Advocate vol. 20 no. 3 • November 2013 • www.nteu.org.au • ISSN 1329-7295
Celebrating 20 years
1993-2013: Two decades of one industry, one union ɓɓDealing with an Abbott Govt. ɓɓPyne pays homage to Vanstone ɓɓCash cow approach to funding ɓɓPost-election wrap up ɓɓIndigenous employment targets
ɓɓIndustrial actions in Vic & NSW ɓɓCAE staff fight cuts ɓɓJob security our priority ɓɓMOOCs: Don’t believe the hype ɓɓSSAF and student services
ɓɓNo more blue skies for Canada ɓɓWhole-of-University approach ɓɓNational Council 2013 report ɓɓCelebrating Foundation Members ɓɓ...and much more.
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Contents Cover image: Ken McAlpine and Kerry Lewis on an NTEU picket line in Victoria in 1993.
NTEU takes up the fight Editorial, Jeannie Rea
EI Asia-Pacific push for increased higher education investment 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 Helena Spyrou Feedback, advertising and other enquiries: firstname.lastname@example.org All text and images © NTEU 2013 unless otherwise stated.
NTEU National Office, PO Box 1323, Sth Melbourne VIC 3205 1st floor, 120 Clarendon St, Sth Melbourne VIC phone (03) 9254 1910 fax (03) 9254 1915 email email@example.com Division Offices www.nteu.org.au/divisions Branch Offices www.nteu.org.au/branches
Marian Baird NTEU Lecture 2013
Silencing dissent in Queensland
Howard Florey & Baker IDI
Fair process in Curtin restructure
Vote Smart victories and losses
Strikes achieve good Agreements
9 Actions spur on Agreements in Vic 10 The lack of job security at UTAS
Public sector roadshow
11 CAE staff fight cuts 12 Go Home on Time Day
My Student Debt website
13 Bluestocking Week: Holding the Line
Breakthrough on domestic violence
Gender pay gap still $1 million
14 CQU and CQIT merger complete
Merger creates Federation University
UNICASUAL NEWS 15 Job security is our priority INDIGENOUS NEWS 16 Indigenous employment targets 17 Morning Star scholarship tripled
Kerrie Doyle graduates Oxford
COLUMNS 38 eTeaching in higher education News from the Net, by Pat Wright Environment ISO 14001
In accordance with NTEU policy to reduce our impact on the natural environment, Advocate is printed using vegetable based inks with alcohol free printing initiatives on FSC certified paper under ISO 14001 Environmental Certification. Advocate is available online as a PDF at nteu.org.au/advocate and an e-book at www.issuu.com/nteu NTEU members may opt for ‘soft delivery’ (email notification of online copy rather than mailed printed version). Details at nteu.org.au/ softfdelivery
39 TamU celebrates the brave new world Lowering the Boom, by Ian Lowe 40 Lack of respect for higher education Thesis Whisperer, Inger Mewburn 41 Don’t follow NZ’s employment law Letter from NZ, Lesley Francey, TEU
26 Cash cow approach to funding Pyne is of the view that we need more international students and we need them now.
18 Campaigning for the smart vote The Union’s Vote Smart campaign was designed to highlight the issues affecting universities through advocacy for the Greens in the Senate, plus Independent Andrew Wilkie and Greens candidate Adam Bandt.
20 NTEU & public policy NTEU is determined to make ‘research, science, innovation and higher education’ matter to politicians in the next Parliament.
22 Pyne pays homage to Vanstone Christopher Pyne seems intent on paying homage to his political mentor, Amanda Vanstone.
23 And the winner is... University ranking season is heralded by a flourish of media releases and stories about who faired well and who didn’t.
24 SSAF funds services The Student Services and Amenities fee has signalled a move beyond the traditional ‘VSU versus USU’ debate and introduced new complexities in the arguments for funding to student services.
25 Greek PM met by masks of fired university staff In a novel peaceful protest, Greek university staff and students greeted PM with white masks as symbols of those keeping education, health and culture alive in their country.
Forrests donate $60m to UWA
28 No more blue skies? Dark clouds threaten Canada’s scientists and academic researchers.
UCU report slams misuse of REF
30 Universities are important! Whatever else happens under a Coalition Government, it seems unlikely that universities will be provided with enough funding.
31 SA hosts General Staff Conference General staff delegates are gathering at the University of Adelaide in November for the NTEU’s 2013 General Staff Conference.
32 MOOCs: Tailored or Taylorised education? Touted as the next ‘online revolution’, MOOCs are purportedly a democratising innovation that will extend the opportunity for higher education to ‘a global community of learners’. Or will they?
34 Whole-of-University Approach In response to university mainstreaming of Indigenous student support, NTEU has produced the Whole-of-University Approach to Indigenous Student Support report.
36 Recent human rights actions p. 47
YOUR UNION 42 Celebrating our 20th Anniversary 44 Foundation member, Graham Farquhar 45 Celebrating our Foundation members 46 Leading the charge for our union
CQU celebrates NTEU’s 20 years
47 National Council 2013 50 National Council workshops 51 Life Members 54 Vale David Muffet
Cross cultural training
55 New NTEU staff NTEU ADVOCATE • vol. 20 no. 3 • November 2013 • www.nteu.org.au/advocate • page 1
Editorial Jeannie Rea, National President
NTEU takes up the fight Since National Council 2012 the NTEU has prosecuted a difficult enterprise bargaining round, taken an unprecedented level of involvement in a federal election campaign, and reached record levels of membership. This was the opening sentence of my President’s Report to the recent 2013 National Council. In speaking to the report I focussed upon challenges over the next year, several of which are summarised below to introduce this edition of Advocate. This official journal of the NTEU is in its twentieth year of publication. The 20th anniversary of the NTEU was celebrated at National Council and participating were many of the leaders of the unions that came together to form our industry union for higher education staff (see p.42). As we reflect upon working in higher education, and with twenty years of hindsight, I would argue that job security is now our core challenge as a union and as a sector. The ACTU’s independent inquiry into insecure work found that around 40% of the Australian workforce is employed precariously. However, amongst Australian university staff the proportion is even higher with almost one-third of employees (when measured on an FTE basis) on contracts and over 16% casually employed. In terms of actual people there are reportedly around 86,000 ‘regular casuals’. The message is out that half the teaching in universities is done by academics employed by the hour. However, while everyone agrees that the casualisation of university teaching is a real problem, the politicians and vice-chancellors have shown no preparedness to act. It is left to us to make inroads into reducing casualisation through this bargaining round with
our claim for new entry level academic jobs – the Scholarly Teaching Fellows. We are, though, negotiating in a difficult climate with the continual decline in government funding to public universities. The NTEU will hold a major conference in 2014 on the professional and industrial issues around the increasing reliance on insecure forms of employment in higher education across all areas (see p.31). The NTEU, like other unions in this country, must face up to the reality that the greatest threat to the salaries and conditions of our core membership in ongoing jobs is the increasing division between them and their colleagues working precariously. And the greatest challenge is to embrace and make core business improving the situation for colleagues in insecure work. Our strength as a union is in our density and then the capacity for members to take industrial action. We cannot ignore the old adage ‘a chain is only as strong as its weakest link’. The same adage goes for our ongoing commitment to our Indigenous colleagues – and the many more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people that we would all like to work with and walk alongside. We are setting an example for other unions in this country and overseas when we have Indigenous job targets as a mandatory claim. We must win this. We are also succeeding in gaining support for staff dealing with domestic violence. Our strategy of making a mandatory claim, but then asking Branches to make their call on how to make the most progress, is working. We have some significant breakthroughs, especially on extra leave (see p.13). And we will keep working on all these issues, even with a Coalition Government. We have faced up to Coalition Governments in the past. We have acted
NATIONAL OFFICE STAFF
National President Vice-Presidents General Secretary National Asst Secretary
Industrial Unit Coordinator Linda Gale National Industrial Officers Wayne Cupido, Susan Kenna, Elizabeth McGrath
National Executive: Andrew Bonnell Gabe Gooding John Kenny Virginia Mansel Lees Jan Sinclair-Jones Michael Thomson
Jeannie Rea Kelvin Michael (Academic) Lynda Davies (General) Grahame McCulloch Matthew McGowan
Linda Cecere Stephen Darwin Ryan Hsu Genevieve Kelly Margaret Lee Colin Long Kevin Rouse John Sinclair Melissa Slee Lolita Wikander
Indigenous Member (IPC Chair) Terry Mason
Policy & Research Coordinator Policy & Research Officers Indigenous Coordinator Indigenous Organiser National Organiser National Publications Coordinator Education & Training Officers National Membership Officer
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Paul Kniest Jen Tsen Kwok, Terri MacDonald Adam Frogley Celeste Liddle Michael Evans Paul Clifton Ken McAlpine, Helena Spyrou Melinda Valsorda
strategically, always seeking to intervene where we can, including prosecuting new initiatives, while also fighting to hold our ground. The NTEU did face off the HEWRRs, which was probably the greatest challenge for the Union in our 20 years. In the week following the election, we issued our first media release under the new government with the predictable headline, ‘The Coalition’s hidden agenda of university cuts and policy upheaval confirmed.’ We could have had it pre-prepared! The new Minister for Education announced that he intended to restore the enrolment caps and also abolish the SSAF. By the end of the day, Minister Pyne had been pulled back into line by the Prime Minister, wary of a revolt by the Nationals, vocal supporters of strengthening services and student numbers at regional campuses. Minister Pyne’s motivation was reducing student numbers and diversity to produce budget savings. For the NTEU, the base funding gap still remains a core issue, as it was with Labor. However, the Coalition may well fill the gap by increasing HECS, reintroducing domestic undergraduate upfront fees and upping international student fee revenue, as they have already signalled. Despite claiming respect for the mission of universities when speaking to the sector earlier this year, our former Rhodes Scholar Prime Minister Tony Abbott and his band of ideological warriors do not have a track record of respecting intellectual freedom or the work of university staff. With this Government we can expect more not less criticism, surveillance and compliance reporting – but over less money. The NTEU, though, is well positioned to keep up the fight. Jeannie Rea, National President firstname.lastname@example.org
Executive Manager Peter Summers ICT Network Engineer Tam Vuong Database Programmer/Data Analyst Ray Hoo Payroll Officer Jo Riley Executive Officer (General Secretary) Anastasia Kotaidis Executive Officer (Administration) Tracey Coster Admin Officer (Membership & Campaigns) Julie Ann Veal Administrative Officer (Resources) Renee Veal Receptionist & Administrative Support Leanne Foote Finance Manager Glenn Osmand Senior Finance Officer Gracia Ho Finance Officers Alex Ghvaladze, Tamara Labadze, Lee Powell, Daphne Zhang National Growth Organisers Gaurav Nanda, Rifai Abdul, Priya Nathan
From the General Secretary Grahame McCulloch, General Secretary
EI Asia-Pacific push for increased higher education investment In late September, Education International (EI) convened its 7th Asia-Pacific Regional Conference in Kuala Lumpur with the theme Quality Public Education – Building AsiaPacific’s Social and Economic Future. With more than 180 delegates from 62 countries the regional meeting brought together organisations representing nearly five million unionised education workers. University academic and general staff were well represented. The regional Higher Education Caucus brought together forty delegates from thirteen countries. My Caucus Chair summary statement to the Regional Conference is set out in this article. Universities and colleges play a central role in the economic and social development of countries and regions across the world. The teaching and research conducted by higher education institutions produces the highly skilled graduates necessary for the creation and maintenance of dynamic modern economies, and acts as a catalyst for scientific and technological innovation in many fields. As centres of critical inquiry and independent thought, higher education institutions are profoundly important for the development of vibrant civil societies and for encouragement of democracy, tolerance, pluralism and freedom of political and religious expression. These essential features of higher education underline its status as a public good which should be funded and regulated by the state through public investment. The changing global economic environment, in which the key developed countries (US, UK and much of the Eurozone) face continued indebtedness and low rates of growth, makes higher
education investment especially imporis to strengthen domestic higher educatant for the poor and emerging countries tion systems, regulate the presence of of the Asia-Pacific region. The limits of onshore and offshore foreign providers export-led economic growth based on the and ensure the spill over benefits of production of consumer goods for rich student expenditures are captured by countries are now evident. The region’s fudomestic economies. ture prospects will be increasingly reliant Not all countries have maintained inadon the promotion of domestic consumpequate policies. Some (such as our host tion and increased country Malaysia) intra-regional trade have adopted stratand investment High quality universities egies based on high in Asia-Pacific public investment, and colleges are an countries. High strengthening of important part of future quality universities public universities and colleges are domestic growth strategies... and colleges, and an important part [but] many Asia-Pacific regulating foreign of future domestic governments have failed to providers growth strategies. appreciate the significance of, As national and Despite this and to properly organise and international higher important social fund, higher education. education union and economic role leaders we have an for universities, obligation to pursue many Asia-Pacific our common policy objectives in our own governments have countries and on a wider regional basis failed to appreciate the significance of, with a particular focus on: and to properly organise and fund, higher education. This is underlined by: • Increasing public investment and achieving a better balance between • The increasing trend towards casual and markets and planning, and between short-term employment at the expense the public and private sectors. This of tenured and permanent jobs. should include a more regulated • Rapidly rising tuition costs and inadebalance between domestic and foreign quate student income support. investment. • An imbalance between public and private investment and an unwillingness of state authorities to provide higher levels of public investment for the full range of research, teaching and vocational institutions.
• The maintenance and extension of collective bargaining and academic freedom rights on a consistent basis throughout the Asia-Pacific, including the right to form independent national higher education trade unions.
• The use of inappropriate performance indicators in the distribution of public funds (which tend to reinforce existing inequalities between different institutional types) and in the assessment of the work and output of individual faculty members.
• Increasing opportunities for the poor and disadvantaged, particularly women, girls, rural residents and ethnic and religious minorities.
• Lack of quality improvement and in some instances falling quality. • Excessive reliance on the movement of students to universities and colleges in richer countries (particularly the US, Australia and the Eurozone). This deepens the problem of ‘brain drain’ and hinders the development of domestic labour forces based on skills and knowledge. A more appropriate policy
We are well placed to deepen the cooperation amongst higher education unions within our region, particularly given the growing number of countries and organisations in our Higher Education Caucus. Grahame McCulloch, General Secretary EI Executive Board Member email@example.com
NTEU ADVOCATE • vol. 20 no. 3 • November 2013 • www.nteu.org.au/advocate • page 3
Update Marian Baird to present 2013 NTEU Lecture NTEU is pleased to announce that Professor Marian Baird will deliver the 2013 NTEU Lecture on Thursday 5 December in Sydney. Professor Baird will speak on ‘A Positive Tension: The Academic and Policy Debates.’ Posing the question of what is the role of the academic in contemporary Australia, Marian Baird will reflect on the past decade of work on gender and public policies and considers the implications for academic life and work more broadly. Consideration will be given to the inherent tensions between active policy involvement and involvement in the modern university, including workload, academic freedom and intellectual integrity. University of Sydney Professor of Employment Relations and proud NTEU member, Marian Baird was recently named among Australia’s most influential women in the Australian Financial Review (AFR) and
The NTEU Lecture Westpac 100 Women of Influence awards, winning the public policy category. Marian is one of Australia’s leading voices in the fields of women, work and family. ‘If you are enjoying some paid time off after you have a child, thank Baird,’ the AFR reported. University of Sydney Business School Co-Dean Professor David Gant said ‘Professor Baird has made a significant contribution to public policy in a way that has greatly improved the work and home life of many thousands of Australian women and their family members.’ Professor Baird is the Director of the Women and Work Research Group, University of Sydney Business School and a former NTEU Sydney University Branch Vice-President (Academic). Her key research areas are women’s work and the regulation of the labour market. She applies her research to improve policy outcomes for working people and works with policy makers in unions and governments. Professor Baird has received a number of ARC and government grants to study maternity and parental leave, flexibility for working parents, women and the global financial crisis, mature age workers and
Silencing dissent in Qld The Queensland LNP Government’s attack on unions is gathering force. The Industrial Relations (Transparency and Accountability of Industrial Organisations) and Other Acts Amendment Act 2013 cancels ‘Union Encouragement Provisions’ (including organisational change, contracting out and job security provisions) in Queensland awards and agreements, restricts Right of Entry and imposes significant and onerous financial obligations on unions registered in Queensland. All of this makes day-to-day union work much more difficult and costly, but the Act’s most disturbing aspect is the regulating of expenditure for political purposes. Unions must ballot all members, whether financial or not, seeking prior approval of expenditure over $10,000 where that expenditure is for a political purpose. The ballot must be run by ‘an approved entity’ and be paid for by the Union. ‘Political purpose’ is defined widely to include gifts to political parties or candidates, paying electoral expenses, publication of material and advertising about a political matter, holding
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low paid workers, gender equitable organisational change and work and family in regional Australia. Previous NTEU lecturers are Chief Scientist Professor Ian Chubb in 2011, and in 2012 Australia’s leading playwright, David Williamson. For full details of the 2013 NTEU Lecture and to register for tickets, please visit: www.nteu.org.au/lecture
opinion polls about a political matter and any other activity prescribed under a regulation. These provisions greatly circumscribe rights to political freedom, but the latter three items are of the greatest concern. On 12 July, the Queensland Teachers Union (QTU) published a full-page advertisement in the Courier Mail criticising the State Government’s attitude to the Gonski Reforms. The Industrial Inspectorate commenced an official investigation in late September of ‘issues relating to political spending’ that arose from the advertisement, requiring the QTU to participate in a formal record of interview and provide detailed financial records. The Queensland Council of Unions has commenced action in the High Court, arguing that the Act breaches the right to freedom of political expression. New legislation was introduced only last week that waters down the financially robust Queensland workers’ compensation scheme by restricting common law rights to applicants who have an assessed Whole of Person Incapacity of 5% or more, thus automatically excluding around 50% of applications . Then the Government suddenly introduced a Bill amending the Industrial Relations Act without notice or any external consultation. The Bill is nothing less than WorkChoices on steroids. It includes award and agreement stripping, as well as unilaterally moving around 300,000 senior public service staff onto take it or leave individual contracts. Margaret Lee, Qld Division Secretary
Update Fair process achieved in Curtin restructure plans A dispute between Curtin University management and NTEU over proposed academic reshaping of the University has been resolved with the assistance of the Fair Work Commission.
First 24 hr strike for Howard Florey On July 16, after more than 12 months of seeking to negotiate a new Collective Agreement, frustrated NTEU members at Howard Florey staged a first ever 24 hour strike and protest on Royal Parade. This was the first time members of the newly formed Research Institutes Branch have take 24 hour strike action. The strike was an escalation on a series of Stop Work meetings and internal work bans, illustrating the frustrations felt by NTEU members towards the Board of Management at the Institute. The NTEU and the Florey were close to a possible in-principle agreement towards Christmas 2013, but a new Board of
Management withdrew from negotiations to reassess the financial status of the Institute. What was regarded by Research Academics as strategic investment quickly became exposure to debt for the commercially orientated. The strike and the maintenance of the internal work bans saw the Institute pay a 3% salary increase to all staff in July, and it has brought their representatives back to the bargaining table with a desire to reach an agreed outcome prior to the end of the year. There is currently a proposal for a 4 year agreement being considered by the parties that will see NTEU members at the Institute maintain income parity with the Research Sector and improve and protect their conditions until 2017. It is proposed that there be an annual increase of 3% payable January 1 each year, with a firm schedule for the incorporation of staff from other research entities (who are on lesser terms of pay and conditions) into the Collective Agreement by 2017, some improvement in conditions, and a yet to be finalised sign on bonus that will compensate members for the earlier breakdown in negotiations. NTEU members are scheduled to meet to discuss acceptance on October 22. Rhidian Thomas, Industrial Officer
New Baker IDI Agreement
will deliver a 10% pay rise (3.5% on 1 Jan 14, 3.25% on 1 Jan 15, 3.25% on 1 Jan 16) and the provision of five days paid leave for both domestic violence and elderly care.
With Australian Nursing & Midwife Federation (ANMF) members, NTEU members at Baker IDI have been negotiating a new Agreement.
NTEU and ANMF members have expressed support for the new deal and the way in which the two unions have supported each other through the process. It is hoped that formal agreement and approval by FWC will take place soon, and the new Agreement will be up and running in the new year.
The parties have reached in-principle agreement on a new 3 year deal that
Early this year, Curtin announced university-wide restructures designed to replace a proportion of teaching and research academic positions with teaching specialist and research specialist roles. In order to implement this new staff profile, the University planned to spill many teaching and research positions, requiring those ongoing staff to compete for their own jobs. The new specialist jobs were to be externally advertised and new selection criteria would be imposed on all positions in the structure. The Union objected to the restructure plans, which contravened the change processes negotiated in the Enterprise Agreement. The resulting dispute ended up in the Fair Work Commission where a settlement was negotiated which ensures: • All positions to be filled internally if possible. • Job matching rather than spill and fill for teaching and research positions. • No new selection criteria to be imposed on existing staff to keep their own jobs. • Much better provision of information during consultation and implementation. NTEU Curtin Branch President Tony Snow said the resolution of the dispute means that management is now required to better identify which work or positions it does not want, identify which work would be transferred into new jobs (such as teaching being shifted from Teaching and Research positions into Teaching Focussed or Research Academic ones) and which research areas the University no longer wants. Management must then try to minimise potential loss of jobs through redeployment and measures such as attrition and voluntary redundancy. NTEU Curtin Branch will closely monitor the restructure as it proceeds to ensure the University honours of the settlement and respect the right of staff to job security and fair process.
NTEU ADVOCATE • vol. 20 no. 3 • November 2013 • www.nteu.org.au/advocate • page 5
Update Bargaining update
Each have achieved good outcomes across the NTEU’s key claims, including caps on teaching hours, the creation of Scholarly Teaching Fellow positions (80 new positions will be achieved at Sydney University), improved career progression for general staff and employment targets for indigenous staff.
Round 6 Bargaining is still progressing slowly, and at many places seemed to grind to a halt as employers waited for the results of the Federal Election. The cuts already announced to university funding, together with expectations of further stringencies and industrial relations demands from an Abbott Government, have had a chilling effect on negotiations.
over the life of the Agreement is around 3.32% per annum.
The Agreement at Charles Sturt University (CSU) has also been finalised after management put their version of an Agreement to a vote of staff and despite intensive campaigning from NTEU, the majority of staff voted in favour of the Agreement. NTEU will nonetheless seek to maintain the rights of its members under the Agreement and will support its approval in the Fair Work Commission. The Agreement includes several key provisions from the NTEU claim, including the creation of new Scholarly Teaching Fellow positions, improved general staff career advancement and targets for employment of Indigenous staff. The average salary increase for staff
Agreements have been finalised at Curtin, CQUniversity, Edith Cowan (ECU), Deakin, Sydney and James Cook (JCU).
Elsewhere, several Branches have made progress on key claims and would be close to settlement but for salaries. In others, such as the University of Melbourne, the parties are so far apart on NTEU key claims that members are not prepared to discuss the University’s wage offer. A variety of employer tactics have been brought to bear to slow down or stall negotiations. These include: • Meeting for short times once a fortnight. • Spending months asking for further elaboration of the Union claims and negotiating the bosses agenda but not engaging meaningfully with the Union claims. • Refusing to talk about money until all other conditions are negotiated to finality. • Stonewalling on low wage offers.
Round 6 Bargaining – State of Play November 2013 Status
Approval Date by Nat’l Executive
Salary Increase (flat)
12% + flat $1200
Increase compounded Annual Expiry to expiry wage growth Payrise to payrise
Staff development fund
Internal advertising of positions
Employment strategy / targets
Academic Casuals Scholarly Teaching Fellows Academic Workloads Hours-based cap on teaching General Staff Claims
Other Claims Superannuation Domestic Violence Leave
KEY: ✔ Claim achieved
Indigenous employment target contained in MOU.
21 STFs created over the life of the Agreement.
Notes and special features
Indigenous employment target and Monitoring Committee in MOU.
✘ Claim rejected or stalled
At least 80 STFs by July 2013.
