector and the country’s leading thinkers.
have told us needs to be addressed if we are to keep the notion of a work life balance and a fair go,’ Oliver said.
Speakers included former Deputy Prime Minister Brian Howe, who chaired the independent inquiry into insecure work in Australia that produced the landmark ‘Lives on Hold’ report; Dr Cassandra Goldie, CEO of the Australian Council of Social Service; Dr John Falzon, Chief Executive of the St Vincent de Paul Society; and leading workplace researcher Professor John Buchanan from the University of Sydney.
‘The rise of insecure work has been a silent, creeping yet fundamental shift in the economy over the past 20 years, with major implications for people’s lives and for our economy.
NTEU National President, Jeannie Rea, spoke on insecure work and the role of the state.
He said the jobs summit in Canberra will bring people together to talk about the issue and begin the discussion about ways to solve the problem.
Union and community sector activists who attended we able to participate in wide-ranging discussions about developing successful, strong and equitable communities.
‘We want to work with the government, we want to work with employers and we want to work with the best minds from our universities and the community sector.’
‘And we will continue to campaign on this issue no matter who wins the election. This is an agenda that is about working people, not an election cycle.’
Speaking at the National Press Club on 6 February, ACTU Secretary Dave Oliver said that the ACTU will make the ‘Secure Jobs. Better Future’ campaign the centrepiece of its campaigning activities around this year’s federal election, and beyond.
Oliver also outlined the ACTU’s proposal for a portable leave scheme for workers in insecure employment, that would enable them to maintain and move their annual and sick leave entitlements from employer to employer.
‘The increase in insecure work is affecting more people across workplaces than any other, and is the issue that working people
‘We live in a world where many people have two or three employers one week, and the next week just one. In this world,
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entitlements that we all agree should be the right of everyone with an Australian job – things like annual leave and sick leave – don’t translate very well,’ he said. ‘If you’re doing nine hours at one childcare employer and 18 hours at another, and you get sick, at the moment, you probably have no right to sick pay from either boss. ‘Now, some industries have solved this problem. In many parts of the construction industry, those entitlements travel with you, across employers from job to job, accruing regardless of who’s paying you. We go into this election saying that all workers should have this. As Australians, we work hard, and we deserve our holidays. When we get sick our bills don’t stop – we need to know that we’ll still be able to make rent or cover the mortgage. They are things that every working Australian should have. ‘And the way to achieve that is through a national scheme to make those entitlements available to everyone, by making them portable.’ Further information: www.securejobs.org.au
Greens’ Private Member’s Bill
Confronting insecure employment The Greens’ House of Representatives MP Adam Bandt has introduced a private member’s bill to amend the Fair Work Act, seeking improvements for the thousands of Australian workers affected by insecure employment. The Fair Work Amendment (Tackling Job Insecurity) Bill 2012 would provide a mechanism for workers employed as casuals or on fixed-term contracts to move to either full-time or part-time ongoing employment. When the Bill was first released in November 2012, Mr Bandt said, ‘A growing number of Australian workers find themselves in ‘insecure’ employment, such as long-term casual employment or rolling contracts. ‘Too many Australian workers have little economic security and little control over their working lives. This makes it harder for them to plan their lives or commit to long term arrangements like getting a mortgage. ‘This is a particular problem for women, who are more likely to find themselves in insecure employment. ‘The rates of temporary work in Australia are staggering, with around a quarter of employees having no paid leave entitlements. Spain is the only country in the OECD with a higher rate of temporary work than Australia.’ The Bill would amend the Fair Work Act to provide a process for workers employed on an ‘insecure’ basis to be moved to ongoing employment on a part-time or full-time basis. An employee who is a casual or rolling contract employee could ask their employer to move to ongoing part-time or full-
2. The right to request flexible work arrangements should be extended and strengthened by: • Extending the ability to request flexible working arrangements to all workers, not just those with caring responsibilities.
time employment. If an employer refuses a request then an application could be made to Fair Work Australia (FWA) who could issue a ‘secure employment order’. In considering the application, FWA would have to consider the needs of employees to have secure jobs and stable employment, and the genuine needs of business to use arrangements that are not secure employment arrangements. FWA would also be able to make orders to maintain existing secure employment arrangements. The right of small businesses to use genuine casual employees would be preserved, with those employees excluded from the operation of the Bill. Unions and employer groups would also be able to apply directly to FWA for secure employment orders on behalf of both an eligible person who has had a request refused, and classes of eligible people, such as a particular industry, kind of work, type of employment or employer. The Greens’ Bill picks up some of the key recommendations in the ‘Lives on Hold’ report, the independent inquiry into insecure work in Australia chaired by former Deputy Prime Minister Brian Howe and released by the ACTU last May. NTEU has made a submission to the current Senate inquiry into the Bill, including a number of recommendations to strengthen the Bill’s purpose. These include: 1. The Fair Work Act should be amended to incorporate a ‘Secure Employment Principle’ for Modern Awards and Enterprise Agreements. This would be an overarching principle that enshrines ongoing employment as the ‘norm’.
• Enabling decisions of employers to deny requests for flexible working arrangements to be challenged in the Fair Work Commission as disputes. 3. The Bargaining System should be improved by removing the existing restrictions on the contents of Enterprise Agreements as they relate to the use of contractors and labour hire firms. 4. There should be access to unfair dismissal remedies in circumstances where the purpose of the use of limited term employment is to avoid the employer’s obligations. 5. The Bill should be amended to ensure that the Fair Work Information Statement, required to be given by employers to all new employees advising them of their basic employment entitlements under the Act, includes information about the right to request secure working arrangements and seek secure work orders. Meanwhile, the ACTU is putting further pressure on the Federal Government to seriously address the growing incidence of insecure work. ACTU Secretary, Dave Oliver, speaking at the National Press Club on 6 February, called on the Government to introduce a portable leave scheme that would enable workers to maintain and move their annual and sick leave entitlements from employer to employer. He said that schemes enabling employees in the building and construction sector to move their long service leave and other entitlements between employers were long established and successful, and could provide a model for a broader system covering all Australian workers. Michael Evans, National Organiser
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Converting Councils to boards of directors Late in 2012, the Victorian Coalition Government introduced legislation to strip universities of their elected staff and student representatives on University Councils. The changes came into effect on January 1 this year, and have been implemented. Victorian universities now have no elected staff or student voices on their peak governing bodies. The changes allow the number of Government-appointed Council members to exceed the number of university-appointed members and permit staff and students to be on Council only if they meet Government-set conditions relating to board and financial (i.e. business) experience. Dedicated positions for elected representatives are abolished. This disgraceful attack on university independence, and on the collegial essence of university life, appears to have the support of a number of university Chancellors, including Alan Finkel at Monash, and Adrienne Clarke at La Trobe. These Chancellors have no respect for the centuries-old tradition which saw the University Council as a kind of parliament to represent the broad community that had an interest in the institution’s wellbeing and activities. Governments could appoint some Council members, but not a majority, and, at least until relatively recently, a wide range of people were sought.
seriously lays claim to the title ‘university’ could seek to exclude from its governing body those who represent the institution’s essence. Other Chancellors, including the University of Melbourne’s Elizabeth Alexander, condemned the Government’s changes, and Deakin University has already moved to ensure elected staff and student representatives continue on its Council. The model being implemented by Deakin looks to be worth exploring at other institutions. It is quite simple: • The University calls for expressions of interest from staff members who meet the criteria (established by the Government) for sitting on a Council (experience in sitting on boards and running similar organisations, financial expertise). • S uitably qualified candidates are determined and, given that only one such position will be created on Council (although there is no reason why this could not be more), an election is held to determine the successful candidate (assuming that more than one candidate nominates). • T he candidate who is successful in the election is then appointed to Council. This year, the NTEU will seek to have similar systems implemented at all universities.
Integral to the Council were the staff and students who made up the ‘community of teachers and scholars’ from which the term ‘university’ is derived. No institution that
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The ALP and Greens opposed the Baillieu Government’s changes, and the NTEU is pleased that the ALP has since said that in government it would repeal the changes and reinstate the provision for elected representatives. The Government’s approach, as supported by a number of Chancellors and Vice-Chancellors, demonstrates a fundamental lack of understanding of, or contempt for, the nature of universities as public educational institutions. The idea of the university as a place where truth is sought and conveyed to subsequent generations, where students learn not only for careers, but to become better members of society, has been replaced with the concept of the university as a cog in the government economic and training machine. The Baillieu Government’s changes take universities another step along the path of full corporatisation, converting Councils into boards of directors of what they see as companies selling degrees and conducting research that can be commercialised. The Union will continue to campaign against the changes and to seek reinstatement of elected staff and student representatives to University Councils. Colin Long, Victorian Division Secretary
At the chalkface My daughter starts her arts degree this month, at the same university her mother and father attended. Her excitement is infectious as she pores over her subject choices, reads what the coordinators have written about the subject content, finds the prescribed texts, and considers what events to go to in orientation week and what clubs to join. I cannot avoid comparing her arrival at university with my own in the dying days of the Whitlam Government. Her university is much changed, but as it is well established the opportunities for a rich education in and out of the classroom are still there. With two parents working in higher education, my daughter has many advantages as she negotiates her way. However, we still worry about the size of her classes, whether her teachers will have any time to talk to her, the assessment tasks will test and challenge her, the queues for everything will be too long, she’ll abandon overcrowded lectures claiming she’ll download instead, and we hope she’ll make friends and still love learning. In short we wonder whether her initial excitement will be maintained or dashed as she is hustled through a process more designed to ensure the metrics are favourable and the university can tick off the graduate attributes. By gaining a degree her job prospects are more secure and career income will be higher than her (female) counterparts who have not had her opportunities. Her parents also hope her university experience will assist her to live a full and compassionate life contributing to bettering this world. The greatest change in Australian universities since my undergraduate days is that we have rapidly expanded from an elite to mass system. Well over a million students are currently enrolled in university. The
Labor Government’s decision to uncap Commonwealth Supported Places (CSPs) is taking us towards universal access to university. While there are significant problems with the implementation of this policy, the principle that all people who want to should be able to undertake higher education is a far cry from the elite ivory towers of privilege less than two generations ago. A high quality, integrated, publicly funded tertiary education system, pursuing distinct missions, but enabling people to move along and between VET and higher education was the recommendation of the 2088 Bradley Review of Higher Education. The Bradley Report, though, warned that funding had to support the grand vision of access. This sadly is not the case. Five years later, the recommended conservative 10 per cent increase per CSP funded student still has not materialised, and the base funding gap is palpable to the students and staff at the metaphoric ‘chalkface’. The admirable objective of opening up university education also runs counter to the corporatisation of universities. Universities’ Councils seem not to be interested in the mission of education, but in the health of the business. This is readily illustrated by ongoing diversion of student learning and support funds to corporate structures and operations. As aspiring students have wryly commented to me, the website front pages of the universities all look too good to be true and they treat them with the same scepticism as one does perusing holiday sites. Media savvy youth delve in deeper to find out what their peers are saying, not what the corporate marketers are pushing. The digital natives are now at university which makes the talk about ‘blended learning’ a bit redundant. It is a given. Students assume that digital communication will be used by the university to communicate with them and by their teachers in the virtual and corporeal classroom. They got used to digital learning platforms at school and teachers who tweet. So the issues for staff are really about the value of the digital communications tools, having the training to use whatever is the latest thing, and workloads that genuinely reflect the time taken, rather than dubious notions of ‘equivalence’ to traditional preparation, delivery and assessment methods.
