University colleges are now a thing

For people who were unaccountably not watching the Senate yesterday, the provider category standards bill passed 

Labor’s Kimberley Kitching said the Opposition would back the bill, but expressed concerns at more work  for regulator TEQSA for the same money and she didn’t like the new category of “university colleges” which meant private providers could present themselves as universities “without being subject to the same strict standards.”

She also spoke on the government’s many failings on universities, in contrast with Labor’s splendid performance in government. But she first concluded “I commend the bill” before, switching mid-sentence to a less enthusiastic “we support the bill.”

Senator Mehreen Faruqi (Greens-NSW) also supported the bill, with even less enthusiasm, pointing to the “lack of clarity” ion powers held by the minister and TEQSA, on the university college category and the “extent of the delegation to TEQSA and the minister, “which she said is not proportionate or appropriate.

“The standards by which we judge our universities and the research they produce should be scrutinised by the Senate,” she said. Senator Fehruqi also pointed to many other failings and called for (doomed) amendments.

Labor’s Kim Carr also spoke, delivering a less than impressed critique of the bill, based on decades HE policy experience.

And yet the bill passed.