? Claim under serious negotiation
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Indigenous committee clause drafted by Indigenous members at Deakin.
New recognition for professional and technical staff doing academic work.
Management put draft Agreement to a vote without Union agreement.
✔? Claim largely settled with some detail in dispute
Update • P aying administrative increases to reduce pressure on the ground for an early outcome.
Industrial Action Industrial action has been prominent this round, with the Sydney University Agreement set to be approved in the wake of lengthy strike action – 7 days in all. Bans on teaching, consecutive one hour stoppages, amended and supportive email signatures, and bans on open day and graduation ceremony activities were common. The bans on transmission of results proved problematic with the Fair Work Commission interpretation of the current Act leaving branches vulnerable to employer action. Several branches implemented bans on the transmission of mid-year results and set up Exemptions Committees to assist students in need. However, both Monash and Swinburne sought to suspend the action.
The Monash decision Given the current provisions of the Fair Work Act, Vice-President Lawler of the FWC had no choice but to agree with Monash University that the bans on transmission of results had threatened to endanger student welfare. The main reason for this was that the exemptions categories at Monash had been added progressively over time, leaving some students vulnerable to a threat of danger to their welfare – all that is required under a strict interpretation of the legislation. However, VP Lawler also found that the NTEU Monash Branch had endeavoured to produce an exemptions regime that would negate the risks. Furthermore, the exemptions regime in place by the time of the hearing made proper provision for general and special exemptions so that it was likely that students who are able to demonstrate a threat to their health and welfare would be exempted. He therefore concluded that there was no current or future endangerment of student health or welfare. As there was no present or prospective threat, VP Lawler expressed concern that a suspension would deprive members of their most effective protected industrial action. He nominally suspended the results bans for one hour from midnight on 27 July, which he said was a period that would have no practical impact.
The Swinburne Decision Immediately after the Monash decision, Swinburne made a similar application, which was also heard by VP Lawler. In this case, the employer argument focussed more strongly on the question of the impact of the bans on academic progress, particularly for at risk or show cause
students and those who would not know that they had failed a prerequisite unit. In this case, VP Lawler was convinced that the bans were a current threat to student welfare and he suspended the action for two weeks.
All action suspended Under the Fair Work Act, if one industrial action, such as a results ban, is suspended, then all industrial action must cease. Hence the employer’s successful actions meant that all industrial action at Swinburne and Monash needed to be suspended and re-notified.
Appeal Vice-President Lawler had anticipated his decisions would be appealed and indeed the Monash decision was appealed by both sides. This came before the Full Bench on 12 August. The NTEU appealed on the grounds that VP Lawler’s reliance on past alleged harm, which the current structure of the industrial action was not threatening, was a misapplication of the words in the Act and that therefore there should have been no suspension at all. Management argued that he had erred in finding that there was no current or future endangerment. Management convinced the Full Bench that VP Lawler was wrong to conclude that the NTEU’s results ban was not endangering student welfare. The Full Bench did not deal with the NTEU’s grounds of appeal, finding there was no public interest in doing so, but upheld the management appeal and ordered a new two week suspension of the Monash action with effect from 9am on 14 August 2013. Of course, this effectively killed the results ban, and also had the effect of suspending all other industrial action for three weeks (the two week suspension plus a fresh three days’ notice of recommencing action). A detailed statement of reasons for their decision was issued on 26 August and can be found here at www.fwc.gov.au/decisionssigned/html/2013FWCFB5982.htm
Consequences for NTEU action At the time of writing, National Office is considering an appeal to the Federal Court. An appeal would run the risk of reinforcing a bad decision at a higher jurisdictional level and would also come with considerable legal expenses for the Union. Nevertheless, we cannot ignore the fact that the Full Bench decision effectively takes results bans away as a legitimate and sustainable form of industrial action. Therefore on balance we should pursue an appeal if we receive advice from Counsel that it has prospects of success. Such advice is being sought. www.universitybargaining.org.au
Vote Smart victories and losses At the time of publication, the final contests of the 2013 Federal Election were still subject to recount. WA Greens Senator Scott Ludlum was fighting to hold his seat with a shift to the right across the country, which had brought Tony Abbott’s Liberal/National Coalition to power along with seats to mining magnate Clive Palmer’s party, who along other right leaning independents will hold the balance of power in the Senate after next July. Ludlum UNI CLASS SIZES was one of hAvE ALmoSt the Greens ED DOUBL ovEr A gENErAtIoN candidates E UNI CUtS AR supported DUMB CUTS through the NTEU’s stand up for higher Vote Smart. education Vote Greens in the Senate campaign which drew attention to the deleterious impact of inadequate university funding around the key theme that class sizes have almost doubled, so Vote Smart. NTEU also supported the return of SA Greens Senator Hanson-Young and Senator Peter Whish-Wilson in Tasmania. A further Greens senator, Janet Rice, was elected in Victoria. votesmart.org.au
Authorised by G. McCulloch,
National Tertiary Education
Union, 120 Clarendon
St, South Melbourne
VIC 3205. Printed by NTEU.
The lower house candidates and champions for higher education backed by the NTEU campaign, Independent Andrew Wilkie in Denison and Greens Adam Bandt in Melbourne were returned with increased margins. (For more on the NTEU campaign, see report p.18). Scott Ludlum’s record in the Senate of standing up for human rights, a fair economy and environmental sustainability has been strong, articulate and consistent. The NTEU was particularly impressed with Ludlum’s performance in opposing the Defence Trades Control Bill, which curtails the independence of affected Australian researchers and their international collaborators.
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Update Strikes build unions and achieve good Agreements Following seven days of strikes, the NTEU University of Sydney Branch has won a good Enterprise Agreement and built a stronger, bigger Branch. The Branch has grown by over two hundred members since the beginning of the year. The Campaign Committee continues to meet and is planning to build a solid, active delegates network as we implement and enforce our new Agreement. All university staff will benefit from the Agreement we have negotiated. It should not be forgotten that the Agreement originally proposed by management in December 2012 would have stripped us of many rights, including anti-discrimination, intellectual freedom, union rights, classification protections for general staff, job security, a quantified research component in academic workloads and a substantial part of our existing sick leave provisions. Review and appeal processes in place to protect staff in dispute with management would have been significantly weakened, making it easier for management to undertake job cut campaigns like the one of 2011/12. It is only the willingness of union members to take strike action that stopped these planned changes. As well as protecting – and in many cases strengthening – our existing conditions, we have secured a range of measures that will create a fairer and better university for us all, including:
• Guaranteed 20% research allocation for teaching-focused academics. • Increases to partner leave. • Increased redundancy benefits for General Staff. On salary, too, our industrial campaign was successful. Management originally offered staff only 2% p.a. salary increase. This was revised upwards only after strike action, until finally over the weekend we received an acceptable salary offer of 14.5% - which works out at 3% per annum from expiry of the previous agreement (May 2012) to expiry of the new agreement (March 2017). The management offer also includes an extra day’s concessional leave at Christmas, a $540 sign-on bonus and three research/training days. In the current federal context, this represents a significant result and is testament to NTEU members’ resolve and the efficacy of industrial action. While we would like to believe the deal is now done, it is important to note that management reneged at the last minute
• 80 new ongoing Scholarly Teaching Fellow positions to replace teaching work previously done by casuals. • 40 new Early Career Development Fellowships. • An Indigenous employment target of 172 staff. • 20 days domestic violence leave. • $2 million per annum General Staff Career Development Fund. • A General Staff Secondment and Exchange Scheme.
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during the 2009 Enterprise Agreement negotiations on the undertakings it had previously made. Some external members of the University Senate have taken an inappropriately interventionist position in the Enterprise Agreement negotiations, which have further delayed and disrupted a satisfactory outcome. Should these circumstances recur, the NTEU will not hesitate to renew our industrial campaign. Beyond the current negotiations, there remains much to do. The management continues to implement change management processes, staff face pressures from work intensification, and bullying and harassment are an ongoing problem in some areas. The NTEU will continue to advocate and enforce workplace arrangements that are good for students, staff and the University as a whole. Michael Thomson, University of Sydney Branch President
Above: Members take strike action on 20 August. Below: Celebrating the Agreement.
Update Actions spur on Agreements in Victoria As in other parts of the country, collective bargaining has been a protracted and difficult process in Victoria. One Agreement, at Deakin University, has been reached. Given it took nearly two years to reach agreement at Deakin in the previous round, getting sign-off in 12 months is a good achievement. The Agreement, too, is a good one, with a reasonable pay rise that is targeted at the lower paid members of staff. The Agreement also has a good academic workloads clause, introduces paid family violence leave, provides for forty Scholarly Teaching Fellows, facilitates the establishment of a secondment register for general staff, and several other improvements. The introduction of Scholarly Teaching Fellows as a way of tackling the scourge of casualisation, and family violence leave clauses will be achieved at all Victorian universities, despite some management resistance. These will be achievements that bargaining teams, Branches and members will be proud of for many years to come. Unfortunately, most Victorian university Agreements still require considerable work. Nevertheless, bargaining teams are working very hard to get agreements over the line by the end of year, at least in principle. The NTEU has agreed with management to suspend bargaining negotiations at University of Ballarat (UB) in order to transform them into negotiations for an Agreement for the Federation University of Australia (as the merger between UB and
Above: Swinburne staff strike in September. Below: Melbourne staff striking in October. Photos: Toby Cotton the Churchill campus of Monash University will be known from 1 January 2014).
Industrial action All Victorian university Branches have had to take industrial action in support of their claims, with most imposing bans on the transmission of results, some banning various forms of administrative work, and most taking strike action for varying periods. Unfortunately, the Union was taken to the Fair Work Commission over the results bans at Monash and Swinburne and lost the cases. As a result, industrial action at those Branches was suspended for short periods of time (see report, p.7).
sive in challenging the Union. Some managements (interestingly, particularly at Monash and Melbourne) have been resistant to the Scholarly Teaching Fellows claim; others to the imposition of enforceable caps on academic workloads; still others on one or more of our general staff claims. In turn, management claims around a reduction of redundancy entitlements and discipline protections have been common, with the usual claim for more ‘simplification’ and ‘flexibility’. The ramifications of such a change in management approach need to be given serious consideration by the NTEU when the dust has settled on this round of bargaining.
More problematic in the long term was the undermining of this form of industrial action, which has traditionally been one of the most powerful in our arsenal. We are still considering whether further legal action would help to clarify the law around such bans.
But what we can already say is that there is a pressing need for the union to concentrate its efforts over the next several years on two key goals: building union density and power and providing union members with an extensive programme of union education.
Management approach hardens
These will be the best form of preparation for the next round of bargaining, sometime in or after 2016.
The general tenor of bargaining has been that managements are both more organised in advancing particular claims and resisting pay increases and more aggres-
Colin Long, Victorian Division Secretary
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Update The lack of job security at UTAS is criminal University of Tasmania (UTAS) has been declared a crime scene by the NTEU because of its terrible staff statistics. Job security remains the sticking point to reaching agreement, with no willingness by senior management to provide improvements since negotiations commenced late last year. At UTAS, 75% of staff are casual or fixedterm and have no job security. The NTEU has undertaken a number of stunts to draw attention to the issue of job security. Everyone knows a number of staff members who are working in positions that are clearly ongoing, but they are employed casually or on a fixed-term basis.
staff don’t have job security.’ The banner was placed outside the student union building, facing the Vice-Chancellor’s office. The banner was only up very briefly before it was brought down by UTAS, claiming it breached the banner policy. After a more formal request, the NTEU Tasmanian Division was advised by UTAS that ‘Based on feedback received, I am unable to approve the NTEU’s application to post its banner on University premises.’
The NTEU has asked UTAS to reduce the number of fixed-term and casual staff by changing these to ongoing positions. We would also like to see that when a role is ongoing then staff that have been working for more than three years should have the right to convert to an ongoing role.
Above: Members with their banner facing the VC’s office. Below: Job security crime scene in Launceston. Photos by Miranda Jamieson.
Several buildings have been decorated with crime scene tape to outline the issue of job security at UTAS, and media invited to these events were provided with a copy of an NTEU survey that showed that staff morale was extremely low as a result of short term employment and reliance on casual and fixed-term staff. Members at the Tasmanian College of the Arts painted a banner to look like crime scene tape proclaiming that ‘75% of UTAS
ACT Division supports Canberra Jobs Alliance The NTEU ACT Division joined with a range of other ACT unions during the election campaign to form the Canberra Jobs Alliance. This Alliance (made up of the NTEU, the CFMEU, the AEU and the ANF) actively campaigned around the danger to the local economy of a Coalition Government. The campaign drew on the disastrous experience of Canberrans during the first years of the Howard Government when thousands of public sector jobs were slashed and the local economy tumbled into recession. The NTEU highlighted the dangers of further funding cuts to local ACT universities and how this, in combination with up to 12,000 job losses in the public sector in Canberra, would represent a crippling blow to the ACT community. The Alliance developed local television advertising, undertook mail-outs and made phone calls to ACT residents, using stories
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of the impact of the Howard era cuts to highlight the very real dangers of the election of a Coalition Government. NTEU ACT Division Secretary Stephen Darwin, was a joint media spokesperson for the Alliance and highlighted the impact of the recent cuts to higher education and the inability of local universities to absorb further reductions in funding. Darwin argued that the recent announcement of the loss of 230 professional staff jobs at ANU was a powerful reminder to the ACT community that they could not afford a Coalition Government. Although the campaign did not succeed in preventing the election of a local Liberal senator, the ACT was one of the few regions in the country where the Coalition vote remained stagnant, suggesting that the Alliance’s message resonated. It is now hoped this Alliance will be ongoing, drawing together ACT unions to fight the realities of public sector and education cuts that loom with the election of an Abbott Government. www.canberrajobsalliance.com
Update CAE staff fight cuts Hundreds of people have shown their support to NTEU members Lay-Ping Powell and Carlos Marquez-Perez in their fight against attempts to cut their rights and entitlements. They are not on their own, but have become symbolic of the fight against draconian cuts being sought by the Council of Adult Education (CAE) Board. Union members, family and friends have sent in photos of themselves holding up a sign supporting these two delegates. These photos have been built up in to a montage that can be seen on the NTEU Victorian Division Facebook page. The numbers grow daily. Administration Officers Lay-Ping and Carlos are two of the four delegates at this well-known Melbourne institute. The other two delegates, Tania Daniels and Michelle McCann are teachers, and all together they make a formidable bargaining team. Like most bargaining rounds, there have been highs and lows and the usual run of twists and turns from management. The current Agreement expired in April 2011, an in-principle Agreement was reached in November 2011, the Board reneged on that Agreement early 2012, a new in-principle Agreement was reached in December 2012, the Board reneged on that Agreement mid 2013 and demanded over 30 cuts to the Agreement. Members started to get just a little peeved at this poor behaviour from management. For the first time in their history they took industrial action. Daily stoppages of one minute or more by every member commenced, flyers have been handed out on Flinders Lane, noisy marches around the block with bells and whistles and the Short Course administration shut down for a week are some of the actions by union members. A ban on answering all emails has just commenced. Recent events have caused significant changes to the management of the CAE and not for the better. Over spending on infrastructure followed by the GFC left the CAE in financial trouble. It was ‘rescued’ by the Box Hill Institute (of TAFE) and became part of the BHI Group, run by the one Board. Soon after, a spill of the Board’s Chair occurred and Premier Napthine hand-picked a replacement (Suzanne
Above: Staff at Melbourne’s CAE taking industrial action in August for the first time since the centre’s establishment. Below: Members photos in support of NTEU delegates Lay-Ping and Carlos. Photos: Toby Cotton/Gia Underwood
Show your support for Lay-Ping & Carlos!
The fight continues! We invite member to download the ‘I support Lay-Ping & Carlos’ sign from the NTEU Victorian Facebook page (facebook. com/NTEUVic), take a photo of yourself with it, and email it to Toby Cotton, firstname.lastname@example.org. Ewart, ex-General Manager Mergers & Acquisitions in Telstra, Fosters Group, National Australia Bank, etc.) followed by the corporatisation of the Institute, a requirement to run on commercial guidelines and the new State Government’s industrial relations policy. This spelled trouble. A sudden interest in non-union staff representation rights came dressed up as ‘freedom of association’, managerial prerogative became paramount, consent arbitration and removal of redundancy appeal rights were put on the table, among other things. The Union did not agree to any of the changes, so the CAE took the matter to the Fair Work Commission as a bargaining dispute. However, the Commissioner did not agree either. The Commission issued recommendations (unenforceable under the Fair Work Act), but the CAE ignored them and pressed on with pushing for the cuts, showing contempt for the staff and contempt for the independent umpire. The pay offer for staff at the time of publishing is 3.5% to cover almost four years. This includes sessional teachers who get paid $23.83 per hour for all duties outside the classroom – less than the modern award minimum rate for cleaners. Gia Underwood, Victorian Division NTEU ADVOCATE • vol. 20 no. 3 • November 2013 • www.nteu.org.au/advocate • page 11
Update Go Home on Time Day – for a mentally healthy workplace NTEU encourages members to participate in the annual Go Home On Time Day on Wednesday 20 November 2013. How you participate is up to you. You may wish to hold a morning or afternoon tea, a lunchtime yoga class or a post-work picnic with the kids. And, if you are able to, make sure you go home on time! Whatever your workplace decides, Go Home On Time Day is about starting the conversation about working hours, overwork, underwork and work/life balance. A mentally healthy workplace is a more productive workplace, and this year Go Home on Time Day participants are encouraged by its organisers, the Australia Institute, to make a gold coin donation to beyondblue. To support your participation, download free posters, cartoons and infographics at the Go Home on Time Day website. www.gohomeontimeday.org.au
CAPA roadshow Throughout a week and a half in October, the Council of Australian Postgraduate Associations (CAPA) has been hitting the road, visiting campuses across Australia and reaching out to postgraduate students through a series of events called The CAPA Roadshow. We’ve been visiting postgraduate associations from Melbourne to the Gold Coast, Newcastle to Fremantle, chatting to postgrads about what CAPA does, why student unionism is important and what the new Government means to universities. The CAPA Roadshow has hosted events in conjunction with numerous postgraduate students’ associations. Each of these events has provided postgraduate students with an opportunity to come together and network, to hear from speakers and to get to know more about what is happening within the sector. These events have also provided a forum for CAPA to visit some of our most active and engaged campus organisations, as well as newer postgraduate associations and organisations in regional areas, giving them an opportunity to promote the fantastic work they are doing on campus and giving their postgrads a chance to hear from their representatives at a national level.
At our Monash and Newcastle events we heard from our most recent Minister for Higher Education, Senator Kim Carr and the Australian Greens’ spokesperson on higher education, Senator Lee Rhiannon, who shared their thoughts on what the new Government and Senate mean for the student movement and took time to listen to input from local postgrad students. Our event at La Trobe featured a panel with myself, NTEU President Jeannie Rea and NUS Education Officer Clare Keyes-Liley, where the future of students and universities under the Coalition was discussed. International students in particular found this panel a unique opportunity to learn more about the Australian Government and how its decisions impact them on campus. During the Roadshow, we launched our S.O.S. Save Our Student experience, Save Our SSAF campaign. We’re currently surveying postgrads as to what services they use on campus and how they want to see their SSAF spent. We’re eager to approach the new Government’s policies on SSAF proactively and know that data on the postgraduate SSAF experience will prove valuable in the months to come. The message that has come through strongly from these events has been that in the face of a conservative government, student activism is more important than ever and it is critical that CAPA continues to be on the front foot of issues that matter to postgraduate students. Meghan Hopper, CAPA President www.capa.org.au
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A first degree shouldn’t cost a second mortgage The cost of a university degree at an Australian public university is amongst the highest in the world. Someone enrolling as a Commonwealth supported student today at an Australian university will face tuition (HECS) fees of anywhere between $18,000 (3 year degree in humanities) and $65,000 (6 year medical degree). If living costs are added to tuition fees, the total cost of attaining a degree for someone living away from home could be as high as $250,000. For many Australians the cost of a university degree will be equivalent to a mortgage. In order to highlight issues associated with the high costs of university education in Australia, the NTEU has launched a new website called My Student Debt. The website includes a student debt clock which provides a graphic reminder that the outstanding level of debt owed by current and former students is increasing at a rate of about $500,000 an hour. At this rate student HECS debt will exceed $50 billion by 2017 which would make it equivalent to current levels of outstanding credit card debt. The site provides a timely reminder that any attempts to increase university funding by increasing HECS fees will simply add to already substantial mountain of student debt. www.mystudentdebt.com.au
Update Bluestocking Week 2013: Holding the Line The theme for this year’s Bluestocking Week (12-16 August) was ‘Holding the Line.’ After the NUS event held back in April declared ‘Our bluestockings are on the line’, NTEU was obliged to stand fast! Events were held across campuses across the country, many with bargaining, election and ‘women in public life’ themes.
Breakthrough on domestic violence There has been a major breakthrough in bargaining around domestic violence provisions in the sector. In July, the NTEU with Swinburne University made a major breakthrough in enterprise bargaining provisions to support staff dealing with domestic violence. A new clause will provide five additional paid leave days specifically to be used for staff affected by domestic/ family violence. NTEU and Sydney University had previously agreed that up to 20 days personal leave may be taken solely for the purposes of dealing with the effects of domestic violence. Of the other recently approved Agreements, the Deakin University Agreement commits the parties to developing policies around domestic violence and provides an unspecified amount of leave to be taken as ‘special leave’. The Agreement at James Cook University includes a commitment clause to provide support for any staff affected by domestic violence. It’s clear that Swinburne University have now set the standard by providing specific days for domestic violence leave, making it our best practice clause (so far) this round. This has set a new benchmark for not just higher education, but throughout Australia where unions are seeking similar provisions in industrial agreements. Since the NTEU Women’s Action Committee (WAC) considered making
A highlight of this year’s Bluestocking Week at Murdoch University Branch was the ‘Women’s Walk on Country’ with Nyungar elder Aunty Marie Taylor (pictured right). Aunty Marie took a group of women around showing them the significance of her land on which the university now sits. Scheduled for one hour, the popular event went closer to three. Bluestocking Week is now established as an annual event every August. All of this year’s activities and information on the history of bluestockings: www.nteu.org.au/bluestockingweek NTEU’s women’s magazine, Agenda: www.nteu.org.au/agenda
mandatory claims on domestic violence leave in 2012, the rate of coverage of these clauses has grown rapidly across industries, with more than 1 million workers now covered by such provisions. There is a growing acceptance of domestic violence as a workplace issue, affecting work attendance, work performance and safety. Of respondents to the Safe at Home, Safe at Work? survey in 2011, 77% who had experienced domestic violence reported that their work performance had been negatively affected. Aside from being the right thing to do, provisions to support workers affected by domestic violence make sense for employers if they consider the costs of lost productivity, increased levels of absenteeism and turnover. For these reasons, WAC and NTEU Executive reconsidered our approach to these claims earlier this year which re-focussed our negotiations to achieving 4 out of the 7 ‘stars’ recommended by the Domestic Violence Clearinghouse, and to aim for one of these stars to be the achievement of additional paid leave. Since this round of bargaining commenced, the degree of public and industry acceptance of these provisions as legitimate workplace matters means NTEU can continue to build on domestic violence provisions in this and future rounds. If you’d like information or advice on negotiating domestic violence provisions, and additional leave, please contact the NTEU Industrial Unit. Sue Kenna, Industrial Officer www.dvandwork.unsw.edu.au/ domestic-and-family-violenceclauses
Gender pay gap still $1 million over a lifetime This year’s Bluestocking Week focus was upon gender pay equity in universities as the Australiawide gender pay gap had just been established as 17.5%, averaging out as $1 million less over for women over a lifetime (SMH, 2 Sept 2013). This has not gone down over the last decade. NTEU examined the difference between the average annual salaries of women and men to determine the pay gap for general staff in universities and found that while it is a lot better, averaging around 8.7%, this is not good enough. On the one hand, the lower gap is testimony to the successful implementation of equitable bargaining clauses and EEO policy, but there should not be a gap. Universities should be exemplars of equitable practice. During Bluestocking Week, the Union ran a competition asking members to guess the gender pay gap for general staff in their university. The winner was pleased to get her prize but disappointed in the magnitude of the gap. (See Agenda, vol. 21 (2013), p.3 for more details) Equal Pay Day was held on 3 September this year, the 65th day of the financial year, indicating the day women catch up with men’s earnings of the previous year. ACTU report examining the gender pay gap at 3 crucial stages in the career cycle of Australian women: actu.org.au/Publications/Other/ TheGenderPayGapOverthe LifeCycle.aspx
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Update CQIU and CQIT merger complete In September this year, when the ink dried on the agreement to merge CQUniversity with the Central Queensland Institute of TAFE (CQIT), the various parties involved heaved a sigh of relief. Everyone seemed happy. The agreement was a culmination of nearly three years of due diligence and negotiations between CQUniversity, the CQIT, the Federal Government, the Bligh and Newman Governments, the Queensland Treasury Corporation, local industry and community groups.