The worries about the ‘MOOCs’ are really shorthand for the genuine and very real concerns about the organisation and content of academic work; who constitutes the academic teaching workforce; the gatekeeping of disciplinary knowledge production and dissemination; and the funding of university teaching. Undergraduate teaching is, after all, the core activity and source of funds for most universities. The spectre of buying-in most content already and then relying upon an underclass of student mentors to guide student learning online and/or in physical locations does undermine the very concept of a university as a site of ongoing engagement with the creation and contestation of knowledge – and of academics steering this activity. Despite all the obsessive focus on the ATAR scores of school leavers, more and more people are gaining entry to university through recognition of prior learning and entry tests. Adding self-initiated study and success in MOOCs to existing ‘alternative’ entry schemes blows wide open the admissions barriers and, most worrying to staff whose employment is reliant upon the CSP funding stream, any fiscal certainty in university planning. An already casualised teaching workforce and a reluctance of many university managers to enact sustainable academic workforce plans, plus the ‘unbundling’ of the academic role, mean that it is very difficult for academics not to see themselves as a threatened species. So at the same time that universal higher education is possible and people from many different backgrounds and aspirations are coming to university, is the ‘university experience’ floating away in a (digital) cloud? Students (the digital natives) do keep saying that they want lecturers and tutors who will talk to them and give feedback. Mature age entrants likewise want interaction and want to be challenged and learn new things. This may be articulated as wanting value for their money and a marketable qualification, which in itself is most reasonable, but they are also saying they have certain expectations of university education. These are the reasons why the NTEU is holding our first National Teaching Conference in April (see p. 47 for details). Jeannie Rea, National President
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The new Gender Equality Act
Aiming for equality The Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Amendment Bill (2012) was passed by the Senate on 22 November 2012. The Bill amends the Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Act (1999) to reflect a new focus of the Act on improving gender equality in the workplace – hence it is titled the Gender Equality Act. As such, it covers both women and men, and specific recognition is made of equality in remuneration and the centrality of family/carer responsibilities in achieving gender equality.
There will be a phase in period of reporting in 2013, where employers are only required to report on the number and gender break down of their staff cohort. From 2014, however, the full reporting framework will be in place. In the meantime, the Government is consulting over the Gender Equality Indicators (GEI) and other aspects in relation to the Bill. The NTEU, ACTU and other unions are actively engaged in these consultations, and will argue strongly for robust measures to ensure that the legislation can achieve the intended goal of reducing the Gender Equity gap, for all industries.
Photo: Sherwin McGehee
About the Act
Terri MacDonald NTEU Policy & Research Officer
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Since the passing of the Affirmative Action (Equal Employment Opportunity for Women) Act 1986, the participation of women in the workforce has increased significantly, but women continue to be disadvantaged. For example, they spend less time in the paid workforce than men, earn less than men and are under-represented in leadership positions. As a consequence, women accrue less retirement savings and, indeed, are two-and-a-half times more likely to live in poverty in their old age than men. It is clear that despite previous Government initiatives, the gender pay gap, now at around 17.5 per cent persists (according to ABS average weekly ordinary full-time
earnings; on some other measures the gap is considerably wider.) These statistics, released in August 2012 by the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA, formerly known as EOWA, the Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Agency), show that more needs to be done. What is more, is that gender pay inequity is almost universal; there are very few jobs, sectors or age groups where women do not earn less, often hugely less, than men.
e. To improve the productivity and competitiveness of Australian business through the advancement of gender equality in employment and in the workplace
(the Agency) to name employers who fail to comply with the amended Act, and set out details of their non-compliance. The Agency will be empowered to do this by electronic or other means.
The Bill also requires employers with over 100 employees to provide quantitative information to the Agency on five key Gender Equality Indicators (GEIs):
Obligations under International Conventions
In the higher education sector, there are a number of factors working against women gaining access to gender pay equity. These factors include the excessive hours culture and work intensification, lack of mentors, role models and support, merit and success defined in gendered terms and career interruptions associated with childbirth and care.
• Gender composition of their governing bodies (i.e. boards).
In addition, structural changes in the academic labour force are having a negative impact on the gender pay gap and women’s access to tenured employment.
• Consultation with employees on issues concerning gender equality in the workplace.
A recent article in Women’s Agenda by Conrad Liveris noted that, of the nearly 1.1 million students at university 57% are women, making up 53% of all tertiary students in Australia. However, while there are more women graduating from our universities, there are considerably fewer women in leadership roles in those same universities.
• Gender composition of their workforce.
• Total remuneration payments of women and men for the reporting period. • Availability and usage of flexible working arrangements for employees and arrangements supporting employees with family or caring responsibilities.
The new legislation also enacts the objectives set out by a number of international conventions, including: • The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women. • The International Labour Organisation (ILO) Convention concerning Equal Remuneration for Men and Women workers for Work of Equal Value. • The ILO Convention concerning Equal Opportunities and Equal Treatment for Men and Women Workers: Workers with Family Responsibilities.
Employers will be required to inform relevant unions when the information is provided, and unions will have the chance to comment on the information. Those who fail to comply will be excluded from accessing government funding or contracts. The Bill also empowers the Workplace Gender Equality Agency
Key provisions of the Bill The Bill makes a number of substantial amendments to the 1999 Act. Initially, the words ‘equal opportunity for women’ are replaced with ‘gender equality’, thus changing the name of the Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Agency and the office of the Director of Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace. The Bill now established these with ‘Workplace Gender Equality Agency’ and the office of the ‘Director of Workplace Gender Equality’. The Bill changes the principal objects of the Act with the following section: a. To promote and improve gender equality (including equal remuneration between women and men) in employment and in the workplace; and b. To support employers to remove barriers to the full and equal participation of women in the workforce, in recognition of the disadvantaged position of women in relation to employment matters; and c. To promote, amongst employers, the elimination of discrimination on the basis of gender in relation to employment matters (including in relation to family and caring responsibilities); and d. To foster workplace consultation between employers and employees on issues concerning gender equality in employment and in the workplace; and
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Our universities are still sexist Seven out of ten Federal and State parliamentarians are men, and this hasn’t changed in the past ten years, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics release of the latest Gender Indicators. Twice as many men received nominations and awards for the Order of Australia. The proportion of women CEOs in the top 200ASX companies has continued to remain below 5% for the last decade. In the public service though the proportion of women in senior and middle management roles continues to improve from 35% in 2002 to 46%in 20121.
When the Year 12 results came out late last year, we once again had articles exclaiming surprise at girls’ proficiency in maths and boys’ in languages. The stereotypes prevail, despite the facts. Popular commentary highlights any opportunity to emphasise the apparent biological differences between male and female brains to justify ongoing gender stereotypes to the disadvantage of women advancing in public life and exercising power. This ongoing search for neuro difference is named as ‘neurosexism’ by University of Melbourne academic Cordelia Fine, and dismissed as emotional nonsense and potentially dangerous by distinguished sociologist Professor Raewyn Connell in a recent article in The Age.2 Connell further proposes that what has been called sex differences research should really be known as sex similarities research because the actual differences between men as a group and women as a group are so small when they do appear. When the last Graduate Careers Council report came out showing that male graduates continue to earn more on graduation than women and this accelerates across their life time across most discipline and occupation areas, new women graduates would have been disappointed but not surprised. What was surprising was the strange conclusion by some commentators that this suggested that women shouldn’t bother getting degrees. Considering that without a degree women’s lifetime earnings plummet substantially further, the conclusion should have been that women must not only continue to get degrees, but they should also get equal employment opportunities on entering the workforce and over their working lives. The Federal Government late last year legislated to increase the accountability of employers to exercise gender equity. The new Workplace Gender Equality Act 2012 replaces the Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Act (see article, p. 24). Last year the NTEU with the National Union of Students revived Bluestocking Week because despite women now being
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the majority of staff and students in universities, gender based discrimination continues to permeate our universities. Occupational and disciplinary gender segregation remains the norm with the accompanying assumptions of male competence and questioning of women’s ability and commitment. Two decades on from when we were first talking about the chilly climates encountered in cracking the glass ceilings, women often still have to justify their presence and their sex. Women are but a quarter of the professors and men still get promoted to management more rapidly. But it is not just that women may be overlooked, but that many women don’t want to be part of university management if it means adopting traditionally masculine management and leadership behaviours and practices. This year Bluestocking Week will be held in August. Every NTEU Branch is asked to organise an event and raise the ongoing issues of inequality and inequity and discrimination. Bluestocking Week, revived last year by NTEU with NUS, is about celebrating the success of women in higher education – and challenging ongoing gendered discrimination in the construction and transmission of knowledge. It is named for the pioneering women of the 19th century who grabbed the term, which was meant to be a derogatory dismissal of their achievements and proudly wear the badge (and stockings) of serious scholarship. Jeannie Rea, NTEU National President To see what happened during Bluestocking Week last year, please visit nteu.org.au/women/bluestockingweek 1. ABS, 30/1/13, ‘Women still under-represented in positions of leadership’, Media Release 2. Catherine Armitage, ‘The male v female brain: is it all in the mind’, The Age, 2/2/13
International Women’s Day
Domestic violence is an industrial issue The UN theme for International Women’s Day (IWD) on 8 March 2013 was ‘A promise is a promise: Time for action to end violence against women’. From the first UN International Women’s Year in 1975, the UN women’s agency and women’s NGOs have used IWD as a focus for campaigns for women’s rights focussing upon changing legal, educational, political, economic, civil, religious and cultural proscriptions upon women and girls enjoying the same opportunities as boys and men. However, male violence against women continues to be a constant threat and reality for women and girls seeking and exercising their rights. There has been a significant change in that male violence towards women is not ignored or even sanctioned as readily as it once was, but it is still what often stops women acting for themselves and for other women and children. Many women do bravely speak out and act up in their homes, schools, universities, workplaces and in public life. Often such women are ignored, undermined, chastised and ridiculed, and sometimes they are bashed, raped and killed. We have heard many a platitude about ending violence against women and many a campaign, and these have their impact, but it is the concrete actions that make a difference. Enough of promises. International Women’s Day’s origins are in celebrating the struggles of working women and the date commemorates young women garment workers striking in New York at the turn of the last century. Therefore, it was most appropriate that the NTEU focussed upon domestic violence and women workers rights on IWD in 2013. And we had a concrete action – educating about domestic violence to support the negotiation of clauses in our EBAs to
better support those experiencing domestic violence by ensuring that they are supported in our workplaces.
ness, with women and children still being forced in the majority of cases to flee the family home.
