Simon Birmingham plays a (very) straight bat

“And the Boycott goes to Birmo”

Simon Birmingham played a straight bat to everything bowled up by Patricia Karvelas on RN yesterday in an interview where he gave nothing away on what he would or would not give up to get his higher education proposals through the Senate. It was like watching Boycott bat (oh come on, Geoffrey, Geoffrey Boycott), technically perfect but not exactly entertaining. Senator Birmingham gave nothing away on what he would do to convince the senators he needs.

Unless of course there was just a hint of light between bat and pad when he mentioned enabling courses that he intends to put to tender and have students pay for via a loan.

“We do believe that in terms of enabling programs it is absolutely worthwhile for us to go out to tender, to actually ensure the places that are there are ones that get the best result in terms of students being able to go on to university afterwards; to increase the completion rate and the transition rate into university, and to make sure that there is still no upfront barrier in relation to those students undertaking those important pathway programs,” he said.

If a crossbencher or three (morning Senator Xenophon and colleagues) could convince him that this policy would create a barrier, perhaps the minister might be prepared to remove it, if it meant other runs on the board. But then again he might not.