CQUniversity was happy because the dual sector means it becomes a one-stop-shop for all post-school education in Central Queensland including training and pathway opportunities for all its students. The Federal Government were so happy that they contributed around $74m as part of the 2011 Structural Adjustment Fund/ Education Investment Fund round. Much of this funding will support the actual merger or projects associated with it – for example, Mackay will get a state-of-the-art engineering centre and a major overhaul of its TAFE campus. The merger is expected to provide other tangible benefits: overall revenue goes up significantly; student numbers virtually double (though not all at the same level of funding); staffing increases by around a third; and there are some non-dual-sector specific benefits, such as stage two of the recently developed Allied Health Clinic at Rockhampton. So, with the newly merged entity due to commence on 1 July 2014, as well as the additional capital, Vice-Chancellor Scott Bowman is understandably in a good mood, declaring the ‘decision signals the start of an exciting new era in post-school education and training for the state, and another ‘first’ for Central Queensland.’ However, there are some clouds on the horizon. Given that Queensland now has
Ballarat and Monash Churchill merge into Federation University On 1 January 2014, the University of Ballarat and the Churchill campus of Monash University will be transformed into Australia’s newest university, Federation University Australia (FUA). The amalgamation is a challenge for university management, staff and NTEU, coming as it does at a time of uncertainty for the future of the tertiary education sector. Any move to impose caps on student entitlements or minimum ATAR scores for entry to university would make it much harder for FUA to realise its goal to make Churchill campus much more accessible to local students. For many years Monash struggled to make Churchill campus a success, finding it hard to balance its status as a GO8 institution with the specific needs of a regional community. As a result, student numbers have been in decline for some years, and a minority of university students from the Gippsland region were attending Churchill. The University of Ballarat, with a vision of its role as a university for regional Victoria, saw the opportunity to expand in a region that it already had some engagement in through TAFE partnerships. While it is expected that Ballarat’s expertise as a regional university will enable Churchill to be developed as a more locally-integrated and regionally relevant institution, the loss of GO8 status has been a source of understandable concern for some staff. While few in the ARC will openly admit it, affiliation with a GO8 institution increases the chance of winning competitive grants. This may have to do with reputation or with the generally enhanced research culture and infrastructure that GO8s boast. Nevertheless, Monash has promised to ensure that research staff will have access to Monash affiliation if needed in the future. The NTEU secured a guarantee of no forced redundancies during 2014 and a commitment to offer contracts to all existing Churchill staff, including most staff employed on short-term contracts. A proposal to make staff in the printery redundant was resisted by the NTEU and printery staff. The proposal was eventually dropped, saving nine jobs. The NTEU leaderships at Ballarat and Churchill have already met to begin the process of creating a unified FUA branch, and to talk about an Agreement for the new institution. Several Churchill delegates have played an important role in ensuring the voices of staff and the NTEU are heard in the merger process. While this is an understandably anxious and uncertain time for many staff, at least management, staff and the NTEU are united in working towards what we hope will be an expanding and successful university in both Churchill and Ballarat. Colin Long, Victorian Division Secretary a conservative government, it is by no means clear what the wash-out of those challenges to TAFE elsewhere might mean for the sunshine state (the recent Victorian TAFE experience is burned in everyone’s minds). Some effects are already being felt. For example, the Queensland Teachers’ Union (QTU) , which represents teaching staff in schools and TAFE, is locked in mortal combat with Queensland Minister for Education, Paul Langbroek over terms and conditions in Enterprise Bargaining. The Minister is using all his tricks and powers to change working conditions and
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industrial processes in his bid to break the power of the public sector unions in Queensland. Negotiations are currently being sorted in arbitration and it may take some time to resolve this industrial quagmire. It is not clear how the TAFE staff will be situated industrially come the merger date, however, and the local NTEU Branch remains in close consultation with the QTU. Peter Fitzsimmons, CQU Branch President
Casuals News Job security is our priority Over the past two decades, thousands of higher education careers have disappeared or never got started. During this time, universities have expanded and student numbers rapidly increased, and while jobs have also increased, they are increasingly precarious. This is most stark in teaching where the majority of work is now carried out by academics employed casually. This is not all new work: the jobs of academics leaving the system are also being casualised. NTEU members repeatedly say that job security is their greatest concern. Fear of losing one’s secure, contract, or even casual job, has cast pallor over the vibrancy of teaching and research in higher education. The inadequacy of government funding and university managements’ unpreparedness to prioritise jobs mean that almost everyone worries about the future of their job. So holding onto existing jobs is the first priority. Creating new secure jobs is the other side of the coin. Our insistence in this round of enterprise bargaining upon creating new secure academic jobs (Scholarly Teaching Fellows), numerical targets on Indigenous jobs, and tightening up the HECE provisions (unravelled in the HEWRRs period) continues to demonstrate NTEU’s commitment to jobs and job security as core objectives. In the previous bargaining round, in recognition of the rise in research contracts, the research contract conversion clause was pursued, along with ECDFs to create some early career teaching and research positions. There are always two paths to tread in bargaining around secure work. Firstly, the focus must be on turning precarious work into secure jobs, but the other must be upon improving the salaries and conditions of casual and contract workers. In the last round, gaining payment for marking was an important breakthrough to improve the income of casuals, but it also acknowledged that casuals had been forced to give their labour for free. The majority of casual academics want ongoing jobs, as do general and academic staff employed on ‘soft money’. It is
supposedly ‘soft’ because it is temporary. Yet the work is not usually temporary as research programs keep going, students continue to need learning developers, advisers, librarians and IT workers, and the logic of outsourcing for any reason other than reducing the payroll is hard to fathom. Universities increasingly use fixed term and casual employment arrangements for general staff in positions where there is clearly an ongoing need for the work, including by characterising income-generating services as ‘external’ funding, and by blurring the budget lines between internal and external funding to increase the number of positions allegedly linked to external funding. This is no way to run a university system. Since 2001 the total level of full-time employment (FTE), including estimated casuals, has grown by 42%. In 2001, 73.7% of all FTE employees were full time, 10.6% were fractional and 15.7% were estimated casuals. In 2010, just over half (51.4%) of all employees (when measured on FTE basis) of Australian university staff had continuing employment. Almost a third (32.1%) were on limited term contracts and 16.1% were employed on a casual basis. Amongst teaching only staff only 6.1% had continuing employ-
Casual Voices NTEU’s website for casual academics (unicasual.org. au) allows members to share their stories as a casual. This is Lisa’s story. I love the work of teaching. I hate the conditions. They are honestly worse than when I started employment on checkouts at KMart over 20 years ago. We can’t plan our teaching, let alone our lives. We do not get paid for all those ‘extras’: the time it takes to deal with a computer malfunction, attend a faculty morning tea (if we’re invited), go to the toilet, deal with a broken photocopier, or countless hours of HR and student administration. There is no stability of hours from semester to semester, a week’s notice (sometimes less) of teaching hours and subjects, no paid sick or holiday leave, no ability to accrue entitlements like long service or maternity leave, no professional development, HALF the super of our colleagues. I have worked across four institutions now. At one I have worked every year
ment with 86.5% employed on a casual basis. For research only staff 9.8% had continuing employment with 80.5% being employed on limited term contracts.
National conference in 2014 The NTEU will hold a major national conference in 2014 on the professional and industrial issues around the increasing reliance on insecure forms of employment at our universities. The conference will focus upon: • The impacts of insecure employment upon precariously employed staff, including (but not only) casual academic and contract research staff. • Improving employment conditions. • Organising and industrial strategies. • The impacts upon the working conditions of staff in continuing positions. • The quality of university teaching, research and engagement. • Public policy and advocacy around insecure employment. A reference group including members in contract and casual positions will be convened to assist in organising the conference. Jeannie Rea, National President for 5 years and have no entitlements, no professional development to show for this. I am 40 and planning for a child. For the last four months I have been searching for ANY stable employment in a university, but my sessional teaching record means I don’t get shortlisted for administrative jobs that I can do. So I am now trapped into this field of casual employment. I will have to rely on the government maternity leave scheme, just as I have to rely on the Newstart Allowance between semesters. I am a good teacher, too. I regularly get high student feedback scores and am commended each semester on the quality of assessment that my students submit. Yet this semester I was given a week’s notice of being pulled out of a subject I taught over a five years, with no apology and no explanation. Luckily I was offered new work at another institution, but this means a lot of extra work to prepare for a new subject. It’s exhausting. And not fair to either the staff or the students who are not getting the quality of teaching they deserve, because quality teaching has got to be properly paid and STABLE. unicasual.org.au/casual_voices
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Indigenous News Indigenous employment targets are achievable Since 2001 and the inception of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander provisions in university Collective Agreements, there has been a sustained drive by the Union to ensure that employment opportunities for current and potential Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff are created across all levels of the university structure. In the last twelve years, Indigenous employment across the higher education sector has risen from 0.74% to almost 1% of all University staff (Full Time Equivalent), although employment opportunities have in the main, been in the General/ Professional staff categories, while overall Academic appointments continue to lag behind significantly. In the current round of bargaining, university management concerns regarding placing a numeric target in a Collective Agreement range from the difficulties in attracting suitably qualified Indigenous
applicants, to outright hostility at the suggestion of incorporating an enforceable employment target in an industrial instrument and that the policy arena is best placed to achieve greater employment opportunities.
nous and non-Indigenous peoples. While some universities are strongly committed to increasing Indigenous employment, achieving this goal cannot be left to only those institutions that have a strong commitment.
In many Collective Agreements negotiated in the previous round, employment targets vary from a proportional target based upon the local Indigenous population where the institution is located, the agreed State/Territory Indigenous populations, to the agreed national Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population figure of 2.5%.
Enforceable employment targets are part of industrial instruments for good reason – if targets are left in university policy documents there is a tendency for those targets to be reduced to tokenism or ignored all together. To ensure Indigenous student participation, retention and success at university continues to grow the role of Indigenous staff cannot be understated or ignored.
Recommendations one through three of the Review of Higher Education Access and Outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples detail the need to ensure university management set a benchmark target for increasing the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People at their institution. The Review recommends that a target of 2.2% be set, this target represents the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff in the working age bracket of 15-64 years of age. In the last eleven years (2001 to 2012) NTEU calculates the average annual growth rates for Indigenous employment to be 6.2%, which in itself is a credible achievement, driven in large part by the work of our members. While the average annual rate of increase for Indigenous employment in the higher education sector is promising, there remains an urgent need to close this employment parity gap between Indige-
National Council motions on sovereignty & jobs At National Council 2013, two motions were put forward by the Indigenous Policy Committee and were passed unanimously by the Council. The motions were ‘Sovereignty and SelfDetermination’ and ‘NTEU Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Employment Policy and Strategy’. The motion on sovereignty and self-determination strengthens a previous document produced by the ‘Gubbah Caucus’ of the NTEU back in 2002, The 10-point Plan for a post-Treaty Union. It does so in the face of strong national campaigning for recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people within Australia’s Constitution. The motion noted that the Australian Constitution is a document that was drafted by a foreign power with no input from the First Peoples (and indeed, was written specifically to exclude First Peoples), and that to be included in it at this point would be a process of assimilation rather
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The work that has been achieved to increase Indigenous employment to date is laudable, but no one should rely on good will and warm words. Employment targets are achievable. These achievements can be seen from the rate of annual employment increases in reported employment data. Universities can achieve employment targets and in doing so, will build relationships between the university and the local Indigenous communities. If left to the policy arena only, the potential for lack of action or under achievement is the only too real – Indigenous employment targets in Collective Agreements achieve results and we need to be ever vigilant to ensure Universities achieve what they promise in the policy arena. Adam Frogley, National Indigenous Coordinator www.nteu.org/indigenous
than collaboration. This motion therefore supports the strengthening of the NTEU’s stance with regards to the right for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to assert their sovereignty, both within the Union structure and nationally, and to run a broad education campaign on the issues relating to constitutional recognition prior to there being a formal treaty negotiated between First Peoples and the Australian Government. The motion on an NTEU employment strategy recognises that the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff numbers in the sector, and membership density within the NTEU, are growing and there is a need to provide more quality employment opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to work within the union. It also mirrors the mandatory claims presented by the NTEU during the bargaining rounds to increase rates of meaningful employment for First Peoples within the sector. The Indigenous Policy Committee would like to thank the National Councillors for supporting these motions, and welcomes the opportunity to discuss them further with the broader membership. Celeste Liddle, National Indigenous Organiser
Indigenous news Morning Star scholarship amount tripled NTEU is pleased to announce that from 2014 the Morning Star Scholarship will increase from $1,000 to $3,000 per year and will be paid in three equal instalments. This is the fifth year the Union has sponsored the scholarship, funded by an NTEU Life Member in lieu of annual membership payments. The Morning Star Scholarship was established in 1996 by Pamela and Alan Harris to assist Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students to realise their potential in their studies at Charles Darwin University (CDU). The NTEU began sponsoring this Scholarship in 2009. As recognised in a myriad of Government data and statistics, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students seeking to enter tertiary education face additional challenges outside of those experienced by non-Indigenous students. Universities across Australia recognise these challenges and offer a range of scholarships to assist Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students to enter and successfully complete tertiary level studies. The NTEU has been pivotal in seeking to increase the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff employed in the higher education sector. Encouraging the next generation of Indigenous academic and general/professional staff is more vital now than ever before. To create an appropriate pathway for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students entering university, the NTEU has established a number of scholarships at institutions across the country. The Morning Star Scholarship at CDU is an example not only of the broader work of the NTEU, but also the work of dedicated individuals at the community level. In 2013 the recipient was Caroline Arbon, a 4th year social work undergraduate. The NTEU congratulates Caroline on her successful scholarship application and hard work toward achieving her degree.
Aunty Kerrie Doyle graduates from Oxford NTEU congratulates University of Canberra (UC) Indigenous Branch Committee member, Kerrie Doyle, for being the first Indigenous Australian woman to graduate from Oxford University. Aunty Kerrie, a proud Winninninni woman who grew up on Darkinjung country, completed a Master of Science in Evidence-Based Social Intervention and Policy at Wolfson College as part of the Roberta Sykes Scholarship program. Kerrie is an assistant professor in Nursing at UC, and a current PhD candidate at ANU through the National Centre for Indigenous Studies. She stresses that her achievement was not a solo effort and that she had unbelievable support from colleagues at UC. Kerrie received many messages of support whilst she was at Oxford, and on her return to the UC was welcomed back. Aunty Kerrie is additionally thankful that UC created the space for her to undertake this opportunity, both financially and through flexible leave arrangements. As well as having the opportunity to undertake her studies in what was a ground-breaking course, Aunty Kerrie names other highlights of her time at Oxford as having lunch with a Nobel Laureate, and delivering a lecture at the Nelson Mandela Theatre. She also delivered a paper at the International Nursing Research Conference in London. Kerrie describes her time at Oxford as a very busy time spent in the library an awful lot; she relished the one or two days she had off where she was able to relax and go and see a film. Thanks to the Roberta Sykes and Charles Perkins Scholarship programs, there is now quite a cohort of Indigenous students undertaking postgraduate degrees at both Oxford and Cambridge. Kerrie felt that this has created a wonderfully supportive network of students, and whilst she was at Oxford, she was ‘Aunty’ to many of them.
Adam Frogley, National Indigenous Coordinator
Kerrie is one of four Indigenous students to graduate through these scholarship programs this year (Greg Lehman and Krystal Lockwood will graduate with a Masters in History of Art and Visual Culture and a Masters in Criminology & Criminal Justice respectively from Oxford, and Lilly Brown graduated with a Masters of Philosophy in Politics from Cambridge) and knows that the others coming through now will also be successful.
Further information available at
Celeste Liddle, National Indigenous Organiser
Photo courtesy of Michelle McAulay, UC
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Campaiging for the smart vote
Photo: NTEU Vote Smart posters, Melbourne.
On 7 September 2013, the change of government came to pass. The Federal Election outcome was disappointing but not surprising. For those of us in the higher education sector, there was no joy in seeing the decline of the Labor Government after two terms of what felt like wasted opportunities and unfulfilled promises. The disappointment in the outcome was strong despite the anger and frustration felt by many at the erratic decision making of the Gillard Government, and led the Union to campaign in the election in a more direct way than ever before.
Matt McGowan National Assistant Secretary
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The Union’s campaign was designed to highlight the issues affecting universities through advocacy for the Greens in the Senate, Independent Andrew Wilkie in the seat of Denison, and Greens candidate Adam Bandt in the seat of Melbourne. The decision to run this campaign was contentious, and a Special Nation Council Meeting (16-18 June, 2013) was convened to debate the campaign strategy, and was addressed by the then Minister, Dr Craig Emerson. Television advertisements depicting students sitting on each other’s shoulders highlighting that class sizes have almost doubled over a generation became the centre piece of the advertising campaign. While there were members who held reservations about the focus of the campaign, the message of the advertising was almost universally acknowledged as effective. The Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s Fact Checker, an online service that evaluated the legitimacy of claims made by those engaged in the Federal Election, also considered the message of the ad to be accurate and gave it the thumbs up. Support for the messages of the campaign was demonstrated with over 600 members volunteering to directly work on the campaign, many of whom were new to union activism. Unfortunately, 45 members decided to resign from the NTEU as a direct result of the campaign.
While both major parties pointedly critical contests appeared to be waged, avoided mentioning universities during as well as a more economical expenditure the election campaign period, the Union than would have been possible in Melachieved significant media coverage of bourne or Sydney. funding and related issues throughout this period, and the issue was frequently raised by the candidates supported by NTEU. While it can hardly be claimed to be an election defining issue, the ALMOST Union’s campaign clearly raised the profile of our concerns about inadequate funding sufficiently to see journalists raising the issue independently, including on election night.
Most well-respected psephologists will attest to the difficulty in assessing the impact of particular election activities on the Senate vote. The NTEU campaign is no exception. However, it is clear that all bar one of the Senators the Union supported in this election have been elected, with the outcome for Scott Ludlum still in doubt and subject to a recount. In the House of Representatives significant swings in the primary votes accompanied the re-election of Andrew Wilkie in Denison (+14%) and Adam Bandt in Melbourne (+7%).
Both Adam Bandt and Andrew Wilkie addressed the NTEU’s National Council Meeting (3-5 October, 2013) following the Federal Election. It was clear from their presentations that they were both appreciative of the Union’s support and keen to bring university funding into the parliament as an important issue in the coming years. There is clearly work to be done to shift the view of the major parties about the
role of universities in our communities, and in Federal Budget priorities. We will be working to bring our issues to the attention of both the Government and the Opposition. We remain concerned about the agenda of the new Government, and we need to make Labor appreciate the damage they did to the sector, as well as recognising their achievements in government. (These issues are expanded upon by NTEU National President, Jeannie Rea on p.20.) The NTEU has always maintained a fiercely independent political position, acting on the facts at hand. We are not, and have never been, affiliated to any political party. However, independence should not mean that we sit on the fence when the interests of our members and the sector are threatened or affected by the Government, regardless of the flavour of that government. The true measure of our independence can be found in our willingness to consider, debate, and act on the particular circumstances we face. This is the message the Union and our members can now bring to the Parliament with the benefit of some strong advocates.
The $1 million allocated to the campaign was a significant sum for the Union, however, in electoral terms it was important to target our expenditure in places where we sought to make the most impact for the money available. As a result, the campaign was highly visible in Western Australia, South Australia, Tasmania, and in the seat of Melbourne in Victoria. However, with some exceptions, members in other parts of the country were not exposed to the full weight of the campaign. Different versions of the television ads were run in Perth, Adelaide, Hobart, Townsville, Mackay, Rockhampton, Darwin and Tamworth/Armidale with the expenditure heavily weighted toward Perth and Adelaide (view it online at vimeo.com/ nteutv/votesmart). This gave the Union the most impact in places where the more
Above: Scene from the NTEU’s Vote Smart television commercial. View online at vimeo.com/nteutv/votesmart. Below: Handing out Vote Smart material at a polling booth in Brisbane.
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NTEU and the making of public policy
Photo: WA students re-creating the NTEU’s Vote Smart advertising. Photo: Gabe Gooding
NTEU’s federal election campaign strategy was premised upon wanting to prevent Coalition control of the Senate, as the 2012 NTEU National Council Meeting had assumed that Labor would probably lose the 2013 election and agreed that a Coalition Government would be ‘disastrous’ for higher education. The objective of the consequent NTEU campaign was to defend the Greens’ balance of power in the Senate.
Jeannie Rea National President
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However, the election outcome has left the balance of power in the hands of Clive Palmer’s personal plaything, the Palmer United Party (PUP), along with several others whose politics are to the right of most of the Coalition. After next July when the new Senate commences, Prime Minister Tony Abbott will have to woo these new senators and, on some issues, seek Greens support to pass legislation. This scenario assumes that the ALP will operate as the ‘Opposition’ and always oppose Government legislation in both houses. However, Oppositions (too) often vote with the Government of the day. From the NTEU’s point of view the first test of Labor in Opposition is whether they will now oppose the legislation required to implement their $2.3 billion budget cuts to university and student funding. The legislation is currently mooted for the May 2014 session of Parliament, so if Labor voted with the Greens in the Senate, the legislation would be defeated. While, it wouldn’t stop the Coalition trying again and probably adding to the package of cuts, they will also have to persuade the PUP and the other new senators, who may have varying views. Remember, Palmer was critical of plans to strip universities to fund schools saying that they were ‘not the actions of a clever country’ and he also said that ‘the dream of higher education (should be) accessible to all.’
We should be heartened by Bill Shorten repeatedly saying in media interviews, after being chosen as the Leader of the Opposition, that under his leadership the ALP would be the party of ‘research, science, innovation and higher education’. He also said in an ABC TV 7.30 interview, ‘We will regain trust of people who used to vote for us or we’d like to have vote for us now by having policies which are relevant to the future of Australians’ lives.’ While some may accuse Labor of hypocrisy if they did now oppose the cuts they instigated, for many Labor supporters and many in the sector, opposing the cuts would signal the opposite. Labor’s record in Government of promising increased funding through their 2009 Transforming Higher Education policy and then reneging upon this with $4 billion of cuts since 2011 was hypocritical. Labor must act decisively to redeem its much touted reputation as the party for higher education. The Coalition went into the federal election without a detailed higher education policy, indicative of this not being a priority area, but it was, though, revealing of their policy agenda. The blithe pronouncements had sinister undertones. For example, the promise to ‘work with the sector to reduce the burden of red tape, regulation and reporting, freeing up the sector to concentrate on delivering results and services’ sounded rather good to a sector overwhelmed by complicated and contradictory compliance demands. However, the recent experience of universities and students with the Cameron Tory government in the UK should have silenced any the enthusiasm. In the UK, ‘reducing the burden of red tape’ has been used to justify wholesale cuts to universities, schools, health and welfare in the name of reducing unnecessary government expenditure and encouraging the development of ‘big society’ – meaning small government and compulsory volunteerism.1 The Coalition couldn’t even make it to the election without starting their attacks upon intellectual freedom. Two days before polling day they announced their intention to review research funding while taking a swipe at specific ARC funded projects. There is more to come.