All universities ( and other workplaces) should have:
Domestic violence can take many forms, including intimidation, coercion or isolation, emotional, physical, sexual, financial and other forms of physiological abuse and usually increases over time, becoming more frequent and serious. It extends beyond the home and into workplaces and public spaces and impacts not only upon the victim but others as well, including dependants, extended family, colleagues and friends, who may also find themselves drawn into the sphere of violence.
• Policies that help employees deal with matters arising as a result of domestic violence. • Measures to ensure that employees are not disadvantaged as a result of dealing with such matters. • Sufficient special paid leave to enable employees to deal with these matters. In campaigning for workplace support to assist women to break the cycle of domestic violence and ongoing harm, the NTEU has joined with other unions. More than a million Australian workers are now covered by industrial agreements which include: • Dedicated, additional paid leave • Access to flexible work arrangements where necessary • Referral to support services • Protection against adverse action or discrimination following disclosure of domestic violence • Confidentiality • Workplace safety strategies • Dedicated workplace contact people. Domestic violence is still often hidden, enabling abusers to get away with it and victims/survivors to feel ashamed. The startling fact is that it will affect approximately one in three Australian women in their lifetime, and is the leading cause of death, disability and illness for women aged between 15 and 44 years (VicHealth, 2004). After financial difficulty, domestic violence is the leading cause of homeless-
We know that remaining in paid employment is critical to having the financial means to leave a violent relationship. Too often women lose their jobs or have to resign because of the impact domestic violence has on their work. Holding onto their jobs and being safe at work make a real difference. Domestic violence has negative implications not only for those directly affected. The impact of domestic violence significantly affects Australia’s economy. A report by Access Economics in 2004 estimated the cost of domestic violence to the Australian economy to be around $8.1 billion. This was broken down further – the annual cost of lost productivity due to domestic violence for Australian businesses around $484 million, the loss of income due to the amount of management time spent on dealing with absenteeism, including administration costs, equated to $14.2 million and replacing staff who were fired, or left due to domestic violence, was around $36.6million. It’s clear that no matter who you are, the impact of domestic violence is profound. For more information contact your local NTEU Branch and/or www.nteu.org.au/women
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Beyond the cyber-cell
Photo: Blair Bunting
Vice-Chancellor, Professor Ian Young at the Australian National University, rarely strays from controversial opinion. At a conference in October last he inquired: ‘Why on earth would students come along… sit in a passive lecture with 300 other students when they can access material online themselves’. As if to add further implicit insult to the teaching abilities of his academic staff, Professor Young went on to assert that university campuses will in the future be largely bereft of students. The physical campus, he predicted, ‘will more and more become an environment of research rather than teaching’.
Dr Richard Hil Adjunct Professor, Griffith University, School of Human Services and Social Work
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Young’s ghost-town vision comes on the back of other equally dismal predictions by senior university administrators and higher education commentators who maintain that the days of the physical campus are numbered. Yet the assumption that such developments are inevitable or indeed desirable has to some extent been scuttled by the drift of high numbers of university students to private colleges, all in search of a more intimate educational experience. Additionally, ominous signs have been detected in the emergence of ‘massive open online education’ courses which, according to some, are likely to decimate enrolment numbers at many universities. Both developments have prompted some senior university administrators to call for a return to more personal, ‘student-friendly’ and ‘interactive’ institutions that give primacy to direct human contact rather than peering endlessly into a screen. But it is Professor Young’s comments that require a response, if only to put the skids under some of the off-hand assumptions about ‘traditional’ approaches to higher education that currently circulate in the public domain. First, ask anyone who has been in the presence of other students and heard a wonderful, entertaining, informative and enlightening lecture and they will tell you that this experience lingers long
and fondly in the memory. That said, and notwithstanding all the cyber pyrotechnics, there are and always will be boring lecturers who are monosyllabic, intrinsically dull and tethered to dot-pointed power points, but that is a problem of delivery and training rather than the lecture format. The best lecturers will deliver their material in the finest traditions of Socratic edutainment and vaudeville theatre, leaving their audiences sated with humorous anecdotes, digestible information and persuasive argument. Second, guess what? Students’ attending lectures are rarely as ‘passive’ as Professor Young might suppose (unless of course they fall prey to the soporific effects of a boring orator). Questions and answers, chatting with each other and even the occasional bout of heckling can make for a lively encounter, as can the sense that one has been touched by something profound and meaningful. Moreover, after a lecture students can happily saunter off to the campus café or bar and immerse themselves merrily in the world of ideas and idle chatter. A good lecture is fuel for the dissection of ideas in the presence of others. It brings people together. Third, and obviously, being with others is important at an existential level. Sure, we can Skype, Facebook, Twitter and email to our heart’s content but is this really the same as peering into another’s eyes, watching facial and hand gestures, laughing openly at jokes, sharing a walk in the park or a beer in the pub? People learn to converse through such encounters, to have a sense of the living Other outside the parameters of the framed rectangle. We know that one of the major complaints of online students is the lack of direct, in-
formal interaction and estrangement from their institutions. We also know from much of the psychological literature that direct engagement with others produces experiences that are much richer, profound and meaningful than those generated through cyberspace. Surely Professor Young would not want to deny his students the opportunity for ‘personal growth’ and human fulfilment that arises from direct communication and relationship building? The lure of direct educational experience is why thousands of people attend public lectures, or enrol in courses at their local college, or hang out with each other in book clubs, discussion groups, cafes and restaurants.
As to ‘lecture streaming’, he remarked: ‘There’s no real comparison with the experience of being in a lecture. You can ask questions, help others when they don’t understand. You can’t communicate so readily online, it’s often very frustrating. Online lectures are okay as refreshers, but nowhere as good as the on-campus lecture…After a lecture we go off and talk about what was said and what wasn’t said, and that can be very interesting. The very act of talking about this stuff in a formal setting and later in a café makes you feel part of the university. I really like that. I would hate to be at home in front of a computer all day. What a lousy way of experiencing university.’
But there’s a broader question here, which is to do with the increasing dominance of a sort of commercialised, technocratic culture in which cyber relations are increasingly privileged over direct human contact. Wander through any railway station or witness the rise of automated bank tellers, and self-service and computerised check-points at supermarkets and airports and you get a sense of the (literally) de-humanised commercial world that awaits us.
And here’s the rub: university education has over recent years become – despite the usual claims about ‘choice’, ‘flexibility’, and the rest – a narrower, money-making and vocationally driven experience in which, somewhere along the line, people like Professor Young have all but forgotten about the value of direct human contact. Being on campus in the company of others (rather than in one’s cyber cell) should, where possible, be a vital part of the university experience.
Universities are creating similar cultures of distancing. The argument peddled by higher education mandarins is that online education allows for flexible and widespread participation in higher education, but the reality for many students is a lesser learning and human experience. Here’s what my son said about Professor Young’s comments: ‘That’s just ridiculous! You don’t just go to university for the course. You go for the experience of being with others, making friends, having a few laughs. You do a lot of learning about yourself when you hang out with other people.’
Perhaps Professor Young should consult more openly with his students and academic staff about how they might feel about campuses largely devoid of students. Richard Hil is the author of Whackademia: An insider’s account of the troubled university.
Above: Students on the lawn at Sydney University.
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Paying more for less 2013 is a game-changing year for students in Australia, and universities as a whole. We have received the Government’s response to the Base Funding Review Report, which unfortunately did not include a commitment to increase base funding, yet it did promise that the Government would retain the cap on student fees. This year the National Union of Students (NUS) will focus on the fact that student contributions to higher education fees are ballooning at an alarming rate. As the peak representative body for university students, we believe that if our higher education system is to be accessible and equitable, there can be no further increases to student fees or any moves towards fee deregulation. It now takes around a decade to pay off a typical HECS debt.
Where’s our Education Revolution? Our campaign for orientation week – ‘Hey Baby Boomers, Where’s Our Education Revolution’ – centres on the cost of going to university nowadays. Many of the ‘baby boomers’ that are involved in the decision-making process around higher education policy today went through university when education was free. We are calling on the government to reduce student debt levels and to increase public funding to universities to improve quality, choice and to prevent further course and staff cuts from happening. NUS is also participating in the review into the Student Services and Amenities Fee (SSAF) guidelines with a view to strengthening student consultation and funding for independent and democratically-elected student representative organisations. The SSAF must be retained in some form to allow student campus life
to flourish and to recover from the previous system of voluntary student unionism. The trend of course cuts and casualisation that is happening across the sector has had a severe impact on both staff and students and the NTEU and NUS will work with like-minded unions and sector groups to advocate for no further cuts and an increase to base funding. In the lead up to the election it is also important that voters know how their vote will affect education, and NUS plans to keep all political parties accountable to their higher education policy positions as the year unfolds.
B, F c/LL Y O SIT
ER Y T NE SYD O DEB N
BOOMERS WHERE’S OUR
EDUCATION REVOLUTION? : DON’T PAY MORE FOR LESS OFIT. R PR OUR EDUCATION IS NOT FO
National Day of Action NUS will run a National Day of Action (NDA) on 27 March to call on students and stakeholders in higher education to convey the message that our education is not for profit. We invite participants to get involved in campus and state actions across the country for a strong student voice against fee increases, course cuts and fee deregulation, which has gained favour amongst the Group of Eight universities in particular. The guarantee of ‘fair wages for fair work’, including paid internships, is also central to the student experience. Through the NUS Welfare and Education departments and in conjunction with the Australian Council of Trade Unions, United Voice and the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance, NUS will work to ensure students know their rights at work, join their unions, get paid at a decent and legal rate and are not being exploited for the work that they do to further their respective careers.
