HE stars to shine bright on the Tehan bill

The Senate’s Education and Employment Legislation Committee hears today from an intriguing selection of university leaders    

The committee secretariat does not muck around. On September 3, the Senate asked the committee to look at the government’s bill to change the rates of funding for undergraduate courses.

Last night the secretariat had published 76 submissions and announced a full schedule of hearings today.

Not that it had a lot of choice – the committee report on the legislation is due on the 25th.

The witness list includes the usual experts and advocates. Universities Australia, the National Union of Students and the National Tertiary Education Union will all appear. As will the Group of Eight and Helen Bartlett from Uni Sunshine Coast, presumably also in her capacity of the Regional Universities Network.

For people who like their policy spread-on thick there are no less than four witnesses from the Melbourne Centre for the Study of Higher Education.

VCs appearing include Michael Spence from Uni Sydney. So will Simon Maddocks (Charles Darwin U) and Barney Glover (Western Sydney U), both members of the Innovative Research Universities, which has made a carefully critical case for passing a heavily amended version of the bill.

And there are some intriguing independents – Margaret Sheil from QUT, Alex Zelinsky from Uni Newcastle and Paul Wellings from Uni Wollongong all from institutions with reps in applied technology.

Rufus Black from the University of Tasmania will be worth watching given a senator from his state, Jacqui Lambie, may have the casting vote on the bill.