The impact of government decisions The recent National Council agreed that the NTEU’s power and influence within and across the university sector depends upon continuing collective action in both the public policy and industrial sphere. We know only too well how Government decisions can very pointedly impact upon our industrial program. To put it bluntly, the effect of the $900 million ‘efficiency dividend’ included in the $2.3 billion cuts announced last April was to undermine our wage claims. The efficiency dividend undermined the impact of the much needed increased funding delivered through
more realistic and significantly improved indexation. Inadequate base funding per CSP student remains a critical issue. Despite the findings of two commissioned reviews; consistent and united lobbying from across the sector; clear analysis and evidence of the deleterious impacts of the funding gap; advertising campaigns; public meetings and rallies; advocates from outside the sector and even advocates within the party room, the Government decision makers would not budge. Instead, the Government became increasingly strident lurching from claiming they had increased base funding to denying the need for it. Labor made much of the success of their policy to increase the numbers and diversity of students in universities and did fund the increased enrolments resulting from their demand driven system policy. But they paid scant attention to very serious and increasingly obvious deterioration in student education and support due to the funding gap. At least they did budget for the increase in student enrolments with uncapping places. When Senator Carr became Minister for Higher Education in the last weeks of Labor in Government he ‘flew a kite’ on maybe putting the enrolment caps back. He was howled down. It is not at all surprising that new Coalition Minister Pyne has also flown that kite. However, Pyne is not just motivated by budget savings, but has already abandoned Labor’s equity and inclusion targets. However, the NTEU can intervene constructively in the enrolment caps debate. We have consistently expressed concern about a demand driven system and competition between universities leading to skewed enrolments with consequent impacts on sustainable planning, jobs and campus and course viability. We can advocate for some decent forward thinking and planning by universities on their expansion and contraction ambitions. After all it is the Union that has consistently argued for workforce planning rather than knee jerk reactions to budgetary shifts and predictions.
So what is to be done? So what should the NTEU do in this new political environment? How should we approach the Government, Opposition, minor parties and Independents? The NTEU does need to re-assess our approach to lobbying and advocacy. We have relied upon visiting parliamentarians at a national level and sometimes in their electorates to press the case on local and national issues. We have made very direct interventions on specific matters; often with some success particular on local matters. Every primer on how to influence parliament and government, insist on the importance of building relationships through direct
contact. Consequently, approaching parliamentarians back in their electorate is the key site for intervention. Whenever advice is sought from politicians and professional lobbyists, they advise finding a small group of champions amongst the parliamentarians, preferably from across the political spectrum, and then link them up. This not new advice, as I remember reading it in my sixth form politics textbook. We do have higher education champions who showed their mettle in the last Parliament. Independent member for Denison, Andrew Wilkie and Greens member for Melbourne, Adam Bandt were consistent advocates for higher education and against the cuts, which is why the NTEU supported them in the last election. Of course there have been many higher education advocates amongst the Labor members, and indeed the life changing possibilities with good education are fundamental to many of their political philosophies. Over the past few years many Labor members have assured us of their commitments to higher education and their support for NTEU positions and many are very knowledgeable about what is happening in universities in their electorates and to their student children. However, this support did not follow through when the crunch came and no Labor sitting members or candidates were prepared to publicly oppose the $2.3 billion cuts even though it would have been a populist move. But the political reality was that the Government was in a crisis of its own making. Internal relationships were highly toxic. However, Labor parliamentarians now have the opportunity to declare whether they will once again stand up for high quality, equitable mass higher education. The NTEU National Office will be initiating new and revitalising old, relationships with new and old allies and foes across the federal parliament over the next few months. The primers on influencing parliament and government all emphasise that lobbying is unlikely to have influence unless you have a public profile and public support. The NTEU does have long term relationships with allies in and outside the higher education sector and the labour movement. Mobilising these relationships in creative ways is the challenge now. The NTEU does, however, move into this new political environment with a high and positive public profile as a trade union and sector advocate that speaks and acts consistently for education rights and opportunities and social and economic justice for all. 1. Rea, J. (2013) ‘What will higher education look like under Pyne’, New Matilda, 4 Sept, newmatilda.com/2013/09/04/what-will-higher-ed-look-under-pyne
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Back to the future
Pyne pays homage to Vanstone The newly appointed Minister for Education, Christopher Pyne, seems intent on paying homage to his political mentor, Amanda Vanstone. In August 1996, as John Howard’s first Minister for Education, Vanstone slashed university operating grants by 5%, introduced differentiated (three tier) HECS fees, and removed the prohibition on full fee paying domestic undergraduate students. One week after being sworn in as the Minister for Education, what does Christopher Pyne do? He announces that he would conduct a review of the student demand driven system for allocating government supported university places to determine whether increasing enrolments were compromising the quality of education. Few in the sector really believed this was about quality, but a rather clumsy attempt to signal the Government’s intention to rein in higher education expenditure. Since the initial pronouncement, Pyne has been forced to clarify that the Coalition will not reimpose caps on the number of Commonwealth supported places (CSPs). No doubt, Tony Abbott was not keen on revisiting the whole core/non-core promise fiasco of the Howard years, especially given that Pyne had emphatically ruled out abolishing the cap on the number CSPs only two months earlier. However, not to be discouraged by the first slap-down, Pyne showed what a true ideological warrior he really is by announcing a plan to abolish the Student Services and Amenities Fee (SSAF), because it was nothing more than ‘compulsory unionism by the backdoor’. While Mr Pyne might be an expert on backdoor politics, he must have momentarily forgotten that many members of the National Party support the SSAF because it allows universities to provide essential services for regional students and at regional campuses. The effect of abolishing the SSAF would not save the Government one cent, but would cost universities about $150m a year. Therefore, for the second time in a couple
of days, the Prime Minister was forced to publicly reprimand his Education Minister who had clearly forgotten that the Government would be very busy and had more important priorities. Despite our fascination with Tony Abbott’s public chastisement of his Education Minister and ruling out any immediate cuts to higher education funding, we should not be lulled into a false sense of security and into thinking that Minister Pyne will not be looking seriously at where can achieve budget savings in relation to higher education. Perhaps the initial shots across the bow were meant to be nothing more than a distraction to keep the public debate on university funding away from the real level of funding per student. While Pyne might have ruled out a cap on student places he has already made it clear that he will introduce the legislation to proceed with the $2.3b cuts to higher education announced in April 2013. By proceeding with Labor’s cuts, the Coalition has already decided to implement a policy that will result in the level of real (inflation adjusted) public funding per CSP falling by $600 between 2012 and 2015. These are unlikely likely to be the only cuts to higher education over coming years, especially in the context of a government whose economic credibility will be assessed on its capacity to cut spending and bring the Budget back into surplus. Unfortunately for those of us involved in higher education, the current structure of funding makes it ripe for the picking when it comes to budgetary savings. Finance Ministers and Treasurers don’t like signing blank cheques, which is exactly what the demand driven system is in their eyes. The impact of this on university funding was confirmed by Dr Craig Emerson, then Minister for Tertiary Education, at the NTEU Special National Council in June 2013. Emerson made it clear that the primary reason for the $900m efficiency dividend to university funding was because of what he described as a $340m ‘hit’ to the Budget, because of higher than expected CSP enrolments. The financial sustainability of higher education funding will remain an issue under the demand driven system of allocating university places.
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NTEU anti-Vanstone protester, 1996 The other reason for believing that the Coalition Government has not ruled out the possibility of re-imposing caps on the number of CSPs is because in the same press release in August this year where Pyne made it clear that the ‘Coalition will not cap places or raise HECS’. He also said that the Coalition was the only party that supported ‘bringing back full fee paying places for Australian domestic students’. Unless the Coalition is prepared to, in effect, totally deregulate the number of places and fees universities can charge domestic undergraduate students, it will need to impose a cap on the number of CSPs for its full fee policy to work. The deregulation of fees and increasing student contributions is made politically much more palatable because of Australia’s income contingent Higher Education Loans Program (HELP), whereby students borrow money to pay their university fees from the Government but only need to repay it, if and when, they earn sufficient income. HELP is not only very user friendly for students, it also has the massive advantage from the Governments perspective that the loans it makes to students do not count as expenditure (because they are expected to be repaid) and therefore does not add to the Budget bottom line. No one in the sector should rule out the possibility that Christopher Pyne will try to emulate one of Amanda Vanstone’s other policy outcomes in relation to higher education and that is to significantly shift the cost burden away from the Commonwealth and onto the students by increasing HECS and reducing government contributions. Under the Vanstone changes to HECS the average student contribution doubled from 20% to 40%. Paul Kniest, Policy & Research Coordinator
And the winner is... University ranking season is heralded by a flourish of media releases and stories about how individual universities or countries faired in the latest international university league tables. On the release of the Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings, in early October, the Innovative Research Universities (IRU) media release proudly announced that all of its seven members had been ranked in two out of three of the most important rankings, the other two being the Jiao Tong University, Shanghai, Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) and Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University Rankings. Perhaps a more interesting story might be why Newcastle was the only IRU university to be ranked in all three? By contrast, Professor Glynn Davis lamented that while the University of Melbourne was the highest ranked Australian university (at 34) in the THE rankings for 2013, it had fallen from 28th in 2012. Meanwhile, ANU plummeted from 37 to 48. In an email to Melbourne University staff, Professor Davis suggested that the negative press surrounding the $2.3 billion cuts to university finding announced in April this year might have affected how the international higher education community perceive Australian higher education Now that the most important international university rankings have been released for 2013 we can announce that the winner is … (pause to allow for fumbling of and opening of envelope) … the international ranking agencies and the higher education media!
Oversimplification In a comprehensive review of a range of university ranking systems (including the three mentioned above) a series of European University Association reports, Global University Rankings and Their Impact, conclude that rankings provide an oversimplified picture of the role and functions
of universities and that in a number of cases the indicators included are susceptible to manipulation by institutions. Given this and many other damning critiques of international university rankings, we should question why their influence continues to grow. Despite the numerous cautionary tales about the dangers (or stupidity) of trying to reduce the quality of the research, teaching and community engagement undertaken by complex organisations like universities to a single summary statistic, the fascination with the rankings continues. Jens Oddershede, President of the University of Southern Denmark was probably on the mark when he wrote in a recent piece for The Conversation that ‘rankings appeal because they appear to offer the publisher a simple objective measure they can use to cut through the hype.’ Oddershede’s view is reinforced by the following comment from Julie Hare (Higher Education editor, The Australian) on the release of QS rankings: ‘Is 33 out of 40 in a world league table a good thing or just a load of codswallop? We love ‘em anyway: Rankings season is upon us.’ (High Wire, 10 September 2013) A lack of understanding as to what the rankings mean or why some universities are excluded or why others have risen or fallen in the rankings is clearly not an impediment to writing a story about them. The fact that rankings are out and that some universities missed out and others moved up or down the league ladder is ‘the story’. To give Julie Hare her due, she followed with an analytical piece that demonstrated that the one single factor dragging Australian universities down in the QS rankings was high student to staff ratios.
nature of any ranking system, which are reduced to league tables is that someone will always be some ranked number one or in the top 100. Inevitably, there will also be some movement in rankings from year to year, because if this didn’t happen the agencies business model would breakdown in a hurry. In other words, there will always be winners and losers. Universities that are the winners will clearly appreciate the inherent beauty in the simplicity of the rankings, not least because they present an irresistible marketing opportunity, which cuts through all of the (the difficult) hype. Universities that don’t do so well are more prone to see the inherent weaknesses in the whole ratings game and either ignore them or add their weight to chorus of critique. Post Script: Just to prove how silly the ranking season can get, and that in fact it provides little more than fodder for the higher education press, on Friday 11 October 2013 the Higher Education section of The Australian posted two stories on the release of the National Taiwan University’s Ranking of Scientific Papers for World Universities. One story, by John Ross, had the title ‘Locals rise in scientific paper rankings’, while a High Wired blog by Julie Hare went under the banner ‘Down, down, deeper down’. Paul Kniest, Policy & Research Coordinator
Beauty contest Another reason that the rankings/league tables have gained such prominence in recent years is that, like beauty, their qualities are in the eyes of the beholder. The NTEU ADVOCATE • vol. 20 no. 3 • November 2013 • www.nteu.org.au/advocate • page 23
SSAF funds services Our Minister for Education Christopher Pyne should keep up with the needs of current students. While politicians continue to fight the ideological battles that hail from their student politics days, we have moved on. The average student at university wants a vibrant campus culture beyond the classroom and support for educational and social activities that cater to our need for flexibility. It is crucial to understand the impact of Voluntary Student Unionism (VSU) on student life after a longstanding period of Universal Student Unionism (USU). Ultimately, the era of the Student Services and Amenities (SSAF) fee has signalled a move beyond the traditional ‘VSU versus USU’ debate and introduced new complexities in the arguments for funding to student services. The Howard Government’s legislation to prohibit universities charging a General Services Fee (GSF) marked a breaking point in the history of student life, unionism, activism and overall campus culture at Australian universities. The GSF was part of the fabric of higher education. Its axing was the single ever biggest attack on the student voice and control of student affairs. Student-controlled services lost approximately $900 million in funding between 2006-2011 and those student organisations that survived were propped up by their respective universities, often from teaching and research budgets. Many services were shut down or transitioned from the student organisations to being university-controlled. A strong and well-funded university life outside the classroom needs to become part of our culture once again. It is philosophically and pragmatically important for all students to benefit from student-run service provision on campus and a vibrant campus culture. Ideally we would see USU returned to our universities to strengthen student unions and to return to them their independent voice and the control over
services they deserve. The National Union of Students (NUS) and progressive student organisations will always argue in favour of this, but the SSAF is far from USU. The SSAF is not ‘student unionism by the back door’, as Pyne would have us believe. We are still in a period of VSU, but with a separate services fee collected by universities. If the SSAF really was student unionism as Pyne has stated, there would be mandated funding for student organisations in place of the explicit provision that no such mandated funds are allowed, and student organisations would not have to ask their university for their proportion of the SSAF during consultations, or battle it out with other service providers for their services to have continued funding. Pyne’s argument is also a slap in the face for student organisations that are still struggling to secure funding agreements for income to run the basics for students. The SSAF itself is flawed in that it greatly jeopardises the independence of student organisations and does not allow for minimum mandated funding for student-controlled services, but it has injected much-needed funds back into the starved area of campus life. Like USU, the SSAF recognises the importance of supporting student life outside the classroom. It was in essence a form of recognition of the damage the Howard era had done to campus culture. Through SSAF, the Labor Government in 2011 attempted to ameliorate this and it succeeded in some respects. Even in the short space of time since its introduction, the SSAF has resulted in the re-birth of student publications, seen an exponential growth in sporting and social clubs and societies, advocacy, health, welfare and legal services, second-hand book shops, food and beverage options and infrastructure. Another significant difference between USU and the SSAF is that SSAF can be deferred through SA-HELP in a similar way to HECS, and it therefore saves students the burden of upfront costs in already tight financial circumstances. The SSAF is also one of the cheapest university student services fees amongst comparable education systems. We are now in a period where universities are struggling to create the ‘sticky campus’ and an increasingly diverse cohort of students is seeking support through their studies, and life outside their
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classroom to develop leadership skills and graduate attributes. The benefits of the SSAF outweigh the deferrable cost. Those opposed to the SSAF burden this issue with ideological chains, arguing students should have the ‘freedom to associate’ and choose and pay for the services they need on campus. This argument ignores the reality that some students need more support than others, especially in an uncapped system of places where background and circumstance may present barriers to successful participation. Students do not have the freedom to choose when they need the support of student organisations and university services. For example, at my home university, the legal service had to be shut down under VSU due to lack of funding. Students could no longer access free legal advice, even when they desperately needed it. Under SSAF this free legal service has returned and is in high demand. Ultimately, services that student organisations and universities provide have also taken some of the burden off students and families through the provision of subsidised childcare, textbooks and other standards requirements. In September, Pyne declared war on the SSAF. He vowed to remove it, and said this could happen from as early as next year. It only took a day for Abbott to reign in his statement by claiming it was not a priority. One does not have to read between the lines too much to realise that ‘not a priority’ means it is on the Coalition’s ‘to do’ list. There is no room for further cuts to be made to universities and removing the SSAF would further constrain university budgets as they divert funds to save campus life in what would be round two. When this government has promised to make $2.3 billion worth of cuts to higher education, Christopher Pyne should take heed of this fact. The provision of basic services on campus and funding for student organisations to provide them should go beyond reigniting old ideological battles. If the SSAF was removed, not only would this ignore the devastating impact VSU has had on university life and the positive impact the SSAF has had in a VSU environment, it would ignore the needs of universities and students for increased funding inside and outside the classroom. Jade Tyrell, NUS President
PM greeted by masks of fired uni staff Greek PM Antonis Samaras was supposed to meet the happy faces of a ‘success story’ in front of the National Archaeological Museum. Instead he met the masks of the fired employees of Greek universities. Samaras was attending the opening of a cultural exhibition. Hundreds of fired employees, together with leaders of the unions of employees, professors and students of the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA) and the University of Athens (UOA), wearing white masks, silently encircled the yard in front of the Museum during the opening ceremony. Employees of the Ministry of Culture were also there. The peaceful event was organised to honour the archaeologists, Ministry of Culture employees, the artists, and all the people who strive under the crisis to keep education, health and culture alive, wrote a NTUA academic. Austerity measures demanded by the EU, IMF and European Central Bank have pushed Greece’s universities to the point of collapse. The University of Athens recently announced it could no longer function because of enforced staff cuts. University administrative staff are included in the so called mobility scheme affecting
over 25,000 civil servants who have had their pay cut and will ‘be culled’ if they cannot find another position by the end of the year. In a letter to the prime minister the president of the Federation of University Teachers, Stathis Efstathopoulos, wrote: ‘With great angst we have ascertained that with the government’s decision to place specialist and much valued administrative staff into the mobility scheme our universities are at risk of collapse. ‘Even if we accept that we have a surplus of personnel we cannot, from one day to the next, operate with 40% less staff. In order to function, the University of Athens has to be supported with the staff to run eight libraries, 174 laboratories, 66 uni-
versity clinics established at the biggest hospitals and 18 museums. As a result it would neither be able to register students, already gathered for the start of the new academic year, conduct postgraduate courses or release exam scores. ‘Athens University faces the biggest crisis in its history. It is very likely we will lose the next six months … but the bigger issue is that we don’t lose the university altogether,’ he said. It has also been reported that many researchers are believed to have been recruited as administrative staff because of previous funding cuts. Sources: NTUA academic forum; Helena Smith, theguardian.com, 26.10.13
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A cash cow approach to funding Christopher Pyne has had a busy couple of months as the new Minister for Education. However, despite being slapped down in relation to capping of university places and the Student Services Amenities Fee (SSAF), he has found a mission he can run with: international education. Put simply, the Minister is of the view that we need more international students and we need them now.
‘Excellent!’, cries the sector (particularly the non-university providers). Education agents are over the moon. And for the Government – well, it’s a solution worthy of Sir Humphrey Appleby – more dollars for that annoyingly raucous higher education sector that won’t impact on the Federal Budget bottom line. Everyone is a winner... at least on the surface. However, like every Yes, Minister plot there’s a very predictable danger that things will go pear shaped, and a few are pointing at some not so hidden pitfalls in the re-opening of the international education market flood gates. Caution is not the line being pushed by the majority of the sector, but one that is, nonetheless, very much needed when reviewing international education policy.
Photo: Erik de Graaf
Terri MacDonald Policy & Research Officer
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The danger comes when you view international students as income, rather than, well, as students. On the face of it international student income is great – in addition to all of the so-called soft diplomacy and internationalisation of curricula (minor details), it subsides domestic teaching and research to a considerable extent, diversifying (as many would see it) the revenue base of our universities and sustaining a multi-billion dollar export
industry that employs literally hundreds of thousands of people, keeping the Australian economy ticking along. Dealing with international students as students, however, is problematic – issues arise such as the need for affordable and safe housing, access to health services and support for the families of international students (such as schooling for dependents). This is coupled with difficulties arising from varying levels of English language comprehension and literacy, cultural differences and – almost above all – the need for many students to work long hours in poorly paid and exploitative jobs to support themselves and any dependents they may be responsible for, and/or to pay back huge student loans back home.
Thus far, the Minister is trying to play it both ways – while acknowledging the past abuses of the system, he has been critical of the previous Government’s attempts to remedy these problems
These are all complex issues and are not dealt with well by either the education sector or by government. Yet these issues impact upon both the quality and success of the education experience for international students and create significant workload issues for the staff who teach and support them. The Minister appears to think that the system is ‘broken’, a viewpoint pushed strongly by the non-university education providers. Both the Minister and much of the sector cite the fall in international student numbers from its historical peak between 2007–2009. At the recent Australian International Education Conference, the Minister told delegates that Labor had presided over a decline in education exports from $18.6 billion in 2009 to a little more than $14 billion last year. While on the surface this would appear concerning, the reality is that it is misleading to measure the health of the international education market in the rise and/or fall of income alone. Indeed, while there was a fall in numbers from 2009, the revenue universities received from overseas student fees continued to grow, albeit at a slower rate than preceding period.
have not recovered so well in the recent gains, due to a number of factors, and are now leading the charge in calling for the new Minister to act. Aside from the impact of the Global Financial Crisis and the associated high Australian dollar, the major reason for the post-2009 decrease in international student numbers and revenue was related to Government policy. One of the important changes made to higher education under the previous Labor Government was to remove the direct link between tertiary education (certificate level and above) and permanent residency, which had seen many foreign students flock into very low level, low end of the market vocational diplomas, often offered by less than reputable private providers. It also led to a growth in disreputable education and immigration agents, creating within the sector a sub-level of pseudo-courses chronically afflicted with infrastructure problems and exploited staff and students. Poor regulation saw overnight providers prone to collapse, leaving students with little recourse and no refunds. In short, Australia’s reputation as a quality provider of education was under severe threat and the Government had no option but to attempt clean up the sector, especially of those providers there were in effect selling permanent residency and not education.
Turbo-charging the sector Thus far, the Minister is trying to play it both ways – while acknowledging the past abuses of the system, he has been critical of the previous Government’s attempts to remedy these problems, saying that ‘... Labor used a sledgehammer to break a walnut’. He also returns to the issue of ‘quality’, stating that he doesn’t ‘want to go back to a situation where people lose faith in the quality of education in Australia.’ Instead, the Minister enthusiastically plans to (as Universities Australia succinctly phrased it in their media release) ‘turbo-charge’ international education and, while we are short on the details of just what this means, the sector seems very happy about it.
Ebb and flow
What is worrying, however, is that few are asking questions about what happens to the students who arrive here. The sector is avoiding calling the Government on what is essentially a blatant cash grab to void the need to increase public funding of universities in line with levels of other industrialised countries.
With significant increases in university-bound international student numbers in the last two years it appears that universities are well positioned to make gains in the market. However, it is correct to also say that the fall in numbers have impacted on the income levels of the private and non-university providers. These providers
Instead, it seems that the prevailing view that it is okay to let the Government off the hook of their responsibilities to universities and students and accept that this is a convenient way to plug a funding gap, and the realities of teaching and supporting international students themselves are just the minor details.
