Who’s on NXT as the elite unis lobby demands senators act 

Notre Dame appoints ex Lib minister and elite mandarin as chancellor and deputy

plus: what unis want staff to tell them

and: innovative approach: get the grant then find the funds

Athenians of Acton

“Which fake #Thucydides quote doing the rounds on Twitter is your favourite?”, asked ANU postgraduate Luke Hennessy yesterday (also on Twitter). Good question for a classicist drinking game.

Who’s on NXT

Nick Xenophon and friends will decide the fate of the higher education cuts

The Group of Eight warn the government’s proposed budget cuts will be very bad for South Australia, potentially costing 150 jobs at Go8 member, the University of Adelaide and hurting regional centres as well as the capital. It’s up to the Nick Xenophon Team to save the state, the Eight announce.

“We are hopeful those senators can see through the government’s disingenuous presentation of the cuts and recognise the social, financial and economic damage to our state they would cause.”

Curiously, there is no mention of two other SA crossbench senators, Cory Bernardi and Lucy Gichuhi.

While no one knows how the senate will vote the general agreement is that Victorian Derryn Hinch and the three NXT senators, all from South Australia, are swing voters who will decide the fate of the bill. To assist Senator Xenophon and his colleagues make up their minds, Go8 CEO Vicki Thomson, has warned South Australians what is at stake in an op ed in Adelaide’s Advertiser newspaper.

The NTEU has asked the parliamentarians and parties that voted against the Pyne package what they think of the Birmingham bill. All are opposed, except for NXT, which the union says has not responded.

No go for government

Greens red-light government plan

But there is no doubting what The Greens thinks about the Birmingham plan; “(it) just goes to show that the government has it in for young people. The Australian Greens will continue to represent them in the parliament by blocking these ludicrous cuts,” education spokesperson, yet another South Australian senator, said Sarah Hanson-Young said yesterday.

New power couple

Notre Dame announces new chancellor and deputy

Howard Government minister Chris Ellison will become chancellor of the University of Notre Dame Australia on January 1. And Michael L’Estrange will serve as his deputy. In fact, Mr LeStrange was appointed deputy chancellor in April but this was only made public yesterday, the university says it wanted to make a joint announcement.

Mr Ellison served in John Howard’s ministries for a decade from1997 and left the Senate in 2009. He has served as a governor of UND-A since 2009 and as a director since 2015.

Mr LeStrange long career in public service culminated in four years as secretary of DFAT. He served as head of ANU’s National Security College between 2009 and 2014, when he became a director of the university.  Mr Ellison replaces Peter Prendiville.

Explosive answers

“But enough of us talking about us, tell us, what do you think of us”

Universities are asking staff what they think about the place in the annual Staff Engagement Survey. Managements avidly read, but closely hold the results of these anonymous questionnaires, what with workers not always being complimentary.

The survey seeks opinions on a five-point scale, ranging from strongly disagree to strongly agree. Core issues covered include ethics, response to sexual harassment, work processes and resources, perceptions of senior management, workload and morale. The survey also includes three open-ended opportunities for comment; on institutional achievement, what could be better and an invitation to vent.

Fed U’s big new B

Fed U now has a Brisbane campus as well as ones in Berwick and Ballarat

Federation U’s push towards improved profitability (CMM yesterday) continues with the announcement that its Brisbane campus is ready to admit students on schedule, come November. The market is business and IT internationals.

Getting the regulation right

For-profit services don’t have to go wrong if properly policed

The Economic Society of Australia  asks its member panel “does privatisation of human services hurt outcomes.” In the aftermath of the VET FEE HELP catastrophe it’s a bit like asking whether vampires can be trusted with keys to blood banks.

The University of Queensland’s John Quiggin certainly thinks the voced scandal makes the case against privatising services. “The VET FEE-HELP disaster, which even for-profit advocates admit, is not an aberration but part of a consistent pattern, replicated in the US and elsewhere. Theory predicts, and experience shows, that for-profit providers will benefit more from gaming the system than from efficient service provision.”

But not so Julie Toth (Australian Industry Group) who suggests the reports of “various royal commissions and inquiries” do not show for-profit providers perform worse than not for profits or direct government providers. “The design, delivery and oversight of service delivery arrangements are more important than the identity of the provider.”

As Gigi Foster (UNSW) argues; markets can work in health and education when consumers can choose between for-profits and quality, low-cost public providers, with “independent (i.e. ‘not captured’) monitors,” in charge of quality certification.  “It’s not impossible to engineer” Associate Professor Foster concludes. But as ASQA demonstrated in the VET F-H mess it isn’t easy.

Get the feds’ funds first

It seems not all CRC P bids had everything up front

The Cooperative Research Centres Association reports that some government funding offers for the last CRC Projects round have not gone ahead because bidders did not have their IP lined up or had not organised the cash they promised. “It seems like some companies may be relying on the CRC-P offer to raise private sector capital,” the CRC A suggests.

UoQ academic honoured

Andreas Obermair from the University of Queensland is awarded Cancer Australia’s Jeannie Ferris Recognition Award for his work on gynaecological cancer.

Dolt of the day

IS CMM, who reported yesterday that Charles Sturt University and campus unions have begun enterprise bargaining. In fact, discussions are said to have been underway “for months.”

 Case against a new med school

Different country same playbook

A university with a medical school explains why everything is ok and that a university without a medical school, but which wants one, should get back in its box. “The issue is not the number of medical graduates but rather where they practise.” And the way to fix this is rural training hubs (perhaps of the sort the feds have announced), which have “junior doctors gaining rural community experience, general practitioner and rural hospital medicine vocational trainees … working in each hub.”

No, it is not the medical establishment arguing against the Murray Darling Medical School; it is University of Auckland VC, Stuart McCutcheon explaining why the University of Waikato should not get a med school.