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MEL ERSITY OF - NOBOURNE D
Authorised by Clare
Ultimately, the cost of being a student is consistently on the rise. Most students are doing it seriously tough and for many the stress of their financial predicament affects their studies. Students are now staying at home for longer because they cannot afford to live out of home. Those that must move out to study including rural or regional students and international students need more support from state and federal governments. As it stands, student income support falls well below the poverty line. NUS this year will campaign for the rates of Youth Allowance and Rent Assistance to be increased, for the age of independence to be lowered to 18 and for the retention of Start-up Scholarships. Student debt and day-to-day student poverty are serious issues that any government needs to address. Jade Tyrrell, National President, National Union of Students For more information about NUS and their campaigns, please visit www.unistudent.com.au
This is the title
DON’T PAY MORE FOR LESS:
OUR EDUCATION IS NOT FOR PROFIT. A BRIEF HISTORY IN HIGHER EDUCATION DEBT:
Free tertiary education is introduced
WITH NO HECS, A GRADUATE IN 1980 HAD NO UNIVERSITY DEBT
Labor Hawke Government introduces HECS
A graduate in 1990 took approx 8.5 months to pay off their debt
Liberal Howard Government introduces 3 bands of HECS, increasing student contributions by between 33 and 222 percent depending on their area of study
A GRADUATE IN 2000 TOOK APPROX 5.9 YEARS TO PAY OFF THEIR DEBT
Liberal Howard Government gives universities the ability to increase student contributions by 25%, by 2005 all but a handful of new students are paying HECS+25%
a graduate in 2010 will take approx. 7.9 years to pay off their debt
Authorised by Clare Keyes-Liley, National Education Officer 2013, NUS
WHAT WILL BE EXPECTED OF THE STUDENTS IN
FIGHT FOR OUR EDUCATION: SAY NO TO FEE INCREASES, SAY NO TO A DECADE OF DEBT. NTEU ADVOCATE • vol. 20 no. 1 • March 2013 • www.nteu.org.au/advocate • page 31
Local level organising
The key to achieving our vision Insecurity in the higher education sector has been on the rise since the 1990s. Current figures estimate 60% of the total workforce of the university sector to be casual employees. While in the past job insecurity was seen as a temporary phase affecting those on casual teaching contracts, over the last twenty years of restructuring, uncertainty around work has been installed as a fixed feature of the new university landscape. As teaching and research are increasingly differentiated, the specialisation of work has become synonymous with the downgrading of working conditions and entitlements and increased job insecurity across the board. Not only are multiple casual contracts becoming a permanent employment option for many PhD graduates unable to find continuing full-time work, but the corporatisation of the higher education sector has undermined the bulwark of the tenured academic position. The erosion of security across the university sector has increased the importance of staff organising at the local level in the fight for better working conditions. The NTEU University of Sydney Branch has begun making some industrious steps in this direction by initiating the process of building Union power across the entire base of the membership. Organising at the local level has always been a key component of Union activity, but in the new university environment it could also be a strategy to turn around the tide of privatisation, corporatisation
and managerialism that has undermined public education and devalued the work of educators, researchers and support staff. The rationality of staff organising collectively at the local level is a positive first step in building networks that connect Union members within their own workplace, and in doing so, challenge the individualisation, isolation and insecurity brought about by the corporate restructuring of academia. Delegates have an important role to play in fighting insecurity and building Union power at multiple levels of the university. Delegates augment the Union’s support structure by monitoring changes that impact working conditions and the welfare of staff locally and connecting with members in their immediate network to respond directly to pressing issues. Part of the reason why this is an effective strategy in building Union power is that the initiation and implementation of change processes that have detrimental effects on staff relies primarily on flattening or neutralising points of resistance within individual university units. By responding directly to local issues, delegate networks can demand accountability and transparency for decisions that affect staff. Localised resistance challenges the model of decision-making that assigns disproportionate power to managers and increases the strength of centralised Union campaigns. Establishing multiple and dispersed working groups across such a wide membership is not an easy proposition. Decision-making, even in small groups, is hard work. But working hard at making decisions collaboratively builds solidarity across multiple levels of the Union membership base by bringing together individual members within faculties and departments. Faculties and departments are by nature close-knit communities where vertical hierarchies organise the distribution of work. Building Union delegate networks across faculties contributes to the distribution of horizontal alliances, strengthening the power base for Union activities. Horizontal networks mean delegates, whether in junior or senior positions in their own
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departments and whether general or academic staff, can work in unison to defend working conditions for all members. Connecting delegates through horizontal networks empowers more members to directly confront attacks on working conditions from a range of different employment roles. The dispersal of Union power across horizontal networks empowers members by strengthening the support structure within faculties and providing a framework for democratic and representative involvement in decision-making. Generating momentum around focused local campaigns by engaging members in faculty-specific initiatives means increasing the sites of union activity across the university. Delegate groups build Union power by dispersing the location of resistance to attacks on working conditions across the entire university and connecting specific local campaigns with the Union’s fight for job security and better working conditions. Dr Nour Dados, University of Sydney Nour Dados is currently working with Prof. Raewyn Connell on an ARC Discovery Project about the making of market society on a world scale.
Delegate development front and centre in 2013 NTEU has made delegate development a priority for 2013. Education and Training Officer, Helena Spyrou, has started programs at Monash, Melbourne and the University of Tasmania, with eight other Branches to follow. These Branches will be looking at how to recruit more delegates and how to support them better in representing members. Being a Union delegate is a great way to get involved in NTEU and to get a broader perspective on how your workplace works. If you are interested in becoming a delegate, contact your NTEU Branch today. www.nteu.org.au/branches
Trouble in paradise
Time to rethink Fiji This year, the ACTU wants Australians thinking about travelling to Fiji to know the facts. Yes it is an idyllic holiday destination with pristine beaches, beautiful weather, and generous and kind locals. That is why over 330,000 Australians, making up over 51 per cent of tourists to the country, travelled to Fiji in 2011. However, tourism is only part of the story. The second, and darker, half of the story comes from the towns and squatter villages outside the hotel grounds where human and workers’ rights have been stripped away.
Since 2006, the lives of Fijians have been determined by decree following a coup initiated by Commodore Bainimarama. When the highest court in Fiji found the coup to be illegal, Bainimarama sacked the judges, abrogated the constitution and appointed himself Prime Minister. The regime today remains a military dictatorship. Under the regime workers are being denied their rights, are increasingly living under the poverty line, and trade unions are hamstrung in representing them. In 2011, approximately 15,000 public sector workers were removed from the workplace relations legislation. As a result workers have no minimum conditions of work, wage protection, or right to bargain collectively. In key private sector industries, workers were given 60 days to renegotiate their Collective Agreements without union representation. If they failed to do so, corporations could unilaterally introduce individual contracts with revised wages and conditions. The coverage of the decree included Air Pacific (partly owned by Qantas), Westpac and ANZ. In the background to these decrees is an environment of fear and intimidation. Freedom of speech and assembly is restricted, people can be detained for up to 14 days without charge, permits are required for meetings of more than three people, and people not sharing the same view as the regime are targeted.
Trade unionists – the most vocal opposition to the regime – have been repeatedly harassed, intimidated and assaulted. The International Labour Organisation has expressed serious concern and sent a high level mission to investigate in late 2012. The regime kicked them out. It is unclear whether the mission will return to complete its work. The US is also concerned, and as a result is reviewing Fiji’s access to the Generalised System of Preferences. The system allows goods produced in developing countries, including Fiji, to receive preferential access to the US market. A requirement of eligibility is respect for internationally recognised workers’ rights. Under Bainimarama the situation for workers will not improve. And hope cannot be placed on elections supposedly slated for 2014 to remove him from power. The regime has thrown out a draft constitution (that included respect for human and workers’ rights) prepared by an independent body of experts. Instead it will draft its own constitution. Bainimarama has also introduced a decree on political parties that breaches basic principles on freedom of association and prevents trade unionists from being a member of a political party, holding office in a political party or engaging in political activity. So it is becoming increasingly clear that elections, if they happen at all, won’t be free and fair. What to do in a situation where a regime won’t get serious on human and workers’ rights? Well, in the 1980s tourists rethought travelling to South Africa. In the 2000s it was Burma. Perhaps it’s time to rethink Fiji. Amy Schwebel, ACTU Research Officer To keep up to date on developments in Fiji and to support campaign activities calling for a return to respect for human and workers’ rights in Fiji visit www.facebook.com/pages/Fiji-Trouble-in-Paradise/112988065464303.
Photo: ACTU rally in support of Fiji, September 2012. © www.twu.com.au
NTEU ADVOCATE • vol. 20 no. 1 • March 2013 • www.nteu.org.au/advocate • page 33
Photo: Bicycles at Nankai University. Used with permission.
Middle Kingdom higher education
First and foremost, it is the numbers that stand out. China has the largest higher education system in the world, largely created in the last 15 years, and with a total investment in research that will soon exceed the United States. Furthermore, the reforms to its higher education system have led to massification on such a scale that it is unique.
Last year, 9.15 million students undertook the National Higher Education Entrance Examination (gao kao). Of these, around 75 per cent will be admitted into one of the 2,305 Higher Education Institutions (HEI), of varying quality and level, in mainland China. While in Australia there are just over 1 million university students, in China (in 2010), there were almost 21.5 million students enrolled; of these, over 1 million were postgraduate students alone. Growth is vital in this system, and since 1998 the number of graduates has increased from under one million in 1998 to over six million in 2010. The number of total enrolments in the sector has grown rapidly and is approximately five times larger now than in the late 1990s. The increase is the most notable among science and engineering students, reflecting the Government agenda of boosting innovation and the supply of skilled labour for manufacturing industry. Delving deeper, however, reveals interesting details that are driving what is a massive expansion. To understand these, it is important to take a step back, and examine the impetus for the creation of this system.
Terri MacDonald NTEU Policy & Research Officer
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Prior to 1998, China had primarily focused on primary and secondary education. However, the decision to concentrate on reforming the university system in China, with an elevated emphasis on quality, was set out in the 10th (2001–05) and the 11th (2006–10) Five-Year Plans. In 2010, the Development Plan set out further reforms for the period 2010 – 2020. As part of these plans, ten universities were targeted by the Chinese government to become ‘world-class’ - including Peking and Tsinghua Universities. To achieve that goal, the government promised to increase the educational allocation in the national budget by one per cent a year for each of the five years following 1998.
University and social stratification The result is a hierarchical system, with ‘985’ universities at the top, followed by ‘211’ universities, provincial and local four-year colleges and universities, then tertiary vocational colleges. Among more than 3000 colleges and universities, there are 39 top universities listed in the ‘985’ project and 115 known universities listed in the ‘211’ project.