Forrests donate $65m to UWA It was recently announced that mining billionaire Andrew Forrest and his wife Nicola will donate $65 million to the University of Western Australia, the largest gift ever made to Australian higher education. The bulk of the funds will be used to fund 25 international PhD students and six post-graduate researchers a year, to be known as Forrest scholars and fellows. The further $15 million will be used to construct their accommodation at Forrest Hall. The accolades flowed from politicians and the university sector hailing the generosity of Forrest’s donation. Comments were made about how this sets an example for other potential philanthropists. It was timed most conveniently alongside the new Coalition Government encouraging universities to look to alternate private funding sources, in lieu of government funds. On being questioned as to whether this philanthropy may let the government off the hook, Universities Australia argued that it would assist in leveraging for more public funding. The NTEU was less sanguine with National President Jeannie Rea commenting that it is the responsibility of government to fund public universities. She also noted wryly that if Mr Forrest paid a higher rate of tax more commensurate with his profit levels, there would be more public money to allocate to universities and other public services. ‘The notion of funding universities through the largesse of private interests is quite unrealistic in Australia in the 21st century. Universities of higher status and a longer list of financially successfully alumni are more likely to attract these donations, adding to inequities across universities. ‘And there are always concerns that private funders may also be keen to have a large say on what ‘their’ money is spent on, which undermines the independence of universities to ask the hard questions and undertake cutting edge education and research.’ Sources: The Australian Financial Review, universityworldnews.com
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No more blue skies? Dark clouds threaten Canada’s scientists and academic researchers In 1869, the famed Irish physicist John Tyndall posed a basic but surprisingly elusive scientific question: why is the sky blue? In searching for an explanation, Tyndall discovered that light is scattered in the atmosphere by dust and large air molecules in a way that causes the eye to see the colour blue. His discovery of these properties of light eventually led to the later development of a number of important but wholly unanticipated innovations, including lasers and fibre optics.
David Robinson Associate Executive Director Canadian Association of University Teachers
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Today, ‘blue sky research’ is a term often used to describe basic science. It reflects the lesson learned from Tyndall that major scientific discoveries most often emerge from what scientists believe are important questions to explore no matter how trivial or irrelevant they may seem, rather than from the goals and directives set by governments, industry or other outside interests. Basic scientific research routinely challenges accepted thinking, leading to fundamental paradigm shifts and unexpected innovations of great importance. From the discovery of x-rays and nylon to superconductivity, medical imaging, computers and GPSs, it is clear that true scientific progress is driven by basic research without specific outcomes or applications in mind. Unfortunately, this important lesson has been lost on the current Canadian government. Since the election of Stephen Harper’s Conservative Party in 2006, government policy has put scientists and academic researchers under tightening pressure. While publicly affirming the importance and the benefits of investments in public research, the Harper government has displayed a disturbing pattern of distrust and open hostility toward science. Promoting rapid resource development, particularly in the controversial tar sands of Alberta, is the Government’s overriding priority despite serious environmental
concerns raised by scientists. Not surprisingly given Harper once referred to climate change as a ‘socialist conspiracy’, one of the early casualties of the Conservative government was the Canada Foundation for Climate and Atmospheric Science which had provided funding for scientists investigating the causes and effects of global warming. All federal funding for the Foundation was eliminated. The government has increasingly muzzled its own scientists who might dare speak truth to power. Government researchers across all departments and agencies are now prevented from speaking to the media or publishing their research without prior approval from their political masters. In a particularly shocking radio interview, the federal Minister of State for Science and Technology, Greg Rickford, refused on three separate occasions to answer to the allegation of whether federal scientists are banned from using the word ‘carbon’. Rickford recently issued a fund-raising letter that labelled a group of senior scientists fighting to save the internationally renowned Experimental Lakes Area (ELA) from a government shutdown as ‘radical extremists’, a term normally reserved for terrorists. The ELA is a unique and vast living laboratory in Northern Ontario – ironically in Rickford’s federal riding (electorate) – that allows researchers from around the world to monitor the impact and recovery of fresh water eco-systems exposed to industrial toxins and by-products. These and numerous other attempts by the government to tighten the screws on scientific research and information have generated international condemnation. Nature magazine called Canada’s muzzling of scientists an affront to the free flow of scientific knowledge. A harshly worded editorial in the New York Times suggested that even the well documented hostility toward science displayed by the administration of George W. Bush did not come close to what is happening today in Canada. The Government’s attack on science doesn’t end there. The Conservatives have also significantly cut funding for basic research. When adjusted for inflation, the three federal research granting councils which provide the bulk of university research funding have had their base budgets eroded over the past six years. Since 2007-08, funding for the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) has declined by over 10% in real terms. The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council’s (NSERC) funding is down by over 6%, while core support for the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) has dropped by 7.5%. As a result, the number of university-based research projects deemed to merit research but for
which no funding is available has risen sharply. Last year alone, 65% of all CIHR applications were recommended for funding, but only 9% were able to be funded. Meanwhile, new research funding is contingent on serving industrial and commercial interests. A new ‘strategic partnerships and innovation’ program in NSERC unapologetically describes its mandate as ‘helping to organise ‘speed dating’ events to bring interested researchers and companies into brief and structured contact to discuss needs and capabilities.’ Earlier this year, the government announced that it is turning Canada’s renowned National Research Council (NRC) into a ‘concierge’ for industry. Established in 1916 to conduct basic research, the NRC is being transformed into a call centre for industry, a ‘one-stop, 1-800, I have a solution for your business problem’ telephone hot line, according to the Minister. No one is suggesting that the government not fund applied research. However, this should not come at the expense of basic, blue-skies research. A narrow focus on commercial outcomes threatens the creativity and unexpected discovery fundamental to basic research. It also distorts the focus of scientific investigation. In the area of medical research, for instance, the obsession with commercial outcomes has encouraged an emphasis on minor modifications to existing drugs and devices, rather than fundamental explorations of illness and prevention. Canada’s scientists, academic researchers and the public deserve better. The Canadian Association of University Teachers has launched a national campaign, Get Science Right (www.getscienceright.ca), to bring scientists and the public together through a series of town hall meetings to discuss what the Government’s polices toward science mean and what needs to be done to restore the integrity and independence of science. Australians should take heed of the mistakes being made in Canada. For today’s Tyndalls, asking fundamental scientific questions like why the sky is blue is getting little reception in our corporate boardrooms or corridors of government power. For that, all Canadians are paying the price. David Robinson is a special advisor to Education International on higher and vocational education.
UCU report slams misuse of REF In the UK, findings from a Universities College Union (UCU) survey found that more than 10% of academics at eight particular universities were told by their institutions that failure to meet research performance expectations for the Research Excellence Framework (REF) would lead to redundancy. The eight institutions include prominent universities such as City University London and Queen’s University Belfast. The worst institutions were Middlesex University and University of Leicester where over 1 in 5 said they had been told they would face redundancy. The survey, with over 7,000 respondents, also found that one in two academics surveyed feared losing their jobs if they failed to meet REF criteria. The report’s findings mirror the concerns highlighted in the NTEU’s report about the implications of the Excellence in Reasearch Australia (ERA) and research performance expectations for Australian researchers. The UCU report portrays institutional responses to the REF as inconsistent and lacking transparency. University sanctions against staff were characterised as punitive and having some extremely detrimental career implications. The report highlights that performance requirements impacted more heavily upon academics who were female, black, LGBT, disabled or from ethnic minorities. The UCU have established a campaign called REF Watch, similar to the NTEU’s own ERA Watch campaign in this important areas of professional interest. ref.web.ucu.org.uk
www.caut.ca David Robinson will visit Melbourne in December to attend an NTEU seminar.
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Australian Universities’ Review
Uni’s are important! The Federal Election has come and gone, and we wonder in what directions tertiary education will be pushed during the life of the new Coalition Government. There has already been a reconfiguration of departments, and tertiary education has been reunited with the rest of education, currently under the watch of education denier Christopher ‘back to basics’ Pyne. There did seem to be something going for a model that had universities in with research, science and innovation. And the interesting former departmental acronym sounded something like ‘dessert’. Whatever else happens, it seems unlikely that universities will be provided with enough funding to do what Australia needs universities to do. This underfunding will mean more casualisation, more pressure on university staff and even more reliance on student fee income. What a shame that universities were ever pushed
Since 1958, the Australian Universities’ Review has been encouraging debate and discussion about issues in higher education and its contribution to Australian public life.
into their current state of penury. One is saddened to remember that it started with some fuzzy Labor thinking in the 90s, when Simon Crean refused universities indexation payments for cost increases that were beyond their control. How convenient for the first Howard and subsequent governments to continue Labor’s policy! But the first Rudd Government put indexation back/
backgrounds, while another looks at students seeking help for mental health issues.
Other papers look at staff related issues: the precarious situation of casual staff, a major growth area of Australian higher education, and the situation for the women in the academy are considered. International issues are tackled, specifically staff mobility and joint venture universities. According to the thinking of recent years, Other articles look at TEQSA and MOOCs, those with the say have decided that and the hypothetical impact of a merger funds that might previously have gone of the major research universities. Colto universities (or hospitals, or welfare leagues from Malaysia provide perspecagencies) should be diverted to more tives on academic rights and industry-drivimportant purposes, en universities in such as funding their country. And parliamentarians more! ...funds that might attendance at mates’ Several issues of AUR previously have gone to weddings, taking have given the last universities... should be the missus to buy word to Richard Hil, diverted to more important a pied à terre in previously known as the tropics, or for purposes, such as funding Joseph Gora. Richard covering flights and parliamentarians attendance has the knack of accommodation at mates’ weddings, taking being able to satirise when competing the unfortunate the missus to buy a pied à in fun runs, etc. You direction Australian terre in the tropics... have to get your higher education priorities right. For has taken. This time, every trough, a he suggests a TV snout! game show during which vice-chancellors Back in the real world, Australian Univercan ‘face off in the quest to become the sities’ Review (AUR) provides a biannual nation’s most ruthless tertiary head’. Don’t reminder that universities are important. laugh; many ridiculous things have hapThe current issue, vol. 55, no. 2, presents pened in universities in recent years. papers that expose the environment in Ian R. Dobson, Editor, AUR which universities must exist. Universities’ The latest issue of AUR is online at main raw material is their students, and one paper tackles issues on retention of www.aur.org.au students from low socioeconomic status
vol. 54, no. 2, 201 2
Published by NTEU
ISSN 0818– 8068
Australia n Unive rsities’R eview
AUR is listed on the DEEWR register of refereed journals.
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Want to receive your own copy of AUR? AUR is published twice a year by the NTEU. NTEU members are entitled to receive a free subscription on an opt-in basis – so you need to let us know. If you are an NTEU member and would like to receive AUR, please email email@example.com
SA hosts General Staff Conference
Other topics include exploring exactly who are the General Staff in universities. By examining the official employment data the complexity and breadth of occupations is made apparent along with the employment patterns and arrangements. There are also the issues of professional identity and of the emerging ‘third space’, but then on the other hand dealing with working environments and jobs that seem to have changed little in decades except for new technologies. The particular challenges for Indigenous general staff will be identified and discussed. Gender issues will figure prominently as women general staff, while being a majority, still do not have overall employment equity. The stress and strain of working for ‘greedy’ institutions will be discussed and we will remember to observe Go Home On Time day in November. And, finally, what are the key challenges over the next few years for general staff.
A two-day conference presented by the NTEU. Guest speakers, plenaries, discussions and workshops covering issues important to general staff in Australian higher education. Workloads
ER E H
Tuesday 5 & Wednesday 6 November
The purpose of the conference is to explore continuity and change for General Staff as we continue to undergo massive growth and change in higher education. The conference will focus upon concrete issues of career development and job security, and include an intensive workshop on the classification descriptors particularly pertinent in view of the 2014 Review of Modern Awards.
Delegates from NTEU Branches across the country are gathering at the University of Adelaide on 5 and 6 November for the National NTEU General Staff Conference. SA general staff* members are also participating, having the advantage of the conference being in their State.
University of Adelaide Napier Bldg, Theatre LG29
FREE TO NTEU MEMBERS! For more information or to register
nteu.org.au/general_staff_conference_2013 NationalTertiaryEducationUnion @NTEUNational #genstaff13
Along with drawing upon the expertise and experiences of NTEU elected representatives and staff, members and others with particular knowledge and research will be represented on panels. These include Dr Ian Dobson (University of Ballarat), Professor Sandra Jones (RMIT), Professor Glenda Strachan (Griffith), Professor Suzanne Franzway (UNISA), Professor Tony Winfield (UniSA) and Dr Maree Conway (HE consultant, Thinking Futures).
For more information please visit to the conference website: www.nteu.org.au/general_staff_ conference_2013 *General Staff are called Professional Staff at all three South Australian universities, as well as at some other universities. This remains a bit of an issue in correct nomenclature! Jeannie Rea, National President
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Tailored or Taylorised education? If we are to believe the current hype about Massive Open Online Courses (or MOOCs), we should be excited. Touted as the next ‘online revolution’, MOOCs are purportedly a democratising innovation that will extend the opportunity for higher education to ‘a global community of learners’.
Sarah Gregson Branch President UNSW
Cutting through the spin While few would contest that the cost of university education for most students is far too high and that students living remotely from major campuses get a raw deal, it is not at all clear at this stage whether the bargain-basement online educational delivery offered by MOOCs is ever likely to be a worthy alternative. At this year’s NTEU National Council in Melbourne, delegates attended a workshop led by the National President Jeannie Rea on MOOCs to discuss what we can glean from the early data about how this educational product is being developed, delivered and experienced. Although MOOCs are still an emergent trend in higher education, we wanted to find ways of separating the hyperbole from the reality. In a nutshell, learning provider companies, like the sector leaders Coursera and Udacity, have partnered with the commercial arms of hundreds of universities to set up platforms for the delivery of online learning modules (MOOCs) so that, it is claimed, ‘anyone anywhere anytime can access high quality education at no or low cost’. Academics, perhaps wooed by extra cash or the dizzying prospect of becoming an online global ‘star’ for millions of students, are recruited to develop MOOCs
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and administer them online. Proponents promise high quality course content that has been sourced from academics working in leading institutions around the world, as well as a high level of online interaction between instructors and students. The pathway towards MOOCs has, of course, been paved over decades by government abdication from any social responsibility to properly fund higher education or support students, thereby placing increasing budget pressures on universities to increase fees and on students and their families to pay them. As heightened rivalry between universities becomes the norm, university managements scour the globe looking for new markets and the next competitive edge. At the same time, fewer students are able to allocate years to study at university without earning an income, so an average full-time undergraduate or postgraduate Australian university student works approximately 15 hours per week (Devlin et al., 2008:117). Then, like the circus conjurors of old, watch Chancellery managements turn a necessity into a virtue! ‘Time poor’ students, doubters are assured, now prefer online learning because it fits into their busy schedules and allows them to consume education when it suits them.
Passive learning That said, behind the shiny figures suggesting ‘potential markets’ that attract cash-hungry vice-chancellors – millions of students in hundreds of countries doing staggering numbers of courses, with new ones coming online all the time – there is a massive and relatively consistent dropout rate. At the NTEU workshop, Professor Stuart Bunt questioned whether ‘passive’, rather than ‘massive’, might better describe the Coursera student ‘body’ to date. Using a fairly typical example from UWA where 964 students registered for a MOOC called ‘Ocean Solutions’, Professor Bunt said only 500 actually watched the videos in the first week and then only 50 were still logging in 10 weeks later. He likened the ‘potential’ audience for MOOCs to the millions who might surf the internet and watch cute kitten Youtubes. So, while the MOOC numbers look impressive at first glance, they are virtually meaningless in terms of real student engagement.
Our concerns As a Union that advocates both quality education and good working conditions for its members, the NTEU is concerned about several aspects of the MOOC agenda. Firstly, many MOOCs are openly sponsored by corporations and universities in partnership, where the prospect that investment sources might affect course content is a distinct risk. Corporate influence on education is, of course, not confined to MOOCs, but decent public funding is vital for the maintenance of a broader commitment to the social value of learning beyond commercial considerations and corporate ideology. Encouraging further business colonisation of the sector means students may soon be logging in to a McDonald’s-funded MOOC on Nutrition or a Philip Morris-funded MOOC on Public Health. Secondly, MOOCs could well become the ‘cheap seats’ of the higher education sector – a further reflection of a stratified, unequal sector where rich students receive personalised delivery, sophisticated content and the social benefits of learning with peers, while those who cannot afford this ‘luxury item’ will be relegated to a computer terminal at home with little interpersonal contact and fifteen-minute modules that contain lots of pictures and videos, but ultimately superficial subject matter. ‘There will always be a place for the Ivy League elite’, we are assured by Gallagher and Garrett (2013:6), ‘but this is a pipedream for the preponderance of students.’ Thirdly, MOOCs represent a fairly naked threat to the working conditions of existing and future higher education workers. Former McKinsey manager, Fairfax CEO and now UNSW Vice Chancellor, Fred Hilmer, once referred infamously to newspaper
journalists as ‘content providers’. How soon before today’s ‘academic online talent’ get dismissed in similar fashion?
MOOCs reality In a recent article ‘The professors behind the MOOC hype’, Steve Kolowich revealed the results of an online survey of academics working on MOOCS, conducted by The Chronicle in late February. Respondents said MOOCs required massive expenditures of time and effort. ‘Typically a professor spent over 100 hours on his [sic] MOOC before it even started, by recording online lecture videos and doing other preparation,’ Kolowich said. In addition, the survey found it takes approximately 8-10 hours per week to maintain and administer such a course, so the impact on an academic’s ‘normal’ workload and responsibilities was often severe.
In reality, MOOCs seem depressingly familiar – a dressed up form of taylorised education delivery that externalises many of the costs of learning onto the student and falsely equates efficiency and quality.
Even if the MOOC has been designed by a well-known leader in a particular field, once the ‘product’ has been launched online, it is likely that many academics will struggle to retain intellectual or even administrative control of their intellectual property (IP). Indeed, many major providers require academics to give up their IP rights over whatever MOOCs they develop. In addition, if a course requires more than computerised grading and peer assessment (many will not), marking will most likely be performed by an army of poorly-remunerated casuals. Critics of new management fads are always painted by advocates as hopelessly mired in the past, unable to see the promise or the inevitability of the shiny new thing. In reality, MOOCs seem depressingly familiar – a dressed up form of taylorised education delivery that externalises many of the costs of learning onto the student and falsely equates efficiency and quality. MOOCs risk becoming a vehicle for expanding the student cohort without giving them a key resource that normally comes with enrollment fees – space – space for learning, such as lecture theatres and libraries and space in which to build ‘real time’, face to face relationships. MOOCs, university proponents will argue, can become important ‘loss leaders’ that advertise the institution and its work, perhaps even tempting some students into further study on an actual campus.
Again, these discussions commonly take place in a rarefied atmosphere that takes little account of already burgeoning staff workloads and cramped facilities. My faculty, the Australian School of Business at UNSW, has just received $4 million for renovations to an existing building that will, we are advised, ‘flip the classroom’ by moving online material that has previously been delivered in lectures’ and by focusing in class time on problem solving, team work and group learning.’ It is not suggested that these classrooms will offer MOOC courses, and it is not even clear that MOOC students, potentially considered the ‘poor cousins’ of the sector, will be welcome on actual campuses, but plans like these to dramatically change the mode of educational delivery risk further expanding the spatial divide between academics and the students trying to learn from, and with, them. The trend provoked by casualisation that sees many students complete their entire degrees without ever coming into contact with a continuing academic staff member will only be exacerbated by MOOCs. Numerous student surveys reveal considerable frustration at the lack of ‘face time’ students can access with their teachers so it is hard to imagine MOOCstyle education will suddenly fill them with enthusiasm. We should not, nevertheless, automatically dismiss MOOCs as bound to fail or even necessarily low quality, but it is important to understand what is driving this trend in higher education and what will likely be the fallout. In order to succeed, MOOCs will need what all good educational outcomes require – a high and consistent level of resources, securely employed staff who have the time, energy, expertise and focus to engage well with class members and students, freed from money worries and excessive paid employment, who can concentrate on their studies and commit to learning. MOOC fans will say this horse has long since bolted and those of us who still think quality pedagogy requires time and space are hopelessly utopian, but if we do not retain some vision of what quality higher education should look like, this form of online ‘learning’ may well become just another sign that the real focus is on the price/cost of education and not its true value.
References Gallagher, S. & Garrett, G. (2013) Disruptive Education: Technology-Enabled Universities, United States Study Centre and the NSW Government. Devlin, M., James, R. & Grigg, G. (2008) ‘Studying and Working: A national study of student finances and student engagement’, Tertiary Education and Management, 14 (2), pp. 111-122.
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Photo: The Wollotuka Institute at the University of Newcastle, NSW. Photo by Celeste Liddle
Mainstreaming & the Whole-of-University Approach
At National Council 2013, the recommendations from the NTEU Indigenous Member Survey: Whole of University Approach to Indigenous Student Support report were passed unanimously. This report was many months in the making, and came about following a motion that was passed at National Council 2012 to survey Indigenous members on what appeared to be a number of mainstreaming activities that were afoot at universities across the country.
Celeste Liddle National Indigenous Organiser
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Accounts of mainstreaming In particular, anecdotal accounts had reached the Indigenous Policy Committee (IPC) that Indigenous student support services were being moved into mainstream areas of the universities. This was, in turn, limiting Indigenous student access to support, limiting Indigenous staff’s contact with students and diminishing the rights for Indigenous people to claim a space on campus. Further anecdotal evidence suggested that a number of academic programs were being subsumed into mainstream faculties and departments. Indigenous staff are reporting that mainstreaming of Indigenous knowledges has brought a good many Indigenous academic areas into question and also meant that enabling programs and Indigenous-specific modes of delivery are potentially under threat. However, all this was happening against a backdrop of Indigenous education reform. In 2012, the Review of Higher Education Access and Outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples was released. The Review was a highly comprehensive document, commissioned by the Government with the research headed up by Professor Larissa Behrendt of the University of Technology Sydney. There were 35 recommendations from this report; all geared to ensure greater access and outcomes for Indigenous students and staff. Of particular importance to Indigenous staff and centres was recommendation number 10, which states: ‘That universities develop a whole-of-university approach to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander success so that faculties and mainstream support services have primary responsibility for supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students, backed up by Indigenous Education Units.’ It is fairly clear from this recommendation that what is being called for is the end to ghettoisation of Indigenous support, recognising that all areas across the university need to participate in the nurturing of Indigenous students and the growing of capacity.
What it is not calling for, however, is the dissolving of current Indigenous Education Units. The report stated clearly that it was important that Indigenous centres remain on campus as they serve many important functions; not the least of which being that they provide a visible space for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people on a university campus. As stated though, the anecdotal evidence being heard by the National Indigenous Unit and the Indigenous Policy Committee was telling very different stories of how the universities were responding to this particular recommendation. It seemed that many staff were unsure of their futures, that centres seemed to be tenuous (or were being completely dissolved, as was the case at University of Sydney), and structures were continually being ‘reviewed’. To an extent, the survey conducted by the IPC and the National Indigenous Unit found these ideas reflected in the responses received.
Survey results From the outlook, the results from the members’ survey showed a very mixed response to the idea of ‘whole-of-university-approach’(WoUA). While most agreed that a WoUA would ultimately be of benefit to Indigenous staff and students they were also apprehensive of the impacts that this would have on staff and students. This was not a surprising result. Indigenous staff and students have been calling on universities for years to examine their internal cultures and see the many ways they are excluding First Peoples. Indigenous anything seems to be a marginalised activity at nearly every university and there have been calls for responsibility to be centralised for a long time now so that gains in Indigenous education form a part of the KPIs of upper management such as the Chancellery. Conversely, most Indigenous staff and students also feel that universities are not adequately knowledgeable to take up Indigenous Australian issues and pedagogies and hold fears that efforts will be half-hearted and/or tokenistic as has been the case in the past. It is clear that whilst Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff and students are keen to no longer be relegated within university structures to the wings, they also hold concerns about how universities will achieve these goals of inclusivity.
Lack of community engagement Of particular note amongst the results was the repeated suggestion that members felt their university needed to engage a lot more with community. It was reflected over and over again that members felt the universities did not actively engage with Indigenous community members, nor draw on the local knowledges that were available to them.
For this reason, documents such as Reconciliation Action Plans and Indigenous Employment strategies were often viewed as not worth the paper they were written on because whilst they stated intentions to engage, those engagements were limited to specific circumstances (Welcome to Country ceremonies for high-level events) and did not seem to translate to a broader and more innovative university engagement. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff were still finding it difficult to achieve a work/life balance because engagement with community was not seen as a valued part of their work, regardless of the benefits that this staff engagement might have for a university, particularly as a way of tearing down barriers between the institution and the community.
