Higher ed high stakes as intel committee meets

The Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intel and Security holds its first public hearing today on “national security risks affecting the higher education and research sector”

It is going to be big day, with experts, (including analyst of Chinese Communist Party influence in Australia, Alex Joske), espionage (ASIO chief Mike Burgess) and advocates (representatives from Human Rights Watch). A bunch of officials will also attend.

And there will be a big finish. The last witness is Drew Pavlou, outspoken critic of Uni Queensland’s links with the Chinese Government. So outspoken TV’s 60 Minutes favourably covered his case (CMM July 20 2020).

There is a bunch of Commonwealth Parliament committees with inquiries examining universities and issues they are involved in at present, but this is the big one. If the committee concludes that institutions are exposed to foreign interference to an extent that threatens the nation, university lobbies will spend time defending their members rather than making their case as fundamental national goods.