Compared with students from other colleges and universities, graduates of ‘985’ universities have superior opportunities that come from a better quality education. They can pursue post graduate study at home or abroad and tend to find the better jobs in a highly competitive labour market. Conversely, graduates of the majority other colleges and universities have less opportunity and fewer job prospects, except those students with rich social capital. As a result, parents, teachers and students themselves are no longer satisfied with admittance to any college or university, and students are pressured to gain a place at the top university or at least a well-known university. Since gao kao is almost the only gateway to top universities in China, fierce competition is a natural result of the high expectations. Since the beginning of the open door policy in 1978, the gap between rich and poor in society has widened, while also widening the income gap between industries and vocations. Accordingly, there is a trend toward a growing separation between social classes and, in a highly stratified society with a distinct social hierarchy; opportunities for socioeconomic mobility and status are very limited. In short, for most people, one must compete with others for the few opportunities in order to attain a better position - thus gao kao is still a means of social mobility for many middle class and disadvantaged families. Indeed, while Government leaders and prominent business people tend to send their children to top or well-known universities abroad; families from the middle and lower economic levels expect their children to achieve high scores to be admitted to ideal colleges and universities in China.
Measuring ‘quality’ The Chinese Government, like almost every other government (including Australia) that funds a public higher education system, are obsessed with measures of quality. Educational attainment in China is subject to firm quantity indicators designed to drive continued improvement in educational quality. Funding is no longer simply a matter of increasing the numbers of students enrolled; Chinese institutions are subject to extraordinary pressures to upgrade themselves in terms of ‘objective’ rankings. High priority is placed on international rankings taken as publications in international journals, citations, and international cooperation. These are used to indicate the elevation of attainment for each educational institution and funding is directly linked to these indicators. Publication citations also count equally for Chinese scholars in terms of their appointment, maintenance of position and promo-
tion. Indicators relating to international rankings across countries, publications and citations feed directly into annual performance indicators for Chinese academic staff in an ongoing process (noting tenure does not exist). It is not uncommon for an annual target of three international publications to be set , with termination of employment to occur on non-fulfilment of publication targets. Universities may also be given targets for improvements in international rankings and activities. With this lack of academic freedom and the limited ability for scholars to engage in debates or question government policies, creative thinking is often discouraged. Critics also argue that pressure to ‘publish or perish’ undermines creativity, innovation and originality. Indeed, the methodology of rote teaching still prevalent in the majority of Chinese institutions is often seen as being counterproductive to the efforts to encourage critical thinking and creativity. Although highly instrumentalist, these policies have driven change in output by educational institutions, individual faculty members and students. For instance, China’s share of Asian science and engineering articles was increased from 14.54 per cent in 1998 to 22.43 per cent in 2003. However, quantity is not quality; for example, the Chinese Academy of Sciences is the world’s biggest research publisher, but its research tends to have low citation impact. Not surprisingly, China’s universities are not highly placed in any of the well known international ranking systems. The level of expertise in academia is also an issue with only approximately 30 per cent of academic staff in China holding postgraduate degrees. While numbers are improving as the State recognises the need for more domestic postgraduate courses, it will take some time for these new staff to filter through the system. Scope is also limited, with research output largely confined to elite research institutions.
Funding Sweeping changes in the staff performance system and institutional accountability are accompanied by large-scale investment in the sector, although there is still under resourcing, with the lion’s share of funding being forwarded to a select few HEIs. Under the ‘985 Project’, ten institutions received funding of more than 30 billion RMB in 1998 alone (equivalent to A$4.6b in 1998, or between A$7.5b and A$10b by today’s standards). The investment in R&D is a key component of the sector financing reform and by 2010; the target of two per cent of GDP allocated to R&D was achieved. However, funding allocations are subject to the internal machinations of the government. Central planning is concentrated in the Ministry of Education, which determines the long-term strategy
of literally each individual institution, including the elite group of the nine most research-intensive universities. Although investment in universities has skyrocketed in a relatively short period of time, the strategy behind the allocation of funding is not always consistent – for example, the construction of new facilities and brand-new campuses has often been done at the expense of investment in staff and students services. Institutions are also encouraged to generate their own income from commercialisation activities, tuition fees and private funds, which combined account for around 50 per cent of institutional income, with the other half sourced from government. However, critics argue that leadership initiative and autonomy, which are encouraged and nurtured by the Central government strategists, is often restricted or resisted by lower layers of educational bureaucracy, for the sake of compliance. Though funding has increased, it has not kept pace with the increase in class sizes, and some areas need improved resourcing. Conversely, pre-tertiary teaching that doesn’t provide students with strong foundations in science, technology, and clinical areas has resulted in first class faculty and labs, although available, being underutilised.
Future impacts Higher education in China is not stagnant, and reforms continue to be rolled out. Internationally, there is a sense of both opportunism and fear regarding the rapid growth of China’s Higher Education system. Australia is a stakeholder in China’s higher education system, not only because of our complex and broad relations with the emerging super-power in Asia, but also because approximately one quarter of our international students are Chinese nationals – approximately 126,000 in 2011. In addition, Australian universities have over 100 joint teaching programs delivered in China, feeding Chinese students to Australian institutions as well as assisting in local business and NGO style programs. But there are also negative reports on the scale and implications of China’s reforms and expansion of higher education. US media has frequently quoted and misinterpreted the statement that ‘China today produces 3 times more engineers than the United States and will quickly overtake the U.S. in total graduates.’ When the current rate of graduates are viewed in the context of OECD predications of China’s middle class population reaching 500 million by 2025, it is clear that an expanded higher education system will result in more Chinese graduates entering the global workforce. This new cohort of graduates will have an internationalist perspective and be globally mobile.
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Above: Destruction of Aleppo University. © Lens of a Young Halabi, www.facebook.com/LensYoungHalabi
High death toll in Aleppo University bombing At least 87 people – most of them students – were reported killed in two explosions at the Aleppo University campus in northern Syria on 15 January.
At the Security Council in New York, Bashir Ja’afari, Syria’s UN envoy, said: ‘A cowardly terrorist act targeted the students of Aleppo University as they sat for their mid-term examinations. This act killed 82 students and wounded 162 other students.’ In a statement on 16 January, the UKbased Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said: ‘Medical and local activist sources report that the number of dead is likely to rise to over 90 because there are more than 150 people injured by the explosions, many of them severely. ‘These sources also confirm that many of those killed were students and refugees who settled in the university campus.’ The UK-based human rights group said it had not been able to identify the cause of the two explosions, which shook the area between the university residence and the architecture building in the southern part of Aleppo University on Tuesday 15 January. A government-run university, it is Syria’s second-largest higher education institution after Damascus University.
Brendan O’Malley University World News
According to the state news agency SANA, the blasts caused casualties both among students taking their first day of exams and civilians who had fled their homes to seek refuge from fighting elsewhere in the city, which is Syria’s second largest. It said the deaths and destruction were caused
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by two rockets fired by a ‘terrorist’ group, the common term used to describe the armed opposition. But rebels said the explosions were caused by Government forces. According to The New York Times, the University’s own press office issued a statement claiming that Syrian Air Force MIG fighter planes had targeted the campus in two missile attacks three minutes apart. A student named Simon told CNN that he had heard a plane overhead. ‘Suddenly a loud explosion erupted just 50 metres away, at the gates of the college of architecture,’ he said. At least 10 cars were destroyed, killing those inside. Minutes later a second blast exploded, but it caused mostly material damage. While helping to load the injured and dead into trucks, he counted ‘at least 50 bodies’. ‘Aleppo University is known as the university of the revolution. We staged a peaceful protest last week, and this is why we were targeted. Our pro-Government professors would always threaten us and say we swear we will shell this university’, Simon told CNN. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in a statement: ‘Such heinous attacks are unacceptable and must stop immediately. All combating parties in Syria must abide by their obligations under international humanitarian law.
‘Deliberate targeting of civilians and civilian targets constitutes a war crime.’ Irina Bokova, director general of UNESCO, said: ‘It is truly shocking and distressing to see so many young people dedicated to pursuing their education in the midst of strife lose their life to senseless violence.’ She called on all those involved in the fighting to respect the right to education. Diya Nijhowne, director of the Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack, said it was a ‘heinous’ act and an example of how schools and universities were all too often targeted for attacks as a tactic of war, killing and maiming students and staff, and destroying precious educational infrastructure. ‘Whoever is responsible for these attacks must be held accountable for the destruction they have caused,’ she said. Rebels and Government forces have been fighting over control of the city since July. During the past year, the University has been a focal point for clashes between Government forces and protesters opposed to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Footage of the aftermath of the explosions posted by Reuters shows widespread damage to University buildings, debris blasted all over the area and numerous cars damaged or on fire. According to SANA, Minister of Higher Education Mohammad Yahya Mu’ala said al-Assad had ordered that the damaged buildings be rehabilitated as soon as possible to ensure the resumption of education and exams at the University. However, Government forces have previously attacked university facilities and students. On 3 May 2012, Syrian forces raided student dormitories during anti-Government protests, firing teargas and live rounds of ammunition, killing four students, wounding 28 and leaving part of the campus in flames. Around 50 students were arrested. At the time, local reports said pro-Assad students had earlier attacked 1,500 other students protesting against the regime, using knives. Some students, along with their belongings, were reportedly thrown out of windows. The UN estimates that more than 60,000 people, mostly civilians, have been killed in Syria since the uprising against al-Assad began in March 2011. This article by Brendan O’Malley first appeared in University World News, issue 255, 16 January 2013. Free subscriptions to UWN available at www.universityworldnews.com
Top: Damaged classroom in the Fine Arts Faculty. Middle: Blood stained papers of a Mechanical Engineering student killed in the blast. Bottom: Remains of the Science Faculty. All images © Lens of a Young Halabi, www.facebook.com/LensYoungHalabi NTEU ADVOCATE • vol. 20 no. 1 • March 2013 • www.nteu.org.au/advocate • page 37
News from the Net Pat Wright
Organising casuals in the US Working conditions for higher education teaching staff in the US are abysmal – and getting worse. The proportion of teaching staff on shortterm contracts, part-time and casual, sessional work has grown exponentially, boosted by management’s drive for ‘flexibility’ and the introduction of new ‘teaching’ technologies, often controlled by nonteaching technicians and their managers. This vast precariat army, as Guy Standing would call them, is largely over-worked, over-qualified, under-paid, under-employed and vulnerable to exploitation. In the largely deregulated labour market of the US, they don’t even know what is a fair wage for the job, and certainly don’t know where the next job is coming from. The expansion of this precarious employment has been so rapid that the unions representing academic staff have been unable to keep recruitment up, so casual academics – called Adjuncts in the US – have been largely unorganised. Of course, some sections of the academic unions have not supported recruitment of Adjuncts, believing that the union has enough trouble defending the interests of full-time, tenured faculty, and not seeing the business case for collecting lesser union dues from people with greater employment issues. Consequently, the hard core, traditional, tenured faculty has imploded as a proportion of the workforce and the industry has been largely casualised. Fortunately, there has recently been something of a turnaround in the recruitment of Adjuncts and in their organising to press for better working conditions. An interesting example of this has been the online Adjunct Project, started by Josh Boldt of the Chronicle of Higher Educa-
tion (chronicle.com) on Valentine’s Day in February 2012. This year, the Adjunct Project (adjunct. chronicle.com) celebrated its first anniversary with the Top Ten Posts of 2012. They make chilling reading, with Adjuncts taking full responsibility for entire courses, many teaching across two or three institutions, some teaching more courses than full-time faculty yet paid much less and without such benefits as health cover, others working as Adjuncts for eleven years on the lowest pay level, etc.
that the online courses are more onerous to teach than the on campus courses, but the pay is the same. It seems that there is no agreed unit of account or formula for calculating the workload of online courses and thus commensurate remuneration. Such a formula might include class size, contact hours, course credit, retention rate, etc. We in Australia might do well to consider such a formula before we are run over by the Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) juggernauts from the US.
