The precariat has had it with poverty

There’s a petition to the House of Reps for a $10 000 increase in Commonwealth PhD scholarships, to match the $39 000 minimum wage

“ PhD students contribute enormously to Australia’s research every year, with their time accounting for 56 per cent the total research output. … We believe the government should support higher education and ensure a competitive standing for Australia,” petitioners state.

Their point is accepted by various universities who responded to the arrival of inflation by increasing what they add to the Commonwealth stipend. ANU added $5000 last September and at UNSW a two-stage increase will go to $37 680 next year (CMM September 19 and December 7 ’22).

And Universities Australia’s Catriona Jackson warns PhD graduate numbers are falling and the stipend rate must rise to “a more liveable level,” (CMM May 5).

But paid by who, universities or the Commonwealth?

Given the public opinion hiding unis have taken over low pay and no pay for the casual teaching precariat, including PGs, institutions are obvious targets to take the blame – and the government is not about to correct the impression.