Negative aspects of WoUA Finally there were concerns that a WoUA might have a negative impact on staff progression through the sector. Whilst it was seen as positive that more funds were being directed to Indigenous staff professional development and progression, the unique skills that Indigenous staff bring to the academy were seen as being potentially undervalued within mainstream areas. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff have also been slightly more likely to be on permanent and fixed-term appointments and there was some concern that an increase in casualisation may occur via these mainstreaming exercises. At some institutions there are already incidences of 60% casualisation rates of academic staff, and an increase in Indigenous casualisation via mainstreaming can hardly mean an ongoing commitment from an institution to Indigenous education.
Recommendations The recommendations passed unanimously at National Council are as follows: 1. That the Federal Government does not repeal, subsume or combine any of the current suite of Indigenous higher education program funds into mainstream student support program funding; particularly under the guise of a ‘whole-of-university’ approach to Indigenous student support. 2. That universities acknowledge and adopt a ‘whole-of-community’ perspective when seeking to implement a ‘whole-of-university’ approach. As part of this concept, university management must work with all stakeholders and view community, students and staff not as individual silos, but as a single community. What impacts upon one community member, will undoubtedly impact upon another 3. That universities, who are seeking to implement a ‘whole-of-university’ approach for Indigenous student support,
convene at the earliest opportunity a high level advisory committee with membership comprising all stakeholders or their representatives. 4. That the Federal Government Department with responsibility for Indigenous higher education, implement an immediate information dissemination and awareness campaign for community, students and staff, providing detail on all recommendations from the Review of Higher Education Access and Outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, in particular Recommendation 10. 5. That university management open and maintain appropriate, respectful and effective lines of communication with all stakeholders to a ‘whole-of-university’ approach. This approach will allow for the ability by community, students and staff to have meaningful input and ownership throughout the process. 6. That universities maintain specified Indigenous and mainstream funding lines that pertain to Indigenous and non-Indigenous student support, within the control of Indigenous Education Units/ Centres and the equivalent mainstream University Student Support equivalence. This will ensure appropriate lines of accountability and acquittal, whilst adhering to the funding requirements detailed in the goals of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education Policy 7. That university management and the Union work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander academic and general/ professional staff to minimise negative impact on workloads, morale, work/life and responsibility to community, and discuss possible options for security of employment, career progression and professional development. Ideally this should occur prior, during and after implementation of a ‘whole-of-university’ approach. 8. That university management work to assist Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students to minimise any negative impact on access to appropriate study environments, pastoral and academic support service. Universities should also ensure that students are aware of all current support to allow students to attend to family, cultural, community and employment responsibilities. The NTEU Indigenous Member Survey: Whole-of-University Approach to Indigenous Student Support report is available in full via the NTEU Indigenous website if members wish to read the analysis. Download the Whole-of-University Approach report at www.nteu.org.au/indigenous/woua
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Human Rights Recent actions by NTEU NTEU National Office regularly sends letters to foreign governments and companies in support of imprisoned or victimised educators and workers, upon the request of education and human rights organisations. Date
Action Requested By
Issue & Action Taken
1 Feb 2013
Letter re detention of university students P. Tharshananth and K. Jenemajeyamenan arrested in Jaffna for their alleged involvement in organising demonstrations.
13 Feb 2013
Scholars at Risk
President Hu Jintao
Letter re Chinese professor of economics, Ilham Tohti, refused permission to leave China and take up position as a Visiting Scholar at Indiana University, USA
4 March 2013
Scholars at Risk
President Abdullah Gul
Letter re Pinar Selek, PhD candidate in Political Science at the University of Strasbourg. She was convicted in absentia on 24 January 2013 and sentenced to life imprisonment for her alleged role in a 1998 explosion at an Istanbul market. Pinar Selek denies the allegation that she is a member or otherwise associated with the PKK and claims that the charges against her stem only from her research and writing on Kurdish issues.
25 March 2013
Minister of the Interior, Attorney General
Letter re threats made to director and staff of La 72 Migrant Shelter in Tenosique, Tabasco, Mexico.
4 April 2013
His Majesty the King (Shaikh Hamad bin ‘Issa Al Khalifa)
Letter re Bahraini activist Zainab Al-Khawaja (prisoner of conscience). Denied family visits since mid March for refusing to wear prison uniform during family visits.
4 April 2013
President Islam Karimov
Letter re Mamadali Makhmudov (72). Well known writer sentenced to 14 years in prison in 1999 (denied charges of attempting to violently overthrow the constitutional order and establishing prohibited public and religious organisations) and was due for release. Has had a new criminal case brought against him for allegedly violating prison rules.
10 April 2013
President Juan Manuel Santos
Letter re death threats against several trade unionists in mining industry (members of SINTRAMIENERGETICA & SINTRACARBON)
19 April 2013
Minister of the Interior, Attorney General
Further letter re threats made to director and staff of La 72 Migrant Shelter in Tenosique, Tabasco Mexico.
29 April 2013
Minister of the Interior, Prosecutor General
Letter re continuing detention in solitary confinement of activists Mohamed Mostafa Youssef; Mamdouh Hassan Mamdouh and Abdelazeem Abdo
23 May 2013
Minister of the Interior, Attorney General
Letter re attacks (including kidnappings) on migrants by criminal gangs, Tabasco, Mexico.
30 May 2013
Letter re arrest and detention of prisoner of conscience, Ahmed Douma. On trial for insulting President Mohamed Morsi on TV.
13 June 2013
Republic of Korea Ambassador to UN (Geneva), Republic of Korea Ambassador to USA
Letter re Young Won, Moon Chul, Jung Gwang Young, Lee Gwang Hyuk, Park Gwang Hyuk and Yoo Gwang Hyuk, Ryu Chul Yong, Jang Hae Ri and Roh Ae Ji – nine North Korean teenagers (14-19 years old) who were arrested in Laos on 10 May, detained for illegally crossing the border from China and forcibly returned to North Korea.
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Human Rights Date
Action Requested By
Issue & Action Taken
13 June 2013
Prime Minister and Minister of Human Rights
Letter re Mustafa Muhammad Abbas Farhan, Ishaq Muhammad Abbas Farhan, Saddam Hussein Abbas Farhan, Misar ‘Ali Salman Nasir, ‘Abd al-Sada Sakran Ziyad, Salim ‘Abd al-Jassim Muhammad Mustaf, Kilan Kamil ‘Ali Sharqi, ‘Assim Mazin Hussein Hamid, Firas ‘Abdallah Fathi ‘Abd al-Rahman, ‘Abd Al-Qadir Naji Hussein and Hamid Hudair Thuweini Mahdi – all men were sentenced to death in 2010 for their alleged involvement in the bombing of the Iraqi Foreign Ministry on 19 August 2009 and have had their application for a retrial rejected by the Court of Cassation on 26 March 2013.
21 June 2013
Scholars at Risk
President Abdullah Gul
Letter re Professor Kemal Gürüz who has been detained in Sincan prison in Ankara since 25 June 2012 on charges of conspiracy to overthrow or incapacitate the government by force or violence. No evidence of Professor Gürüz’s involvement in any violence or conspiracy to use force has been made public, and he denies all charges against him.
27 June 2013
President Bashar al-Assad
Letter re student Suhaib Hassan Swaidan who was arrested on 23 May while volunteering with a Syrian Arab Red Crescent ambulance crew and is being detained incommunicado, and his brother, Abdullah Hassan Swaidan who was arrested on 9 May and is also being detained incommunicado.
4 July 2013
President Juan Manuel Santos and Defence Minister Juan Carlos Pinzon
Letter re attacks and killings by security forces of farmers protesting in demonstrations in Catatumbo, and claims by authorities that the demonstrations had been infiltrated by FARC.
KTU President Kim Jeonghun
11 July 2013
Leader of the Islamic Republic, Ayatollah Sayed ‘Ali Khamenei
Letter re student activist Arash Sadeghi – who has been on a hunger strike since 1 June in protest against his ill-treatment in Tehran’s Evin Prison. He has been held without charge and in solitary confinement since January 2012 and is at risk of torture.
25 July 2013
Director Beijing Public Security Bureau
Letter re Xu Zhiyong (legal scholar and activist) and his three associates - Li Huanjun, Song Ze and Li Gang – detained for their association with New Citizens Movement.
1 August 2013
His Majesty the King and Minister of the Interior
Letter re jailing of 13 opposition activists (prisoners of conscience). Request for regular medical attention for Hassan Mshaima (66 year old diabetic and former cancer patient).
President Juan Manuel Santos and Defence Minister Juan Carlos Pinzon
Letter re plans by paramilitaries to kill members of a Colombian human rights NGO – Inter Church Justice and Peace Commission – and community leaders from Curvarado and Jiguamiando River Basin.
President Park Geun-hye, Republic of Korea
Letter re ultimatum sent to the Korean Teachers & Education Workers Union (KTU) threatening to deregister it if it does not amend its by-laws to ban dismissed and retired teachers from union membership. Also re Government’s refusal to register the Korean Government Employees Union (KGEU) for the same reason. We respectfully urge you to maintain the KTU registration and to legalise KGEU without delay and to bring your legislation in line with international labour standards.
15 August Amnesty 2013 International
14 October 2013
NTEU ADVOCATE • vol. 20 no. 3 • November 2013 • www.nteu.org.au/advocate • page 37
News from the Net Pat Wright
eTeaching in higher education NTEU National Council resolved to ask the President, Jeannie Rea, to lead the development of two White Papers: one on the impact of information and communication technology on higher education, and one on quality teaching in higher education. This is a logical extension of Jeannie’s report on our first National Teaching Conference in April 2013, and her ‘Online Learning and Casual Teaching’ article in Connect (Vol. 5 No. 2), both of which are available on the NTEU website. As with the Teaching Conference, Jeannie will work with the Academic Staff Working Party and the General Staff Working Party on the development of these White Papers, in order to emphasise that the provision of higher education is a collective endeavour. There is an argument for combining the two White Papers into one in order to ensure that we have general staff input on the information and communications technology (ICT) issues. The impact of ICT on higher education occurs across a broad spectrum, ranging from the enhancement of traditional teaching with occasional use of ICT, sometimes called Blended Learning, through parallel programs combining Blended Learning on-campus with Online Learning for students enrolled solely off-campus, and on to stand alone Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). It would be good to distinguish which kind of ICT impact the White Paper addresses at the outset, lest one is ‘spooked by MOOCs’ (as Jeannie says) and thus deterred from considering even a minor form of, say, Blended Learning. Another worthwhile consideration at the outset of such an inquiry is to remind oneself that ICT itself alone does not have an impact – it is the uses (and abuses) to which such ICT tools are put that can have a great impact, for good or ill. And that depends largely on the motivations of the tool-users. Regrettably, the good intentions of teaching innovators and
early adopters of various ICT tools can sometimes be appropriated by their employers, objectified into artefacts, scaled up for mass use, and imposed without consultation across the board onto areas of knowledge or levels of understanding for which they may not be suited. Such theft of intellectual property should be opposed by the Union, of course, but, in doing so, the union should be careful not to alienate the (usually) young innovators and not to mistake the ICT itself as the target of that opposition, rather than the real target – authoritarian management who try to impose the ICT. As Jeannie’s report on the Teaching Conference notes, ‘a sophisticated position on online learning and teaching under the cloud of the MOOCs’ is needed. Any such ‘sophisticated position’ will need to strike a balance between supporting the innovators who help make teaching in higher education more effective for a greater number of students and more satisfying for teachers and students alike, and opposing those managers who seek to impose ICT solely to cut labour costs, and often make teaching larger numbers of students more stressful and less satisfying for teachers and students alike. One possible means of striking that balance might be some more old-fashioned Industrial Democracy (or, dare I say, Workers’ Control) at the Faculty, School or Department level. If only organised teams of general and academic staff could wrest back control of the curriculum and its associated pedagogies from the ascendant new managerialism, then the development and adoption of new ways of using ICT, where appropriate, as well as the rejection or modification of any inappropriate imposition of ICT, would be strengthened. Like fire, ICT is a wonderful servant and a terrible master when it gets out of control. Control of the curriculum timetable, too, would alleviate some of the problems for general and academic staff arising from extra semesters and multiple teaching sessions each year – the crux of a proposed industrial campaign endorsed by National Council. A collectively-negotiated roster of alternative subject offerings over a period of at least three years to synchronise with annual leave and Outside Studies Programs would be a good start to combat work intensification, work overloads and burn-out, all of which can lead to a deterioration in the quality of higher education.
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As pointed out in the National Council motion on quality teaching in higher education, some new metrics, qualitative indicators and evaluation instruments to measure teaching quality are needed. Indeed, new metrics to measure teaching effort might well be needed, too. As Jeannie points out in her Connect article, perhaps some of the Google-style learning analytics used in MOOCs could be adapted to provide teaching analytics. At least that would lead to casuals being paid for the actual work they do in maintaining online courses, rather than paying them only for onsite or contact hours. Tackling these problems has a new urgency now that higher education has a new nepotist Federal Minister who has signalled a resumption of hostilities in the class war by abandoning the Gillard equity targets for students with low SES backgrounds. The Coalition uses the old dog-whistle, that an increased quantity of student intake must mean a decreased quality of the higher education experience and inferior employment outcomes. Universities have the choice, they say, of continuing to increase their intake from low SES backgrounds, but they won’t get commensurate funding because they can cut per student costs by using more ICT on a large scale. Thus the first-in-family low SES students get a second-rate higher education and consequent inferior outcomes – in line with the self-fulfilling prophecy. Of course, this view of quality in higher education is based almost solely on the quality of the inputs, such as the ATAR scores of incoming students, degrades the quality of the learning and teaching experience, and ignores the benefits of an equitable, educated society. Alternatively, the intelligent use of ICT to improve the quality of the learning and teaching experience without degrading it would improve satisfaction and outcomes all round. Any teacher who is not also a learner (and researcher) is probably not teaching as well as they could, particularly when we dip deeper into the SES pool and harvest students who are not (yet) ‘people like us’ and have a greater range of preferred learning styles. There is more than one way to skin (or teach) a cat. Hence the importance of the NTEU developing a White Paper on the role of ICT in quality teaching in higher education. Pat Wright is Director of the Centre for Labour Research at the University of Adelaide. firstname.lastname@example.org
Lowering the Boom Ian Lowe
Tam U celebrates the brave new world Can it be nearly Xmas again? Yes, the jacaranda blossoms are falling, the students are panicking and my email in-box once again invites me to consider voluntary early retirement. So I headed off on my annual visit to Tamworth University to seek guidance on the state of the higher education system from the everwelcoming Cal D’Aria, vicechancellor, president and supreme leader of Tam U. Last year Cal was almost suicidal with despair, feeling that the older universities were systematically copying all of his innovations and squeezing brave little Tam U out. But this year found him with a spring in his step once more. ‘The change of government is just what we needed’, Cal said cheerfully. ‘We know they will support the sort of development Tam U wants’. He was particularly happy about the change in his own electorate. ‘That Tony Windsor was a real problem – intelligent, thoughtful and independent. He just couldn’t see what an asset Tam U was to his electorate. We’re much better off with Barnaby Joyce. He’ll do what we tell him to.’ He told me one of his staff first met Barnaby when he was a bouncer at the New England Hotel. ‘He was out of his depth then’, Cal said with a grin. ‘So he’s really excited about our offer of an honorary doctorate. And he is in Cabinet, so he has real clout with the blokes who count!’ Cal then launched into a gushing hymn of praise for the Abbott Government’s approach to attracting foreign students. ‘That new minister, Christopher Pinecone or whatever he is called, understands the real world’, he said. ‘We’ve been having a hard time attracting overseas students because of the ridiculous green-tape about maintaining academic standards’, Cal
added. ‘But the new Minister’s first speech showed real vision. We’ve got big plans for widening our appeal’. Tam U is particularly enthusiastic about offering innovative qualifications in unusual fields with the lure of permanent residency. ‘The previous government just couldn’t see the potential of this market. They actually cracked down on staying here after studying’, Cal said. ‘How short-sighted can you get?’ Their new DVC [Academic], Professor Ateer, is a lateral thinker. He believes there is a huge untapped market in sex workers. He sees them flocking to the Masters Of Personal Erotic Development [MOPED], Cal told me. ‘Prof. Ateer’s already drafted the publicity: A MOPED from Tam U will thrust your career forward! Your MOPED will power you to permanent residency!’
‘That Tony Windsor was a real problem – intelligent, thoughtful and independent. He just couldn’t see what an asset Tam U was to his electorate. We’re much better off with Barnaby Joyce. He’ll do what we tell him to.’
And that’s only the beginning, Cal told me. ‘There are a whole heap of markets conventional universities are neglecting’, he said, rattling off examples, ranging from hairdressing to organised crime. He reminded me that the flourishing Tam U had begun life as Tamworth Hairdressing College. ‘We started to grow when we reframed ourselves as the Tamworth University of the Tonsorial Arts, and everything took off from there. We have never forgotten our roots’, he said. ‘But we also know you have to keep growing in this world. If you stand still, you are going backwards.’ I thought with his grasp of clichés and jargon, surely Cal would soon be head-hunted by a bigger university, or maybe a private sector fink tank? He assured me he isn’t interested. ‘Too many restrictions, mate’,
he said. ‘What could they possibly offer me that I don’t have already?’ Tam U has been recruiting cleverly in other areas. Cal waxed lyrical about his new head of marketing, Dr Saba De Todo, fresh from successfully organising the campaign to discredit climate science. ‘Anyone who can persuade Australian voters that the sea has stopped rising and the Earth is cooling could sell pornographic videos to Fred Nile’, he chortled. ‘She’s spearheading our marketing campaign to attract students away from the tired old sandstones, with their stuffy lecture theatres and boring insistence on assessment.’ He reminded me that Tam U pioneered taped instruction, shopping centre marketing, flexible degree profiles, dispensing with permanent academic staff and awarding automatic high distinctions for every assignment. ‘That’s still our big advantage’, Cal said. ‘The other new universities are trying to imitate the older ones. They don’t understand that you need a marketing edge, rather than saying you are just like all the others!’ As always, Tam U and the ebullient Cal D’Aria are in the vanguard of change. ‘Where Tam U goes, the other universities timidly follow’, Cal told me. ‘Just as they’ve copied all our other innovations, you can bet they’ll be trying to move in on our new markets. But they have lead in their saddlebags: university councils with staff and student representatives, staff organised into unions, State governments looking over their shoulder. So we can stay one or two jumps ahead of the pack.’ It’s my annual source of inspiration to see where Cal and Tam U are going. I think I will just ignore that email about voluntary early retirement… Ian Lowe is emeritus professor of science, technology and society at Griffith University and a life member of the NTEU. He is grateful to Dr Saba de Todo for checking this column accurately reflects the spirit of our interview. Thanks, Sabby!
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The Thesis Whisperer Inger Mewburn
Lack of respect for higher education Compulsory voting is one of the best things about our country. I love all the rituals: choosing a polling booth by the quality of the sausage sizzle, walking along the ‘how to vote’ card handout line while loftily ignoring all the parties one doesn’t intend to vote for, getting a goodie or two at the cake stall. Our family usually caps this off by watching the results coming in on the ABC with friends and exclaiming, ‘Oh that Antony Green, such a clever clogs’. It’s all great fun. Except for this year. Being of a generally left wing persuasion, the group that gathered at my sister’s house that Saturday night found little comfort in these rituals. Bitter comments were muttered in the general direction of the television and even Antony didn’t cheer us up. For my part there was a certain amount of self-soothing with chocolate. When the inevitable result was announced I did a one word Facebook status update and went straight to bed. A couple of weeks later it all seems to have gone quiet in Canberra. Maybe those politicians had their own hangovers to deal with. Predictably, the mood in the halls of our universities (if my social media feeds are anything to go by) could be summed up in one word: nervous. When and where will the government hammer fall next? Some of us worry about the embarrassingly uninformed commentary from Coalition politicians about research funding, which appeared just before polling day. ‘Useless’ research was mocked and us academics
were firmly put in our place: as icing on the Australian worker cake who should be grateful for what they deign to hand out to us. But my feeling is that this is a sideshow which politicians can ill afford indulging themselves in, and for one reason – China. I was recently lucky enough to catch a lecture at ANU given by Professor Simon Marginson, just as he was heading out of the country to take up a position with the University of London. Marginson was kind enough to share the slide deck with the audience, as he wants this data to be shared widely. The message in Marginson’s lecture was that we should start contrasting the attitude of our politicians with the mood in Asia where the scale of investment in higher education is breathtaking. In fact, it’s the sheer ambition of Asian states’ investment in higher education which is jaw dropping to your average Australian academic, who has become accustomed to the ‘do more with less’ mentality of policy makers over the last twenty years or more. I know it wasn’t just me who was shocked, as I was live tweeting the lecture and the response was huge. Here are some pocket statistics I shared on the night that got the most interest: • Australia is just behind the UK and the US when in share of the overseas student market; equal to German and France and marginally above Canada. We are punching far above our weight. • We don’t have any universities in the Shanghai ARWU top 50, but we do have five in the top 100 and a further 14 in the top 500. We are doing comparatively well there too. • Our gross national income per head in 2011 was USD $43,170 compared to China at $8390 and we compare well to most other countries in the OECD. In other words, we are rich. We can afford to invest more. • Yet Australia’s level of investment in Research and development as a proportion of GDP is lower than most OECD countries and compares favourably only with countries such as Brazil and Poland. • Asia is starting to eat our lunch when it comes to educational outcomes and academic output. • China’s school students top all PISA metrics on student outcomes. We are 9th for reading and 10 for science, but not even
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in the top ten for mathematics. • Between 1995 and 2009, China increased the number of published journal papers by 65,000 while Australia increased by only 10,000. • There has been what Marginson calls a ‘rapid improvement’ in China and Asia-8 papers in the most cited list. From 2000 to 2010, in chemistry alone, China increased citations by 10% while US academics decreased by 14.4% And these are but a selection of the statistics that Marginson presented to us. I hope he will publish them in some other format soon. The audience couldn’t help but draw one conclusion: compared to our timid politicians, Asian leaders seem startlingly optimistic about higher education. This optimism has been followed up with significant investment in education at all levels, which is only beginning to bear fruit. If the trends are going to be anything to go by, Australia is heading in one direction: down. In fact, the recitation of these statistics prompted a member of the audience to ask (with some concern) if our grandchildren will want to go to China to get a ‘quality education’ because it would no longer be available at home. Marginson agreed this conclusion was unavoidable, but emphasised the positives of the ‘reverse international student experience’. I couldn’t help reflecting on who would have access to this ‘quality education’ in the future by thinking about the international students of today. It won’t be the majority of our middle class who get to study in top flight Chinese institutions, let alone anyone else. So I decided to stop being depressed about the lack of respect for higher education displayed by politicians and start being angry at the lack of investment, at the lack of ambition and the blatant pandering to the anti-elitist vote at the expense of our children and grandchildren. It’s this anger that is going to be motivating my vote when I next walk down the line to the sausage sizzle. Dr Inger Mewburn does research on research and blogs about it at www.thesiswhisperer.com
Letter from Aotearoa/NZ Lesley Francey
Don’t follow NZ down our employment law road Governments in Australia and New Zealand seem to have a seesaw relationship, and this applies to laws that affect working people. When you have a particularly bad patch (such as you did with John Howard and WorkChoices) we seem to get a respite. In that instance the respite came via Helen Clark’s Labour Government introducing law that ameliorated some of the worst aspects of bad employment law at the time.
ings, aimed at making our economy more productive. Among those changes are laws that will allow employers to walk away from employment negotiations without reaching an Agreement. The Government wants to remove the employer’s duty to conclude a union agreement. While this sounds like a technical matter to many, it is vitally important. It greatly weakens collective bargaining, and makes it much easier for employers to reduce pay and conditions that members have previously fought hard to maintain as core conditions in their union Agreements.
Perniciously, the Government wants to remove people’s legislated right to meal breaks and tea breaks. This sounds mean-spirited, and it is.
Meanwhile, during the 1990s when we suffered some of the most neoliberal employment law under Jim Bolger’s National Government, Australian workers under the Keating Government were somewhat sheltered from the neoliberal ‘reforms’ that were shaking New Zealand and the rest of the world.