Rejecting online courses as an inferior form of education ...online courses are There are a few will not work – brute generally inferior to the stories of gradually economics will improved workbygone traditional face-tojust propel them ing conditions face mentoring relationship over or around the over many years, resistors. We have – but they are so scalable invariably through known since Plato that they can be replicated collective bargainrecorded the chat in massive numbers many ing, often supported between Socrates by a national union, times, thus minimising the and Phaedrus that always involving unit cost. books destroy memcommitment to ory and are inferior self-help at the local to conversations, level. but Socrates is long gone and the inferior knowledge that we have of him is due Although the labour market, the higher to books. There can be little doubt that education industry, and the trade union online courses are generally inferior to the movement in the US are very different from bygone traditional face-to-face mentoring their counterparts in Australia, there are relationship – but they are so scalable that some things from which we might learn. they can be replicated in massive numbers NTEU, for example, is fortunate in having many times, thus minimising the unit cost. academic and professional staff, tenured and non-tenured, all united in the one Having appropriated the intellectual propunion, and should safeguard that unity. erty of the lecturer and alienated it into a replicable artifact, the managers of the Some of the casualisation of US higher Student Experience can deliver it online to education is due to a diluted commitment any number of students at any time in any to the teaching job – some Adjuncts teach place. If these managers can also capture as a side-line to their main job, particularly other teaching techniques in discussion if they work in another profession, some check-lists or worksheets, this social techretirees teach part-time to supplement nology can also be administered online. their pensions or keep themselves active, others do some teaching while they study Finally, assessment tasks can be devised, or re-train. In each of these cases, commitdelivered and graded online – all by ment to the job, let alone to the profession low-paid Adjuncts or technicians, if not and the industry, is not strong, so they are machines. Such a nightmare scenario unlikely to join a union or participate in should be avoided for the sake of the collective bargaining. Nevertheless, the students and of the profession. Academvast majority of Adjuncts are committed ics should work with the technicians to to the academic profession and seek fulladapt the best features of online courses time, tenured positions in the industry. to augment their on campus courses in a newly-evolved form of the blended An interesting development in the learning experience of which they remain casualisation of US higher education is managers. the rapid growth of online courses. Many of the posts on adjunct.chronicle.com Pat Wright is Director of the Centre for are from Adjuncts who teach courses on Labour Research at the University of campus/es and online, and the number Adelaide. email@example.com online is exploding. Most Adjuncts say
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Lowering the Boom Ian Lowe
On your marks, get set... go low-brow The starting gun has been fired for one of the longest election campaigns in Australian history. It would be nice to think that this will allow time for discussion of serious issues affecting our future. So far, the experience has not been uplifting. If we think back to the 2010 election, it was dominated by petty point-scoring, personality politics, pointless pork-barrelling and pretentious posturing. It was difficult to see any sign of political candidates recognising the critical issues. There was certainly no attempt to engage the voters in considering serious policies.
The high Australian dollar is making this country a less attractive option for overseas students. The resulting pressure to retain those students who do come here seems to be encouraging lower standards – but that is another story. A secure economic base requires innovation, for which the key is proper funding of education and research. The Chief Scientist, Professor Ian Chubb, recently released a paper proposing five policies to make the Australian economy more innovative, including the establishment of an Innovation Council and steps to strengthen the relationships between research and industry. Discussion of these proposals should be a major issue in the election campaign. I have seen no evidence that any of our senior politicians have even read the report, let alone thought about it.
A recent survey of the research community found a high level of dissatisfaction with both financial support and the structural arrangements facing early-career researchers. At the same time, the need to My nightmare is that the 2013 campaign repay HECS debts is a strong incentive for will be a sort of slow-motion replay of the our most capable young researchers to go unedifying spectacle we witnessed three overseas and stay there. If we wish to have years ago: the same performa secure ers, the same motivations, economic the same superficial slogans, My nightmare is that the future, we the same pointless platitudes should be 2013 campaign will be a sort masquerading as considered encourof slow-motion replay of arguments. aging the the unedifying spectacle brightest Looking to our future we witnessed three years and most ago: the same performers, innovative The future of Australia dethe same motivations, the of our mands that we have a secure young economic base, a social framesame superficial slogans, the people work that allows us to live same pointless platitudes to build peacefully together and a commasquerading as considered careers mitment to living within the arguments. here. limits of our natural resources. Those are the big issues we The social should expect to dominate the framework in our urban areas is being election campaign. strained by high levels of migration. The rapid growth has made it financially imIn terms of the economic future, there possible to provide new infrastructure to is no sign the major political parties are keep pace with growing demand. Instead thinking about sustainable development. of a serious discussion of the levels that We continue to encourage overseas can be managed, we hear simplistic calls interests to export our minerals at bargain for rapid population growth to stimulate prices by subsidies and other forms of the economy, or attacks on the migrants support. There is now evidence that the themselves bordering on the sort of resulting inflation of the Australian dollar old-fashioned racism that underpinned is pulling the rug out from under our manthe ‘White Australia’ policy. ufacturing sector. The mindless promotion of mining to create a small number of jobs Band-aid solutions to the problem, such is destroying many more work opportunias ill-fated public-private partnerships to ties in other sectors – including education. build roads, bridges and tunnels, cannot
meet the needs of the rapidly-growing urban populations. We should be discussing the price the community is paying for the get-rich-quick land development schemes on the fringes of our cities.
Looking after our environment While Australia has always been a country of climate extremes, we are suffering more than most the growing impacts of climate change. Existing policies to curb our production of greenhouse gases are clearly inadequate, but there is little political will to take the issue seriously. Conservative State Governments are rolling back gains made decades ago, such as the protection of endangered ecosystems and the phasing out of logging native forests in favour of sustainable plantations. The implicit assumption is that any level of environmental degradation is acceptable if it produces wealth that could, at least in principle, be used to repair some of the damage. Of course, the lesson of history is that the wealth is very rarely put to that purpose. Even if it were, some of the changes being made are actually or effectively irreversible. No amount of money will bring back an extinct species, or repair the effects of some types of land degradation on any realistic human timescale. We should be expecting our governments – State as well as Commonwealth – to be developing their economic and social policies within the limits of our natural systems. There is little evidence they even recognise those limits and there is no sign of a willingness to work within them. We are entitled to expect more of our political candidates. In this election year, we can all be lifting the bar by putting pressure on the political parties to discuss the major issues. Most of them would naturally prefer to rely on simple slogans and facile photo opportunities. It is our responsibility to demand higher standards. Ian Lowe is Emeritus Professor of Science, Technology and Society at Griffith University and a Life Member of the NTEU.
NTEU ADVOCATE • vol. 20 no. 1 • March 2013 • www.nteu.org.au/advocate • page 39
The Research Whisperer Tseen Khoo
You and your research CV The instant impression a CV makes goes beyond one job-search or grant round. Though you may not score that job or funding for your project, the vibe you create will stay with key readers. It’s relatively common for those who are well-remembered from one round to be invited to apply in future ones. This street runs both ways, and you’ll also be remembered if you overclaim achievements or puff up your track-record. For your research track-record, what are the important things to remember when presenting listings of your publications and funding history? When I’m assessing someone’s research CV, publication trends that set off warning bells with regard to the quality or development of a person’s work include: • Overwhelming representation from conference papers. WHY? Because it can indicate a lack of follow-through when you present a paper and don’t develop it into an article. It gives rise to questions such as: Was what you said not worthy of being worked up into an article? Was it shot down as nonsense? Are you the kind of academic who perpetually describes what their project is, but haven’t done the work, so can’t present actual findings? There are disciplines where conference papers are where it’s all happening (e.g. information systems), but - if your conference papers are outnumbering your refereed articles significantly - make sure that your discipline is actually one of these! • The majority of publications are narrow in terms of outlet. WHY? It’s not a good look to publish only in a couple of journals, even if those journals are good ones. Very new or niche fields may be the exception here, but remember that developing a stronger profile often means framing your work in ways that
engage with a broader range of cognate peers. If you’re only ever published in one or two journals, questions may emerge about why you aren’t publishing more widely. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t publish regularly in your area’s peak journals, just not ONLY in those journals. • Items on the publication list tend to be short. WHY? For many scholars, it’s accepted practice to note the length of your publications (i.e. how many pages they are). This holds for books, book chapters, and refereed journal articles. While the length of a piece is dependent on many things (including disciplinary protocols and particular publications), if your work tends to be on the short side, reviewers and panellists may question your ability to contribute sustained intellectual work. For example, an article that’s fewer than 3000 words is unlikely to be an item of substance. • Dodgy refereed publications. WHY? Actually, the first part of this may need to be ‘What?’ – what I mean by dodgy refereed publications encompasses a range of things, including papers that are not full articles that happen to be in refereed publications (e.g. as discussion papers or contributions to a topical forum), or fully fledged articles in non-refereed publications. Sometimes, mistakes in listing these can stem from genuine ignorance of what constitutes a ‘refereed (or peer-reviewed) publication’. Other times, however, they don’t; getting this kind of thing wrong sends all the wrong signals. When you’re listing the funding that you hold (or have held), make sure you get the details right. As with my earlier point about listing publications as refereed when they’re not, misrepresenting one’s role in a project or the type of funding that was scored could be done with ignorance or intent. Either way, it doesn’t look good. These are some of the recurring instances in my history of grant reviewing and job interview panelling that make me go ‘Hmmm...’: • People who list unsuccessful grants. The only exception to this is possibly an internal promotion document where you’re showing that you’re consistently research active. Even so, if you’re only ever listing unsuccessfuls, maybe it’s better not to.
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• Those who appear not to understand that there’s a protocol to listing a successful grant. The prestige of a grant often rests with the lead investigator; that is, they led the success of the funding and ensuing project. If you are the 3rd named chief investigator, do not swap your name to the front because it happens to be your CV - this makes it look as if you’re claiming leadership of the project. In the same way, unless you are the lead investigator, it’s not kosher to list the grant as yours, and your collaborators as afterthoughts. If Chris Bloggs is not the lead investigator, Chris should not list it as: C. Bloggs. ‘Snowflake Syndrome: Academics and the Psychology of Uniqueness.’ ARC Discovery DP100183719 (2010-2012). With R. Ascal, S. Camp, and M. Unchkin. • Listing grants under preparation. This is like including drafts of articles in your publications list. Unless it’s already submitted (therefore, ‘pending’), leave it out. • Overclaiming involvement in a project. If you are a research assistant or employed as a postdoc on a funded project, the grant can’t be claimed as ‘yours’. Being put on as a postdoc for a successful grant is different from being part of a competitive postdoctoral round where you are awarded a fellowship. I should add that when I’ve come across these instances, they are not always on ECR CVs. It’s worthwhile getting up to speed on how track-records might be stretched for effect. A very good way to learn how to present your research career thus far is to browse more senior colleagues’ CVs. Sure, they might have a whack of achievements that don’t apply to you (yet), but they are probably also formatted in standard sector ways that give you insight into the required tone and level of detail. Dr Tseen Khoo is currently a research developer at RMIT University. With Jonathan O’Donnell, Tseen created and runs The Research Whisperer blog: theresearchwhisperer.wordpress.com This article is reprinted from NTEU & CAPA’s magazine for casual academics, Connect, vol. 6, no. 1 (February 2013). www.unicasual.org.au
Letter from Aotearoa/NZ Lesley Francey
Polytechnics suffer under NZ Government Like most people in the polytechnic sector, I am proud of the contribution we staff make to New Zealand, to giving our students the opportunity to change their lives and the lives of the people in their families and communities. I am proud of the way we support NZ businesses and industries, and the way we put people into jobs or, even better, careers. And I am proud to be one small part of a public network of learning opportunities that stretches all across New Zealand. However, as you may know, not all is well in polytechnics at present. That malaise is nowhere more evident than in employment relations within many of our polytechnics. Employment relations in the polytechnic sector have not been easy for a long time, but in recent years the situation has become toxic. Sadly, the cause of this problem is directly traceable to the Government. The Government has made three choices in recent years that have together changed the nature of polytechnics, and therefore changed the way our employers choose to work with us. The first decision the Government made was to systematically cut funding to polytechnics. Government funding to polytechnics fell by over NZ$50 million between 2010 and 2011. Since then there have been further cuts that we estimate stripped about NZ$36 million out of polytechnics. In the last two years alone eighteen polytechnics have lost about NZ$90 million dollars of funding - roughly NZ$5 million each.
The impacts of these cuts have been never-ending reviews and restructuring course closures, loss of opportunities for students, higher staff: student ratios, more workload and more pressure. Not only has the Government ignored the role polytechnics play helping communities through the financial crisis and the threat of unemployment. It has actively undermined our ability to help in the challenges NZ is facing. The second decision the Government made was to actively oppose working people getting fair pay and working conditions. In 2011, the Government made significant changes to the law, which took away working people’s rights. It introduced a 90-day trial period for new workers, it limited union access to work-sites, it allowed employers to cut across bargaining and talk directly with employees during bargaining rather than going through union representatives, and it made it easier for bosses to dismiss workers and reject claims for sick leave. The Government now has a further suite of changes to employment law that it intends to introduce this year. These changes will reduce union members’ ability to negotiate Collective Agreements by making it easier for employers to walk away from negotiations and harder for workers to take industrial action. The Government also wants to remove protections for new employees (employers will now be able to offer worse terms and conditions than the Collective Agreement). Furthermore, the State Services Commission prevents pay-rises based on market relativity and/or cost of living adjustment, and does not allow pay settlements that lead to wider labour market movements and trends. Often the only way to get a pay-rise is to prove an increase in productivity, and that usually means a cut in other working conditions - e.g. longer hours or the loss of leave. The latest data shows public sector workers involved in education and training averaged pay rises of only one-tenth of a per cent during the last three months of 2012. The Government, through the State Services Commission, is strangling pay-rises in public education. Education professionals receive the lowest average pay rise of any occupation group last year – just 0.8 per cent. The Govern-
ment needs to own up to its cost-cutting actions, which are making it harder, day-by-day, for education professionals to look after their families and pay their mortgages. TEU has struggled for several years now to conclude Collective Agreements, especially within the polytechnic sector because the State Services Commission actively opposes working people getting a fair pay rise to reflect the good work they are doing and the money they need to support their families. As a result, workers’ wages and salaries are 2.5 per cent behind where they were in March 2009. The third decision this Government made was less obvious and less discussed at the time but equally as insidious. In 2009 parliament passed a law that gutted staff, student and community representation on polytechnic Councils, instead giving the Minister the right to appoint half the Council and for those ministerial appointees to appoint the remainder of the Council. And just to be safe, it gave the Minister’s own appointees an absolute voting majority and the casting vote on any decision to the ministerially-appointed Council Chairperson. This annexation of local involvement and democracy within community polytechnics not only silenced Councils from speaking out or standing up for their staff and students in the face of government attacks, it also created a climate of fear for others working in the sector. Polytechnic Chief Executives had until late last year been noticeably quiet about the huge funding cuts and inordinate expectations to perform being placed on them by the Government. These three factors – slashed Government funding, new rules that suppress wages and conditions, and the loss of local democracy and ability to have a real say in our own governance and destiny – have taken communities that should be great places to work (and often still are) and created a hostile environment where workers are treated as costs to be cut rather than assets to be treasured. Lesley Francey is National President/Te Tumu Whakarae, New Zealand Tertiary Education Union/Te Hautū Kahurangi o Aotearoa www.teu.ac.nz
NTEU ADVOCATE • vol. 20 no. 1 • March 2013 • www.nteu.org.au/advocate • page 41
My Union Celebrating two decades of the NTEU NTEU will turn twenty on 1 October 2013. In retrospect, it was a remarkably foresighted decision to move to create a single Union that is able to represent all staff working in tertiary education. In an increasingly difficult environment, the NTEU has proved its worth in providing consistent and effective representation for most people in the sector.
The foresight of those who voted in favour of the amalgamation have created a Union that has achieved very high bargaining outcomes for our members, and we have become a significant policy voice within the sector and with government. We have survived and thrived despite attempts by government, some employers, and a small number of other unions to destroy our work. We are independent, open, transparent, and inclusive.
• The Union of Australian College Academics [UACA]
By bringing academic and general staff together, we became stronger than the sum of our parts. General staff were more familiar with the processes of trade unions. They were used to having to fight to protect their interests. When the NTEU has been required to call on members to take industrial action, it has been the general staff who have been quickest and most effective at organising collective action.
By far the largest unions involved were FAUSA, UACA, and ACUSA. FAUSA and UACA were academic unions representing the traditional university academic staff, and those from the former Colleges of Advanced Education respectively. ACUSA was a large general staff union that held majority coverage in Victoria.
On the other hand, at the formation of the Union, academic staff brought an authority and gravitas to the Union’s interactions with university managements that was the envy of general staff. Academic members could more effectively take arguments up to management as equals in a way that general staff had to work harder for. With important exceptions, the senior ranks of the university came from the academy. It is this combination of street smarts, and intellectual weight that has made the NTEU a formidable force in the sector. The bringing together of these two influences has also had important cultural impacts in the workplace. While there are still significant exceptions, the level of respect between academic and general staff in the workplace has improved and made the working lives of everyone involved richer. The Union was formed on 1 October 1993 from an amalgamation of 2 academic and 3 general staff unions: • The Federated Australian University Staff Association (FAUSA)
• The Australian Colleges and Universities Staff Association [ACUSA] • The University of Adelaide General Staff Association [UAGSA] and • The Australian National University Administrative and Allied Officers’ Association [ANUAAOA].
However, UAGSA and ANUAAOA played an important role because their involvement made the amalgamation a genuinely national project, rather than a national academic union with Victorian general staff. Later in the Union’s history, we sought and achieved the right to represent general staff across the country. Since then, our role as the most effective and consistent union representing all staff has grown to become nearly universally accepted. As far as union amalgamations are concerned, ours has been very successful. We achieved a unified voice that respects all its constituents. We have very little factional infighting with decisions made on the merit of the arguments in most cases. We remain independent of political parties, and the full focus of our attention is on the sector, and the interests of our members. It has been the NTEU that has ensured that there are consistent minimum standards in the terms and conditions of employment for staff across all universities in Australia. We have achieved high salary outcomes across the sector, and maintained the 17% employer contributions to superannuation, we developed groundbreaking regulations on the use of fixed term employment and are now seeking to limit the excessive use of casual staff. We have led the charge in increasing Indigenous employment in the sector, have fought off the Howard Government’s attempts to destroy our voice, and we have led the employers into finally speaking as one to standing up for our sector. We have much to be proud of, and much more to do. Matthew McGowan, National Assitant Secretary
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My Union Advocating to members for 73 issues over 20 years Advocate turns 20 this year, and we’re celebrating the milestone with a new layout design in this, our 73rd issue. The first publication of the newly formed NTEU was the inspiringly title The News (below) a tabloid style newspaper that published only one edition in December 1993/January 1994. Volume 1, no.1 of Advocate appeared in March 1994 as an 18 page black and white magazine. By issue no. 2 it was sporting a colour cover, but it was not until as late as 2004 that the entire magazine was produced in glorious full colour. The name Advocate has always caused controversy, as indicated by the 1994 letter to editor republished below.
Advocate union ry education natio nal tertia Journ al of the
ISSN 1321–8 476
it y compan ies es and univers researc h institut r 1, April 2008 educati on, racgp, on, tafe, adult higher educati employe es in
Volume 15, Numbe
LIFE UNDER LABO
WorkChoices and HEWRRs are dead! Education: Revolution or Review? campaign Your Rights At Work Page line – Bennelong and Stories from the front Waterfront sculpture Gender Pay Equity
start Academic Casuals
NTEU sets targets for next round of bargaining
editor organising New AUR
Letter to the Editor, Advocate vol. 1, no. 2, April 1994
NTEU ADVOCATE • vol. 20 no. 1 • March 2013 • www.nteu.org.au/advocate • page 43
My Union Member Advantage – adding great value to your Union membership NTEU will launch a new member benefits program in March 2013 that will offer members an extensive range of membership benefits and discounts.