When the duty to conclude bargaining disappears a suite of other related employee rights disappear with it. Union members will lose their right to take industrial action, which is only legal during collective bargaining or for health and safety reasons. And, once the Agreement expires, all union members’ terms and conditions will move to an individual agreement based on the expired Collective Agreement.
Now however, it seems that the two trans-Tasman nations are aligning over a common vision. Sadly, it is one that is bad for workers.
Further, no new bargaining will be able to begin for 60 days from this order. And all new employees will automatically go on individual terms and conditions.
New Zealand has, for the last five years, had a government in power that wants to undermine the employment rights of workers and our families. Unlike previous governments, it has not introduced those changes in one fell swoop – a single attack on unions and on fair employment law. Instead, it has introduced small reforms here and there, piece by piece unthreading the fabric on employment laws that protect workers.
Perniciously, the Government wants to remove people’s legislated right to meal and tea breaks. This sounds mean-spirited, and it is. But it is also dangerous – these provisions protect employees’ health, safety and wellbeing. Working long stretches without a break contributes to workplace errors, accidents and workplace stress.
Currently, it is in the process of passing another tranche of changes that it and the media would describe as minor tinker-
Another change among the Government’s tinkering is a proposal to take away the right of new employees, in their first thirty days of employment, to be offered the terms and conditions union members have previously negotiated. That legal
right is currently there to protect new employees and give them a chance to find out about what rights they have in terms of pay and conditions and decide on union membership if they wish. Without it employers could pay new employees less or they could pay new employees a higher rate but remove important conditions from the collective agreement such as leave, overtime rates, allowances, or hours of work provisions. Employers will also be able to avoid letting new employees know that a union agreement exists, thus slowly depleting the union of potential new members and weakening its power. The rhetoric about making negotiations simpler and quicker, and freeing up the economy is based on the twin outright lies that (a) good jobs and fair working conditions are bad for the economy, and (b) that unions and union members are making unreasonable demands that are stifling employers. The reality is, as our Council of Trade Unions highlighted recently, at least a third of New Zealand’s workers – over 635,000 people – are in insecure work. 95,000 workers have no usual work time, 61,000 workers have no written employment agreement, 573,000 workers earn less than a living wage and almost a quarter of a million Kiwi workers say they have experienced discrimination, harassment or bullying at work. These workers often do not have paid holidays – which can mean no holidays at all. They lose out on family time. They often do not have sick leave. They are vulnerable if they try to assert their rights or raise any concerns. They are exposed to dangerous working conditions and have to accept low wages. They cannot make commitments – to family, to sports teams, to community or church activities, to mortgages, or even to increasing their skills – this is not the kind of working life most Kiwis want. And it is not the sort of working life Australians want either. Lesley Francey is National President/Te Tumu Whakarae, New Zealand Tertiary Education Union/Te Hautū Kahurangi o Aotearoa www.teu.ac.nz
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My Union Celebrating our 20th anniversary This year’s National Council coincided with the twentieth anniversary of the NTEU’s foundation on 1 October 1993. Five unions – the Federated of Australian University Staff Associations (FAUSA), the Union of Australian College Academics (UACA), the Australian Colleges and Universities Staff Association (ACUSA), the Australian National University Administrative and Allied Officers Association (ANU AACA) and the University of Adelaide General Staff Association (UAGSA) – were amalgamated to form an industry union covering all academic and general staff.
Above: Celebrating NTEU’s 20th anniversary at the 3 October reception in Melbourne: (from left) Adrian Ryan, Ralph Hall, Meredith Burgmann and Neil Harpley. Below: John Graham, Peter Cardwell and Tracey Bunda.
At a reception on 3 October 2013, and at the National Council dinner the next evening, guests and delegates heard first hand accounts of the amalgamation process from those involved in the long struggle to create an industry union, and from senior office bearers of the pre-merger unions. Many former staff of the amalgamating unions also attended. Special guest speakers included Ralph Hall (FAUSA President 1988-90 and foundation NTEU Executive Member), Kerry Lewis (ACUSA Secretary 1988-93 and foundation NTEU Joint General Secretary), Patrick Wright (UACA President 1986-88 and Advocate columnist), Meredith Burgmann (FAUSA-NSW Officer 1977-85 and former President of the NSW Legislative Council), Neil Harpley (FAUSA President 1987-88), Nigel Wood (ACUSA President 1988-90), Jenny Strauss (FAUSA Executive Member 1987-91), Alan Patching (FCA President 1978-79) and Tracey Bunda (Indigenous Policy Committee 1997-2001).
View the NTEU 20th Anniversary slideshow, featuring over 300 images from every Branch covering the last two decades: vimeo.com/nteutv/nteu20years
Grahame McCulloch, General Secretary
Transitional National Executive
• Arthur Crook (UACA)
The first NTEU National Executive, as it transitioned from its amalgamating associations, was held in South Melbourne on 2 October 1993. The members were:
• David Garlick (FAUSA)
• Di Zetlin (FAUSA), President
• Joan Hardy (UACA), Vice-President
• Pauline Hore (ANU AACA)
• Kerry Lewis (ACUSA), Joint General Secretary
• Paul Rodan (ACUSA), Vice-President
• Anne Learmonth (ACUSA)
• Margaret Allen (UACA)
• Gillian Lupton (FAUSA)
• Carolyn Allport (FAUSA)
• Rob McQueen (FAUSA)
• Gary Cox (UAGSA)
• Lyndsay Roper (ACUSA)
• Grahame McCulloch (UACA), Joint General Secretary • Ralph Hall (FAUSA), Vice-President
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• Bill Ford (FAUSA)
• Howard Guille (UACA)
Clockwise from above: Jenny Strauss speaking at the 2013 National Council dinner; Grahame McCulloch, General Secretary at the 20th Anniversary reception; Current and past staff members Kate Wiggins, Sam Maynard, Jo Kowalczyk and Jo Denton; Nigel Wood; Kerry Lewis; Dave Ritchie (CSU) and Terri Mylett (UWS) at the 20th Anniversary reception. All photos: Paul Clifton. See more photos at www.nteu.org.au/20th-photos
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My Union Foundation member Professor Graham Farquhar Distinguished professor and theoretical biophysicist, Graham Farquhar, is one of the many impressive foundation members of the NTEU and we honour him in this our 20th anniversary year. Graham, a biophysicist with the Australian National University (ANU) Research School of Biology in the College of Medicine, Biology and Environment, has an extraordinary list of career achievements including receiving a Queen’s Birthday Honour in June this year, a shared Nobel Prize in 2007 and helping create a new strain of water efficient wheat.
Above: Graham Farquhar speaking at the awarding of his Einstein Professorship by the Chinese Academy of Sciences earlier this year. Photo courtesy ANU. Right: Graham’s NTEU Foundation Member certificate.
Graham began studying physics and applied mathematics at Monash University in Melbourne, moved to ANU for one year, before completing his degree in biophysics with Honours at the University of Queensland. He then went on to complete his PhD at ANU and then began his academic career there in 1976.
War II, decided to get an education upon his return to Australia. He became an agricultural extension officer (communicating between farmers and scientists) with the Tasmanian Department of Agriculture and then with the CSIRO.
He joined the then Federation of Australian Universities Staff Associations (FAUSA), one of the NTEU’s predecessor unions over 30 years ago and has been a union member ever since. ‘One of the terms we hear a lot in Australia is that of a ‘fair go’. This is something I believe in very strongly and the Union fights to ensure that university staff do get a fair go,’ he said. ‘Although, the ANU has always been very supportive of me and provides a marvellous environment for my research to take place, it’s good to have the Union that sits outside the university’s hierarchy, with influence and a capacity to pool its resources to improve the working conditions of university staff, especially junior lecturers, tutors and staff in insecure employment. Job security is their core challenge and the Union can work with them so that they can have a strong voice.’ Graham comes from a farming family. His grandparents were farmers in Tasmania and his father, a prisoner-of- war in World
‘In my family, it was always thought that to do something useful for farming would be a great thing to do, and my work has always been interesting and challenging in an area that I think is important,’ he said. Graham says his parents inspired him to become a scientist. He recalls a time when his father was sent, by the CSIRO, to the United States. ‘He came back with a textbook on biology and he said the ‘in thing’ was going to be biophysics.’ In 1982, Graham led a group of researchers at the ANU, who developed a model that could calculate the water-use efficiency of plants. A year or so later, a chance meeting with an old McKinnon High School colleague brought Graham and CSIRO plant researcher, Richard Richards together. Both were living in Canberra at the time and both were trying to develop drought resistant plants – Graham as a theoretical physicist and Richard as a plant breeder.
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Graham and Richard teamed up to test this model (published in 1984) to develop a new strain of water-efficient wheat that grows better than other wheats at low rainfall. Richard named this wheat strain Drysdale – reminiscent of Russell Drysdale’s paintings depicting Australian dry conditions. ‘What has been great about the work is that the technique and knowledge underlying it can be applied to other plants,’ Graham said. Since the mid 1990s, Graham has been a contributing author and reviewer for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which in 2007, along with Al Gore, was a joint-recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize.
My Union Celebrating the NTEU’s Foundation Members In 2013 we are celebrating 20 years of united union representation for workers in tertiary education. As part of the celebrations we are acknowledging those who have been loyal members of NTEU and its predecessor organisations for these 20 and more years. Called our ‘Foundation Members’, over the coming weeks more than 4000 people will be receiving a certificate (pictured on opposite page) and a commemorative badge (right) acknowledging their years of membership. The NTEU thanks them sincerely for their commitment and support for the Union over these two decades, and hope that this continues for many years to come. The old adage says ‘The union is its members.’ This is especially true about our Foundation Members, who are the foundations upon which this Union has been successfully built.
As well as his research work, Graham continues to lecture undergraduate students in Biology. As a lecturer he has concerns about the demand driven funding model in universities. ‘Since students have become the customer, it is much harder to offer guidance and advice to students about their study decisions and there is also pressure on lecturers to make particular courses attractive in terms of results,’ he said. Over the years Graham has witnessed changes in university governance that focuses on management models. ‘As universities have become more streamlined and now function on more of a top-down approach the involvement of ordinary academics in decision-making seems to be considered too slow a process.’ He remembers when universities exercised a greater bottom up approach and academic governance provided the opportunity for ordinary academics to engage in genuine debate regarding the decisions of a university. He believes that ‘members of the Union should be involved in the academic governance of our universities.’ Graham was also one of the 1000 professors and associate professors who signed an open letter, published in major newspapers across the country, on 1 May 2013 to the then Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, as part of the NTEU’s Uni Cuts, Dumb Cuts campaign condemning the $2.3 billion funding cuts to higher education, which were announced on 13 April 2013. ‘The cuts to education were very disruptive for us. ANU had made plans for numerous research projects and the funding for staff based on an understanding that there would be an increase in funds. Then suddenly, we got the rug pulled out from under us. These changes were extremely dislocating.’ Graham’s other career achievements include his recent election as a Foreign Associate to the US National Academy of
Science and an Einstein Fellowship by the Chinese Academy of Sciences. The Einstein Professorships are awarded each year to 20 distinguished international scientists actively working at the frontiers of science and technology. He is also a fellow of the Australian Academy of Science and the Royal Society. Most notably, in June this year, Graham was made an Officer of the Order of Australia for service to science in the areas of plant physiology and climate change. Graham was also one of an impressive number of NTEU members who received a Queen’s Birthday Honour.
‘The fact I was even considered was wonderful, and a complete surprise. Then to receive the letter to say I had been awarded it was just even more fantastic. ‘It’s nice to try and help society – it’s even nicer to be recognised for that work. What is wonderful about the Order of Australia is that the public, family and friends can recognise this one, as opposed to other achievements that only scientists know about.’ Helena Spyrou, Education & Training Officer
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My Union Leading the charge for a one-industry union
unions and others from early NTEU days, reminisced and told stories of battles along the way.
I joined the Federation of College Academics, later the Union of Australian College Academics (UACA), 30 years ago. On my first foray at a national level in Adelaide in 1983 (or 84), the first person I met was our then Assistant Secretary, Grahame McCulloch. As the years went by and we listened to Grahame, now the Secretary, with his wheeling and dealing, we were carried away to almost believe that it could happen. Outside the meetings and away from his rhetoric, his drive for the one-
Joan Hardy Scholarship
CQU celebrates 20 On a very hot day in September, the CQU Branch held its celebration of the 20th anniversary of the NTEU, with a barbecue, some music (provided by Stephen Butler and local Greens candidate, Paul Bambrick) and speeches. Bill Byrne, Labor member for Rockhampton, addressed the assembled members on the importance of unions in contemporary Australia. He provided a chilling account of the Newman Government’s ‘unconscionable’ attack on public servants. Bill said that he was at a loss to explain why Newman was so vicious in attacking workers’ rights and jobs (thus far, 20,000 losses and counting). Of course, transferring the resources devoted to the public good as pelf for the private sector has to be an important factor. Unfortunately, Queensland has a unicameral parliament, so there is no upper house to provide protections from the excesses of the elected
In our Union’s story, we need to remember and acknowledge the leader of the charge for a one-union industry. Grahame McCulloch really did seem like Saint George leading the charge. It was not only a matter of merging of unions but also of repelling selective vested interests of some other unions!
Joan Hardy, the UACA President, was his partner in this incredible enterprise. He led the charge but Joan grounded him. It was a great partnership.
union industry did not seem quite believable. The impossible started to seem possible. The general staff unions made that momentous decision to join with academics and the sometimes alien cultures of college and university academics met. The recent 20th National Council of the National Tertiary Education Union celebrated the formation of the Union. Many life members, some from predecessor
It is most fitting that an NTEU scholarship named in Joan’s honour has been offered since 2006. This year’s 20th National Council resolved to establish a consolidated NTEU scholarship program which includes continuation of the Joan Hardy scholarship – a fitting recognition of a strong leader and NTEU pioneer. Janie Mason, Life Member, NT Division
Illustration: Grahame McCulloch as St George, Australian Campus Review Weekly, 13-19 Feb 1992.
government and ministers. Bill said that the loudest and most effective voice speaking up against this conservative tide is coming from the unions. Thus, for Bill Byrne, the role of unions is, as it has always been, protecting the rights of workers. He concluded by saying that unions were needed in Queensland now more than ever. Queensland Division Secretary, Margaret Lee, spoke of the achievements and challenges of the NTEU over the past 20 years. She acknowledged the importance of the NTEU’s role in using enterprise bargaining as a successful strategy in setting minimum terms and conditions on behalf of its members. She acknowledged the significance of the rule change in the late 90s that allowed general staff to become NTEU members. Margaret also spoke of the importance of worker solidarity Margaret said that membership density was a positive antidote to born-to-rule managerialism, and noted that while the NTEU’s membership fluctuated, national membership was growing, and Queensland NTEU membership had grown by 20% in the past 15 months. This reflected the continuing importance of the NTEU in the sector. Nonetheless, maintaining and
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growing membership would be a continuing challenge for the Union over the next 20 years. Notwithstanding the challenges the NTEU faces, Margaret believes that the Union will continue to set the best possible standards of employment for the higher education sector. Margaret concluded with some advice she had once received from an elderly retired underground coal miner who told her that ‘you have to love all your members whether they deserve it or not, because that’s part of the job’; and that ‘The rules of life are simple: Join; if you don’t like what’s happening don’t leave, change it; read, for an hour a day; and soap’s cheap!’ John Fitzsimmons, CQU Branch President
Above: Gerard Ilott, Amie Zelmer, Margaret Lee, Lynn Zelmer, Leonie Short singing at the 20th celebration.
National Council 2013 The 20th anniversary meeting of the NTEU National Council October 3-5 in Melbourne started as a fairly sombre affair. For many this was most likely the effect of a tough year of enterprise bargaining, which continues in full swing. For others the mood was solemn as we contemplated the outcome of the federal election and return of a Liberal National Coalition government which has already indicated a lack of interest in strengthening mass higher education – and this following a vigorous campaign against the Labor Government pre-election higher education budget cuts.
Above: National Council meeting in progress. Below: Jeannie Rea, National President (centre) chairing the meeting flanked by the National Officers: (from left) Kelvin Michael (Vice-President Academic), Grahame McCulloch (General Secretary), Matthew McGowan (National Assistant Secretary) and Lynda Davies (Vice-President General Staff). business. The strengths of the Union’s vigorous and exhaustive decision making processes kicked in as reports were made and motions were considered across a range of issues. Following the usual numerous rewrites, these were often unanimously endorsed and by the closing sessions there was a strong consensus on the direction and particulars of the NTEU’s national program of work over the next year, as well as on the parameters of a new strategic campaign plan. The National Office now takes carriage of this program under the direction of the National Officers and the National Executive on which all Divisions are represented.
Indigenous business As always, the first motions to be considered followed the report of the Indigenous Policy Committee Chair Terry Mason, who
moved to have the NTEU play a part in the political debate over Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples sovereignty of this land called Australia. The motion was unanimously endorsed.
Enterprise bargaining While the industrial focus was on advancing and bringing to a successful conclusion the current round of university enterprise bargaining, this did not stop Councillors looking to the ongoing issues and raising others. Amongst these issues are the ways that 457s visas may be (ab)used in universities, and the need to investigate and take on the deleterious industrial and educational impacts of the multiple teaching sessions structure of the university year. We have come a long way from being able to control exploitation of academic and general staff though clauses on span of teaching periods and of hours!
The intensity of the special meeting of the National Council only a few months ago, which had determined the NTEU’s interventionist election campaign, was also in evidence early in the meeting. And for some while reflecting upon the last twenty years was a cause for celebration of the success in forging a successful industry union for higher education workers, it also gave rise to contemplation of political and industrial losses and of mourning those people who are no longer with us. However, delegates from all universities and our Branches in TAFE, NAVITAS and research institutes quickly got down to
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My Union It was also agreed to scrutinise future enterprise bargaining claims and clauses through a gender lens. More specifically this would mean identifying and monitoring the impacts on women, both positive and negative. University Branches undertook to work with the National Office in ensuring that their universities are complying with the new Workplace Gender Equality Act (WGEA), which replaced the previous EEO legalisation. The new Act is considerably stronger thanks to effective lobbying by women in and out of Parliament. Organisations, including universities (and the NTEU), now not only have to gather and analyse their data but also to measure progress against Gender Equality Indicators (GEIs).
Major issues The decision was made to hold a major conference on insecure work in the higher education sector to draw attention the exponential rise in casual employment in university teaching, the proliferation of research contracts, limited term employment on ‘soft money’ and outsourcing and contracting out. The conference will focus on organising amongst and for insecure workers, as well as public advocacy and campaigning for secure employment. The focus on education and research policy was firmly upon the NTEU doing our own research to provide the evidence and internal knowledge on major issues to enable the Union to better position and campaign for change and improvements. Council voted to focus upon the inequities in external grant funded research processes; review the ERA and stop the misuse in performance appraisal; investigate the negative impacts and outcomes of franchising; take on the ‘quality’ discourse and also the many issues around the increased reliance upon ICTs in teaching, including the current MOOCs enthusiasm. There were three plenary sessions, on enterprise bargaining, the NTEU election campaign and the changing shape of the tertiary sector. Rather than a panel of speakers, this year the plenaries operated as ‘open mike’ sessions, which enabled more delegates to be heard.
Guest speakers Australian Education Union (AEU) Federal TAFE Secretary, Pat Forward addressed the Council on the wholesale destruction of the public TAFE system and the union campaigns. The student union presidents, Jade Tyrell from the National Union of Students (NUS) and Meghan Hopper of the Council Australia Postgraduate Associations (CAPA) spoke of their campaigns this year for university and students funding
Above: National Officers with Andrew Wilkie, Independent Member for Denison. Right, top: Ged Kearney, ACTU President. Middle: Jade Tyrell, NUS President. Bottom: Lesley Francey, NZ TEU President. and expressed their gratitude for NTEU support at national to campus level. NTEU delegates applauded the student unions for their support of staff, especially in contentious bargaining campaigns involving strikes and results bans. ACTU President, Ged Kearney gave a stirring and important speech where she outlined the need for the trade union movement to connect with people. Her address attracted thoughtful questions and comments, which she took on board in further developing the ACTU’s policy and campaigns The President of our sister union, the New Zealand Tertiary Education Union (TEU), Lesley Francey, told a chilling story of rampant neo-liberal attacks upon the integrity of higher education governance, funding and student support. However, she assured the Council that the TEU keeps up the fight mitigating some of the extremes and also making some gains, relying upon the strength of being an industry union and increasing density and membership. Independent MHR for Denison in Tasmania, Andrew Wilkie and Greens MHR for Melbourne, Adam Bandt also addressed the Council to thank the Union for support in their re-election campaigns and pledged to continue being advocates for higher education and workers’ rights.
Workshops For the first time in some years, Councillors had the opportunity to participate in short workshops. These were on MOOCs, negoti-
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ating techniques, campaigning, analysing university data and social media (see p.50). The workshops were appreciated both for the content and the opportunity to meet with councillors from other universities and develop networks on matters of particular interest. The consensus was to continue with these next year with topics already being suggested.
Above: Councillors voting on a motion. Below: Dustin Halse (Swinburne), Ruth Barton (RMIT) and Ryan Hsu (Swinburne/National Executive). Below left: Terry Mason (UWS/IPC), Virginia Mansel Lees (La Trobe/National Executive) and Ramesh Presser (NAVITAS). Below right: Tony Brown (UTS). All photos by Paul Clifton
Council voted to establish a postgraduate scholarship in recognition of Dr Carolyn Allport’s contribution to the leadership and development of the NTEU in her 16 years as National President. The 20th anniversary reception on the first evening was a highlight, as was the attendance at the Council of life members including leaders and activists who forged the mergers that made the NTEU the Union for people working in higher education (see p.42). Jeannie Rea, National President See more photos at www.nteu.org.au/ncm2013-photos
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My Union National Council workshops At this year’s National Council, delegates participated in a series of short workshops. Not spooked by MOOCs – but alert and alarmed NTEU President, Jeannie Rea with Professor Stuart Bunt (UWA) presented a workshop that explored the impacts of the Massive Online Open Courses (MOOCs) initiative on Australian universities and how this is already determining the direction of the discourse, policy and activities on the applications of digital communication technology in learning and teaching, on flexible delivery, education quality, allocation of resources and the future of the academic profession. National Council passed a motion to develop a white paper to inform the NTEU’s policy position and advocacy on Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) and higher education. Amongst other things, the white paper will address the current take up by Australian Universities of partnerships to deliver MOOCs. See also: Sarah Gregson’s article on MOOCs (p.32) and Pat Wright’s column (p.38) in this edition of Advocate.
Social media and campaigning The Social Media and Campaigning workshop was conducted by Sarah O’Leary, a client service director for Common Interest Media, and Daniel Stone, one of the ACTU’s social media directors during the federal election. Sarah summarised the range of ads available through Facebook and YouTube, and looked at the important role paid promotion had in building a platform for the NTEU to project its message to a larger audience during the Vote Smart campaign. Taking the ACTU’s Facebook campaign as
a case study, Daniel looked at the role of social media as a tool for digital organising, and as a way of identifying new activists, particularly when combined with organising platforms/databases such as Nation Builder. Key points made by Sarah and Daniel were about the iterative nature of social media engagement. Their take home message was, ‘A social media campaign is the who, what, when and where of listening and responding to members and supporters, iterating content and collecting and activating supporter relationships in order to accomplish a clear and actionable objective’. National Councillors provided plenty of questions about the capacity for social media to contribute to grassroots campaigns, and the resources necessary to develop a meaningful social media presence.
Understanding the stats – what every activist should know Paul Kniest, NTEU Policy and Research Coordinator, and Ken McAlpine, NTEU Education and Training Officer, presented a workshop aimed at providing participants with a better understanding of where to find, how to interpret and how to use higher education statistics and data. Paul Kniest concentrated on financial data and explained the various sources including university Annual Reports, consolidated financial data published by the Department and other sources such as different State/Territory Auditors-General reports. The difference between audited financial reports such as those contained in Annual Reports and internal working documents such as budgets or financial briefings were also examined. Ken McAlpine explored the breath of university staffing data which is published by the relevant Commonwealth department, and explained the meaning of various definitions and concepts including fractional full time and work contract. In addition it was pointed out that when comparing staffing data between institutions or across years that it was important to ensure that you were comparing apples with apples and not confusing full time
equivalent (FTE) statistics with the number (head count) staff data. Ken also pointed out that a common mistake many people make when dealing with staffing data is to assume that the term ‘actual casual’ refers to the number (head count) of casual staff employed.