The program has been developed jointly with Member Advantage, a leading provider of member benefits and services that works with a number of trade unions to deliver membership services. The program will include a dedicated web site for NTEU members accessed through a personalised login. It will offer a more comprehensive range of membership benefits than we currently have. In conjunction with the new program, NTEU will issue new credit card-style membership cards to all members in March 2013, and every two years thereafter. The cards will be linked to the Ambassador Card program offering further benefits and services. NTEU will also maintain its affiliation with Union Shopper (in all States except WA) and ShopRite (in WA) for now, to be reviewed at the end of 2013. The program offers great discounts and savings, including:
Unveiling of Jenny Austin memorial seat A seat dedicated to workers in memory of Southern Cross University (SCU) NTEU Branch President, award-winning journalist and former Advocate columnist, Jenny Austin, was unveiled at a small ceremony on the Lismore campus on 5 December 2012. Jenny was a member of the Branch from 2002 when she started work at SCU as publications manager. From 2008 to 2010, she was Branch President and proved to be an inspiring and indefatigable leader, said Branch Organiser Lisa Roberts. ‘Jenny oversaw the negotiations of the current Enterprise Agreement, provided education for workers around workplace bullying and was a councillor on the NTEU’s National Council,’ she said. ‘Jenny came from a working class background and never lost faith in the power of the collective. She also showed unflinching commitment to social justice and advocating for others, including Indigenous communities. She was often heard to invoke the spirits of departed warriors as she fought for equity, even as she herself was
battling a debilitating illness. Despite this, her courage and humour never failed her.’ Jenny penned the ‘Regional Focus’ column in Advocate from March 2004 to July 2010, fearlessly and eloquently speaking up for regional universities on the national scene. Jenny died on 6 August 2011 and is deeply missed and much admired by those whose lives were touched by her. The memorial seat is located under the quandong tree near B Block. Carmel Shute, NTEU Media Officer
Above: Jenny Austin’s family on the memorial seat. Right: Jenny Austin.
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• Dining at a range of restaurants in Australia and New Zealand. • A 5% discount on pre-purchased gift cards at supermarkets and other retail outlets. • Discounts on various entertainment providers around Australia, including the Gold Coast theme parks. • Discounts on pre-purchased movie tickets for the major cinema chains. • 15% discount on the publicly listed price at over 65,000 hotels worldwide. • 5% discount on already discounted prices through online shopping partner DealsDirect.com.au • Discounted magazine subscriptions, package tours, and much more. For further information about Member Advantage, call 1300 853 352 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. www.nteu.org.au/benefits
My Union Member Benefits
Take advantage of savings on a wide range of quality benefits NTEU members can now access exclusive savings on accommodation, leisure experiences, dining,
Value Added Benefits þ Save on travel related expenses
movie tickets, package tours, gift cards and more.
þ Save on dining and entertainment
These services are free to use at any time and can be accessed by phone or via the NTEU Member
þ Save on financial and insurance services
Advantage website. For further information, visit:
þ Save on shopping, leisure experiences and gifts
Gifts and rewards
Groceries and petrol
Airline lounge memberships
Car buying service
For more information: 1300 853 352 | www.nteu.org.au/benefits NTEU ADVOCATE • vol. 20 no. 1 • March 2013 • www.nteu.org.au/advocate • page 45
My Union New staff in NTEU offices
for higher education, holding various officer bearer positions at undergrad and postgrad level at USyd and UTS, and being an all-round professional protester and trouble-making student activist.
Advocate is pleased to introduce new faces in NTEU Branches.
While not working for the NTEU, Richard is active in the cross-border collective, organising around asylum seeker and border struggles.
Richard Bailey Branch Organiser UNSW Richard Bailey is the new Organiser in the UNSW Branch. Richard has a long history with the NTEU, having been a member for the past ten years as a general staffer and casual research assistant at Sydney Uni. He has also been a long-term activist
Trevor Smith Branch Organiser UNE Trevor Smith brings a fresh perspective and diverse experience into the Branch Organiser role at the University of New England (UNE).
Since 1958, the Australian Universities’ Review has been encouraging debate and discussion about issues in higher education and its contribution to Australian public life.
He is said to be equally disappointed between being overlooked for the recent tour to India and cloudy nights.
AUR is published twice a year by the NTEU.
ISSN 0818– 8068
NTEU members are entitled to receive a free subscription on an opt-in basis – so you need to let us know.
Australia n Unive rsities’R eview
AUR is listed on the DEEWR register of refereed journals.
Away from the workplace you will find Trevor either on a sports field or peeking through his telescope. Currently he is averaging 58.24 as opening batsman for his local cricket club and has taken 7 wickets.
Want to receive your own copy of AUR?
vol. 54, no. 2, 201 2
Published by NTEU
He is a former student of UNE, having studied Arts/Law at the turn of the millennium. This familiarity with the campus places him in good stead for dealing with the local issues and personalities of the area. After deferring his studies and engaging in managerial employment, he also took up a role as delegate for the Shop, Distributive & Allied Employees’ Association in Armidale and oversaw several Enterprise Bargaining campaigns.
If you are an NTEU member and would like to receive AUR, please email email@example.com
Your NTEU membership details When and how to update them Have your workplace details changed? Î Please update your workplace office or building details, phone numbers, campus location etc. Has your Department/School changed name or merged? Î Please help us keep up with institutions’ penchant for renaming Deptarments and Schools. Have you moved house recently? Î If you have nominated your home address as your NTEU contact address, you must update it. Has your family name changed? Have you moved to a different institution? Î Transfer of membership from one institution to another is not automatic. Have your employment details changed? Î Please notify us to ensure you are paying the correct fees. Have your credit card (i.e. expiry date) details changed? Have your direct debit account details changed? Are you leaving university employment?
Update online: Go to www.nteu.org.au Click on ‘Member Login’ ID = Your NTEU membership number Password = Your surname in CAPITALS Go to ‘My Home’ Select ‘Your Profile’ and then select ‘View Details’
Please contact: Melinda Valsorda, Membership Officer ph (03) 9254 1910 email firstname.lastname@example.org
Please contact: Tamara Labadze, Finance Officer ph (03) 9254 1910 email email@example.com
Î If you are no longer an NTEU member, deductions will continue until the National Office is notified. Have your payroll deductions stopped without your authority?
page 46 • NTEU ADVOCATE • vol. 20 no. 1 • March 2013 • www.nteu.org.au/advocate
Contact your institution’s Payroll Dept urgently
NTEU National Teaching Conference, 4-5 April In early April, NTEU delegates will gather at RMIT University in Melbourne to consider the serious issues confronting university teaching today. The rampant casualisation of teaching is clearly a dominant workforce and quality issue, and is a stark illustration of an unprecedented challenge to learning and teaching at Australian universities and to the academic profession. Alongside the breakdown of the academic role, excessive workloads, overcrowded classrooms, (over)reliance on communication technologies, and obsessions with rankings and metrics, we face continuous attacks upon university independence to fearlessly pursue education and research. We have rapidly transitioned from an elite to a mass participation system, at the same time as the dominance of neo-liberal ideology has sanctioned the withdrawal of government from substantial responsibility for funding public universities. The conference is built around the key themes of: • Learning and teaching in a mass higher education system. • The digital revolution and tertiary learning and teaching. • Autonomy and authority in higher education courses and curriculum. Co-sponsored with RMIT University, the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Margaret
NTEU NATIONAL NTEU TEACHING NATIONAL TEACHING CONFERENCE CONFERENCE
ril 5 Ap
u y lbo e rida F s M ember ay 4 M U d E s T r or N Thu s free f i n o i t ra Regist Register at www.nteu.org.au/ntc2013
Gardner, who is also the Chair of the Office of Learning and Teaching (OLT) Strategic Advisory Committee will address the conference, along with many speakers drawing upon their experience and expertise in university teaching. University of Adelaide Vice Chancellor, Professor Warren Bebbington opens the first session on learning and teaching in the digital age. Professor Raewyn Connell will speak on ‘Teaching in the neo-liberal university: league tables, powerpoint and precarious jobs’. Professor Belinda Probert has investigated the expansion of ‘teaching focussed’ appointments and considers the implications. Professor of eHistory at the University of Queensland, Paul Turnbull will explore the boundaries of blended learning, while UWA’s Professor Stuart Bunt wants to bust some of the MOOCs myths. Educationalist, Stephen Darwin and Associate Professor Andrew Bonnell will join with Macquarie University’s Cathy Rytmeister and Griffith University’s Dean of Teaching and Learning, Professor Glenn Finger on a panel interrogating the tensions between quality pedagogies and insistent measurement. And a team from Victoria University will speak on redesigning curriculum to meet contemporary student needs for quality outcomes. NTEU Vice-President (General Staff ), Dr Lynda Davies will speak on the blurred boundaries of the new professional roles in a session on the work of university
teaching chaired by NTEU Vice-President (Academic Staff ), Dr Kelvin Michael. Indigenous Policy Committee Chair, Terry Mason will position Australian Indigenous perspectives and experiences in the discourse on learning and teaching in Australian universities, while winner of the 2012 Prime Minister’s University Teacher of the Year prize, Dr James Arvanitakos considers teaching students to be good global citizens. Dr Yuko Kinoshita will examine what the Asian Century really means for Australian higher education. A panel of student leaders will tell us what students want (and need). The conference aims to consider the national policy directions and political discourse on tertiary learning and teaching, including the distinguishing characteristics of higher education pedagogies; to interrogate university autonomy and intellectual freedom; to analyse the current research and commentary on the future of the ‘university’ and the academic role; and to canvass the views and experiences of members engaged in learning and teaching. Each NTEU Branch is sending at least one delegate and the conference is open to all members. Jeannie Rea, National President To register or view the full program, please go to www.nteu.org.au/ntc2013
NTEU ADVOCATE • vol. 20 no. 1 • March 2013 • www.nteu.org.au/advocate • page 47
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.
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IF YOU ARE CASUAL/SESSIONAL, COMPLETE PAYMENT OPTION 4 ONLY
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Choose your salary range. Select 6 month or 1 year membership. Tick the appropriate box. Pay by cheque, money order or credit card.
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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.
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|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); 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
MAIL TO: NTEU National Office PO Box 1323, South Melbourne VIC 3205 T (03) 9254 1910 F (03) 9254 1915 E firstname.lastname@example.org
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Win a $2000 Shopper Travel voucher* Register or reconfirm your contact details to receive Union Shopper’s regular emailed offers, and you’ll go into the draw to win a fantastic $2000 Shopper Travel voucher.
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