Negotiation tactics – a brief overview of the theory and an insight into the practice Helena Spyrou, NTEU Education and Training Officer, facilitated a workshop on negotiation. An example of how negotiation dynamics and tactics can be used when negotiating with the employer both during bargaining and in dealing with grievances and disputes was provided through the live simulation of three 10 minute scenarios: an individual grievance, a potential collective dispute and finalising a sub-clause in a bargaining negotiation. NTEU expert negotiators Linda Gale (Vic), Kathy Harrington and Annie Buchecker (SA), Josh Gava (NSW) and Michael McNally (Qld) gave award-winning performances in their role of either employer or NTEU representative. At the end of each scenario the group briefly deconstructed the tactics used by each party.
Campaigning workshop Senior State Organisers, Jo Kowalczyk (NSW) and Kate Wiggins (VIC) presented a workshop on campaigning to a plan. The workshop, which was well received by participants, was timely given the debate on Council floor about the importance of campaigning to build strength in our Branches in order to get strong Agreements at the table. One participant described the workshop as ‘the missing piece of the puzzle’. Participants talked about key elements of a comprehensive campaign plan, looked at an external and internal examples of a successful campaign that had been planned, and reflected on their current practice and the risks of not campaigning to a plan and/or not using multiple integrated strategies. Both sessions ended with a constructive discussion about future training opportunities in this critical area.
Boys living with cancer need male role models to help with their development and confidence at camps which involve everything from rolling in mud to laser tag.
Can you help? or know someone who can? campquality.org.au/volunteer or 1300 662 267
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My Union Life Members Eight exceptional NTEU members received Life Membership at the 2013 National Council.
Suzanne Jamieson Sydney Suzanne is a founding member of the NTEU and a very active member at all levels of the Union. Suzanne has been Branch Vice-President (Academic Staff ), Branch Committee member, National Councillor and Division Councillor. She was on the 2009 Branch Bargaining Team and played an important role at the table and, possibly more importantly, chairing most of the members’ meetings at the time. This was a difficult bargaining round with contentious issues; packing all the necessary discussion into a one hour lunchtime members’ meeting and keeping members engaged is not always a simple task. Suzanne made it look easy. Suzanne was an NTEU supported staff elected Fellow of the University of Sydney Senate 1999-2005. During this time, the University managers decided to ditch the Faculty of Rural Management and many undergraduate Nursing courses. This was more than a narrow industrial battle, it was also about what sort of university we are. It was a forerunner to many of the battles with the managerialism that dominates the University today. Suzanne was outspoken on the Senate, advocating for staff and for a University that held teaching and research, and not dollars, as the priority. Suzanne was always prominent at NTEU rallies and meetings against these cuts. Suzanne Jamieson began teaching at the University of Sydney in 1990 after a career as a senior public servant and a trade union official. For many years she represented the National Pay Equity Coalition in national wage cases before the former Australian Industrial Relations Commission and in the extensive litigation around equal pay for women in the New South Wales industrial jurisdiction. Her other principal research interest is in occupational health and safety, particularly as it affects women. Suzanne sat on the Operations Review Committee of the Independent Commission Against Corruption until 2006, was a member of the NSW Anti-Discrimination Board for ten years
and is the Director of the University’s Celtic Studies Foundation. She currently holds a large Australian Research Council Discovery Grant with two colleagues (Professor Ron McCallum and Associate Professor Toni Schofield) investigating the efficacy of OHS prosecutions in NSW and Victoria. Her colleagues have always noted her strong sense of social justice and concern about equity and fairness. Just one example: Suzanne played a key role in proposing reforms in regard to gender and diversity and on issues ranging from workplace bullying to the establishment of equity scholarships in her Faculty. On the Branch Committee, Suzanne was always prepared to give her opinion. Alongside this came support for the Union and support for the other Branch Committee members.
Dwight Zakus Griffith Dwight is known for his whole-hearted, boots-and-all approach to advocating for NTEU member rights. Although he attributes this to his days of playing rugby, anyone who has worked with Dwight knows that he is deeply passionate about fairness and support for workers, and that is the real reason for his strength in support of members and the Union. The Griffith Branch has often been grateful for Dwight’s determination to make it impossible for management to ignore our issues, both in bargaining and on-going discussions. His absolute determination to help improve (and defend) job-security for colleagues was born from his own experiences in both Canada (where he was a long-term member of the Canadian Association of University Teachers) and Australia during years of end-on, short, fixed-term contracts. During bargaining and at Academic Consultative Committee the fire that burned deep in his heart was clearly evident and it fuelled his ‘never give in, never surrender’ counter-response to management attempts to undermine the fairness of secure employment conditions. It was impossible to ignore Dwight in ‘full flight’ due not only to his habit of pulling himself up to his considerable height (even when seated) when expounding reason, but also because of his strong sense of justice and consequent indignation that became palpable whenever members’ well-being was threatened. Much of this passion flows from the fact that Dwight is also a remarkably caring and kind-hearted person, who genuinely takes to heart the hopes and concerns of
those around him. In many ways he has been like an older brother to members, someone who can be strong when needed, compassionate and helpful, but also very ready to laugh and have fun. We’re proud of Dwight and proud to nominate him for this award.
Jan Sinclair-Jones Curtin Jan Sinclair-Jones has recently retired from Curtin University after more than twenty-five years as an academic in the Department of Social Sciences and a committed union member on the campus. She is a founding member of the NTEU and her involvement on the Curtin campus has included 17 years on the Branch Executive and eight years as the Branch President, from 2005 to 2013. Jan has been a fearless and tireless Branch President, having been a member of the union enterprise bargaining team over the last five rounds. The last three campaigns as the lead advocate. Among the highlights of enterprise bargaining have been the achievement of a single agreement for academic and general staff and improvements in the regulation of academic workloads. And that is not to forget consistent salary increases. As well as making a significant contribution to the NTEU at Curtin, Jan has played a prominent role at both state and national levels within the NTEU; she was the WA Division Academic Vice-President for five years and remained on the local executive until her retirement. In addition, she has represented the WA Division as an National Councillor since 2004 and was a National Executive member for the last three years. Jan has personally represented and supported dozens of individual members with work-related issues over the years. It is a passion for working with NTEU members and ensuring that their rights are protected and improved, both individually and collectively, that has kept Jan committed over this time. It is this commitment which has probably been responsible for the healthy membership growth in NTEU members at Curtin, making it now the largest Branch in WA. If there is a single most memorable moment that demonstrated Jan’s leadership and commitment to staff it would have had to have been in 2005 when the NTEU successfully saw off an attempt by University management to make 25 staff redundant, allegedly for failing to produce a sufficient research output.
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My Union Reflecting on her time with the NTEU, Jan says that the greatest satisfaction has come from working with Branch and Division staff and members to build an effective and successful organisation with good delegate and membership structures. Jan will be a huge loss to the Curtin Branch, but through her strong union commitment, dedication and determination to maintain, or better, staff conditions she has left the branch in a strong position to face the union challenges on the Curtin campus into the future.
Beatrice Johnson ACU The Australian Catholic University (ACU) Branch has pleasure in nominating Beatrice (BJ) Johnson for LIfe Membership in acknowledgement of her service to the members of the Victorian Sub-Branch during her time with the University. She has been an outstanding champion for rights and expectations of members of the regional universities, at a time when being a union representative made more difficult by a questionable environment of questioning campus viability, WorkChoices and the issues that surround a small regional Ballarat Campus of this very decentralised university. As a result of BJ’s advocacy, ACU recognised travel time when academic staff were required to lecture at more than one campus. The Brisbane-based Examinations and Timetable staff were made aware of the issues involved in travelling and thus organised timetables accordingly. BJ’s work in making this a relevant and important part of the Victorian campuses working environment, along with keeping the rest of the University aware of the existence and necessity to see the Ballarat campus as a relevant part of the ACU, is one of the many reasons why we nominated her for life membership. She was the first line of support for members who ran into difficulties with the University management, and as she was at a small regional campus – generally fighting battles with support ‘coming down the Calder Highway’ and not at close hand. A committed supporter of the role of the regional university in Victoria, she was involved many activities that made these entities more part of the Union than would otherwise been possible. Carefully explaining how the Ballarat Campus functioned with respect to the Melbourne Campus and the University as a whole produced understandings that allowed the staff to feel more than added extras. Her role in the negotiation of the 2010-
2013 Enterprise Agreement, where her sound and reasoned counsel ensured that the University management was not left unaware of the requirements of our staff to maintain their quality in pedagogy and research in these difficult times. Her advocacy on the Workload Advisory Committee provided an effective counter-balance to the forays of others. She worked hard at making what could have been described as good idea damaged by administrative mendacity, accountable. The ACU Branch is poorer for her going, and asks that this award is seen as an acknowledgement of a commitment to improving the lot of the academic staff member in the regional environment. A commitment that was approached with sincerity and integrity – for many members in the Victorian Division have heard of BJ – and know that these qualities were on show at a time of great challenge to the union movement.
Melanie Lazarow Melbourne Melanie is a political activist and Union activist. Melanie saw possibilities for organisational strength in our new national union in 1993. She was instrumental in helping Library staff at Melbourne University move to the NTEU. Her strong leadership and her commitment to workers’ rights and conditions fostered the formation of a very active Library member sub-committee. Union membership in the Library grew to be – and continues to be – the highest of any group in the University’s workforce. Melanie was rightly proud of that, as she is a fervent believer in the power of solidarity. Melanie was a confident and tenacious representative, advocate and delegate (some would say amazingly stubborn) on behalf of members. Melanie regularly took on management over Library and University-wide issues and, with the backing of members, her upfront and unwavering style meant she gained many successful outcomes. She led local campaigns and brought broader social and political issues to the attention of all members. She served over a long period in various roles on the University of Melbourne Branch Committee (most recently Branch Secretary, and Vice President Professional Staff ) and has regularly served as a delegate on many NTEU National Council and Division meetings. A life membership will properly recognise Melanie’s Union leadership, knowledge and expertise.
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Ian Hunt Flinders Associate Professor Ian Hunt is a foundation member of the NTEU. Prior to that, he joined the Flinders University Staff Association automatically on employment at Flinders in mid-1970. In 1986, he was elected to the local Branch Committee. He later became Branch Vice-President and finally President in 1991-93, during negotiations of the Dawkins changes and the amalgamation of Flinders with Sturt CAE. In the new NTEU, Ian supported a strong degree of decentralisation and grass roots based organisation and became a committee member of the Flinders Branch of NTEU, 1994-5. Ian was NTEU representative on the Flinders University Enterprise Bargaining Group, 1994-1996, which negotiated the first agreement for Flinders under the new enterprise bargaining system introduced by Prime Minister Paul Keating. Ian served on the Flinders Branch Committee, NTEU, for a term from 1999-2000. In 2002, he was elected President and continued to serve as President until mid2007, when he was forced to resign due to ill health. During this period, Ian showed strong leadership of the NTEU to advocate for the interests of academic and professional staff. He was lead negotiator in bargaining with University management in 2003-4 and 2006. From 2007 until 2012, Ian served as Vice-President Academic for the Flinders Branch of NTEU. Ian’s exemplary leadership extended beyond the Flinders Branch and, in 2006, he was elected as SA Division Secretary for a two-year term, and elected from the Council of NTEU to serve a two-year term on the National Executive of NTEU. Ian is the only official of the Flinders Branch ever to serve on the National Executive, NTEU. In 2008, he was elected for a further two year term on the National Executive NTEU. Unfortunately, he was forced to resign from the National Executive due to ill health at the end of his second term but he has continued to serve on the Flinders Branch Committee, always providing sage advice and stiffening our resolve whenever we threaten to lower our industrial gaze. Even as he approaches retirement, he is a valued member, yet again, of the Negotiating Team in the current Enterprise Bargaining round. At every level and in every role, Ian has epitomised the highest standards of union representation. Never seeking personal
My Union Honouring a previous era’s warriors In a long overdue gesture, Derek Kew and Ian Hawkins were honoured with NTEU Life Memberships at 2013 National Council. Ian and Derek were truly icons, paving the way for the rest of us. We owe them a great debt.
Derek Kew Derek Kew was the first President of the Council of Academic Staff Associations (CASA) in Victorian CAEs, and a long standing member and office holder of the Association of Professional Staff (APS) at RMIT. Derek set the tone and style of CASA as being a united organisation that would take no nonsense from Directors, and kept reiterating logical and reasonable positions. If sweet reason failed, picket lines were organised, and Councils targeted, so that Councillors had to feel directly accountable for what they were allowing their Directors to do. CASA wasn’t prepared to just go away. Part of CASA’s strength was empowerment of its constituent staff associations. Decisions were not foisted on them by the CASA executive, but were jointly developed. Consequently local staff associations remained strong in membership numbers and local industrial muscle, with members feeling able to protest as they have the support of their colleagues. Even heads of departments were members.
Arthur Crook, Ian Hawkins, Matt McGowan, Derek Kew and Grahame McCulloch at Ian and Derek’s Life Membership presentations at National Council 2013.
Ian Hawkins Ian was a active member of local, state and federal organisations from 1967 until retirement in 1994. Memberships included Teachers’ College Staff Associations prior to autonomy, and Vice-President of the Council of Teachers’ Colleges Staff Associations which campaigned for autonomy and the formation of the State College of Victoria.
Derek along with other members of the Executive of the APS fought and won a long campaign against the then Director of RMIT, known as the Brigadier because of his military background. The APS contested the direction of RMIT under the Director. The APS was influential with the professional staff of RMIT and was significantly represented on the Academic Board. The differences between the Director and the APS were such that it was either the Director or the Executive of the APS would have leave RMIT.
Ian was Executive Member of CASA, the State College of Victorian Staff Associations Council (SCOVSAC) and the Union of Australian College Academics (UACA) from their formation until his retirement; second President of CASA; Executive Member of the Federation of College Academics for many years including one year as treasurer; President of the Academic Staff Association at the Melbourne Institute of Advanced Education. He represented staff on many government and Victorian Post-Secondary Education Commission (VPSEC) inquiries and committees; represented CASA and staff on the VPSEC inquiry into the roles and composition of the CAE Councils.
Derek was an advocate within CASA of direct involvement and assistance in disputes by members of the CASA Executive if the local staff association had been unable to resolve the dispute. Sometimes employees of CASA were involved in the dispute, but quite often the CASA intervention was undertaken by CASA Executive members from different institutions.
Ian continued Derek Kew’s leadership style but added his own inimitable overlay, of always able to see things from management perspective. ‘To be fair’ was his favourite saying. Quiet, empathic but also like a rock under pressure, Ian got through to our opponents, and patiently dealt with their defences and rationalisations.
gain or glory, he has served members in whatever position is thought best by those members. Associate Professor Hunt was absolutely fearless in representing the Union and its members’ interests throughout his distinguished academic career, and we have no doubt that his academic progression suffered as a result of his efforts on behalf of us all. In particular, the lead role he played during many bargaining negoti-
ations, where he fought to either extend or maintain our workplace rights, often under very difficult circumstances, did not endear him to University management. This was a source of some pride for Ian, as it was a pretty good indicator of the very effective role he played for all Flinders staff during those negotiations. Associate Professor Hunt was always willing to provide advice to subsequent Flinders Branch presidents, and the
advice he gave was very much appreciated. He was also an excellent mentor to those serving initial terms on the Branch Committee and has been very generous with the time he gave to us all. He has been a true comrade to many colleagues over 43 years and life membership of the NTEU is fitting recognition for his staunch and selfless contribution to the Union, which he proudly joined as a foundation member.
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My Union Vale David Muffet NTEU notes with sadness the passing in Melbourne in May 2013 of David Muffet. After an initial working life encompassing school-teaching and the military, David made the career change to tertiary education administration in the late 1970s, becoming Assistant Registrar and then Academic Registrar at the (then) Caulfield Institute of Technology. David contributed to a distinctive Victorian culture of general staff identity and assertiveness which saw the emergence of an industry-specific union (the Victorian Colleges Staff Association, later as the Australian Colleges and Universities Staff Association, one of the three major components of NTEU) in 1979. For his own part, while supportive of union involvement amongst his staff, he focussed on the professional development side and played a key role in the creation of what is now the Association for Tertiary Education Management, also being editor and co-editor of its journal the (now) Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management. A supportive and sympathetic boss, he was a dynamic and charismatic leader who enhanced the profile of administrative staff within his institution. He represented the best spirit of Australian egalitarianism, treating people on merit, not on the basis of hierarchical position. David also enjoyed the respect of his academic colleagues, a status probably bolstered by his completion of a doctorate in the early 1980s. Looking for a new challenge, David left the (by then) Chisholm Institute of Technology in 1984, to become the Australian Electoral Officer for Queensland, eventually returning to Melbourne to take up the Victorian version of that role in 1991, a post he held until his retirement in 2001. Retirement plans were cruelly affected by the onset of Alzheimer’s and a long illness followed. Vale David Muffet. Paul Rodan NTEU Life Member
Indigenous cultural competency training In 2011, the NTEU’s National Council unanimously passed a motion to develop and implement an Indigenous cultural competency training framework to skill all Union staff to work alongside Indigenous members and with Indigenous communities in the footprint of the university. This training, as well as the fostering of regional partnerships with Indigenous communities, was initially called for back in 2002 when the Gubba Caucus developed the 10 Point Plan For A Post-Treaty Union, a guiding document containing many proposals which have made the NTEU unique in the Australian union movement with regards to their commitment to pursuing Indigenous employment and social justice. The NTEU currently has designated Indigenous representation at all levels of the Union, and has had the national Indigenous claim for bargaining in place since 2002. In that time, Indigenous staffing numbers in the sector have doubled, whilst Indigenous membership of the NTEU has quadrupled to the point where nearly 42% of all Indigenous staff in the sector are NTEU members, and 62% of all Indigenous academic staff are members. It is therefore of the utmost importance that NTEU staff and representatives have the skills and connections to support them in their work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander members and communities. In passing the motion, National Council noted that this is an ongoing process for the Union, one that would not simply amount to a ‘tick-a-box’ cultural awareness training. The ultimate goal behind the development and implementation of the cultural competency training is to making connections, developing understanding and build respectful and long-term relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander members and their communities. The development of this ongoing framework will require the Union to work in partnership with members of local Indigenous communities within each university’s catchment area. To ensure cultural input from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities at
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all levels of the cultural training framework, the Indigenous Policy Committee and Union education staff, in collaboration with Indigenous communities, will facilitate three pilot workshops in early 2014. In implementing the training framework and workshops, the Union will invite members of the University Branch Committee and relevant Division and Branch staff to meet with members of their local Indigenous communities. The aim of each workshop will be to make connections, in particular, where the Elected Officials and Staff of the Union can learn about the local communities in cultural, historic and political terms and conversely, for those communities to have the opportunity to learn about the Union’s work to progress Indigenous education, employment and social justice. Through this sharing of knowledge and current understanding workshop participants will together begin to develop the content of the framework. Following the first three pilot workshops the Union, in consultation with the local Indigenous communities, will conduct a review of the content of the framework and method(s) of delivery. It is imperative that local community members are involved in the framework review, to show respect to those community members and to ensure the community is comfortable with the content and delivery. The implementation of the cultural competency training framework will form the basis on which relationships between the Union, community and members will work now and into the future. In replicating the many variances in cultures practiced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander across Australia, no two training workshops will be the delivered in the same way. The diversity in our cultural training framework must recognise the difference in communities; this is vital to ensure involvement and participation from Indigenous communities across the country. The Union will also offer training to local communities on the work of the Union and how we may be able to assist those communities with issues pertinent to them, such as lobbying, campaigning and developing funding submissions. The National Education and Training Unit alongside the National Indigenous Unit looks forward to working with communities, members, Branches and Divisions to see this important training undertaken by all elected officials and union staff in to the future. Adam Frogley, National Indigenous Coordinator and Helena Spyrou, Education & Training Officer.
My Union New staff Advocate welcomes recent new staff to the Union.
Glenn Osmand Finance Manager National Office Glenn comes to the NTEU replacing Jenny Savage as the Finance Manager. He has previously worked in London, UK for a year and in Calgary, Canada for 18 months with accounting firms, as well as in Melbourne. Glenn has a master’s degree and is a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants Australia.
Kate Wiggins Division Organiser Victoria Kate Wiggins has recently joined the Victorian Division in a newly created position of Senior State Organiser. Kate has 14 years experience as a union activist, delegate, organiser and educa-
tor. Before joining the NTEU, she worked for the ACTU, gaining experience in large scale campaigning and delivering intensive education programs for union officials. Kate has experience working with unions across many sectors and industries in her role with the ACTU. Kate is passionate about values based organising and campaigning. Outside of work Kate enjoys her role on the John Cummins Memorial Fund, a union affiliated charitable fund, cooking, reading and spending time with her young son.
Ray Hoo Data Analyst/ Database Programmer National Office Since graduating from the University of Melbourne, Ray has been an IT professional specialising in large data process, modelling and program development in medical imaging industry, logistics management industry and tertiary education admissions. Ray will fully utilise his expertise to support the bargaining teams, membership administration team and all the functions within NTEU.
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Rajendra Chaudhry Industrial Officer NSW Division Rajendra Chaudhry joined the NTEU in December 2012 as an Industrial Officer. He has had carriage of matters at UNSW, UNE and is now involved with preparation for bargaining for a new agreement at the University of Wollongong. He also looks after member interests at the College of Law and Australian Catholic University. Rajendra has studied and trained as an economist and lawyer in New Zealand and Australia respectively and worked in Fiji as a political adviser for the Fiji Labour Party from 1992–2000. He was also a Washington Pacific Fellow to the United States Congress in 1995. After the political turmoil of 2000 in Fiji, Rajendra came to Australia for further studies and worked for the Transport Worker Union of Australia (NSW Branch), where he was the organiser for the taxi industry and subsequently headed the External Organising Unit. From 2005–2012 he worked as a lawyer in private practice. In his current position, Rajendra is looking to the challenges of union work in the tertiary sector and hopes that it will further prepare him for greater challenges that he relishes.
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?
Update online: Go to www.nteu.org.au Click on ‘Member Login’ ID = Your NTEU membership number Password = Your surname in CAPITALS
Î If you have nominated your home address as your NTEU contact address, you must update it.
Go to ‘My Home’ Select ‘Your Profile’ and then select ‘View Details’
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?
Please contact: Melinda Valsorda, Membership Officer ph (03) 9254 1910 email email@example.com
Have your direct debit account details changed?
Tamara Labadze, Finance Officer ph (03) 9254 1910 email firstname.lastname@example.org
Are you leaving university employment? 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?
Contact your institution’s Payroll Dept urgently
NTEU ADVOCATE • vol. 20 no. 3 • November 2013 • www.nteu.org.au/advocate • page 55
NATIONAL TERTIARY EDUCATION UNION
I want to join NTEU I am currently a member and wish to update my details The information on this form is needed for aspects of NTEU’s work and will be treated as confidential.
YOUR PERSONAL DETAILS
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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.
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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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‡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 email@example.com
Joan Hardy Scholarship NTEU has established a Scholarship in memory of Joan Hardy, our inaugural Vice-President, who died in 2003. The Joan Hardy Scholarship for post-graduate nursing research recognises the contributions Joan Hardy made to higher education and higher education unionism. Applicants must be currently enrolled in an academic award of an Australian public university, expect to submit the thesis within one year of being awarded the Scholarship, and be a union member. Applications close on Friday 31 January 2014.
Full details at nteu.org.au/joanhardy
NTEU earrings Silver hook, 15mm diameter, $10 each Buy from www.nteu.org.au/shop
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