What the president tweets tells us he is different, really different

The Murdoch-NTEU blue: Murdoch playing a long game and playing it alone say IR experts

Good numbers in any language: ELICOS sales up

Fasten your seat belts as AIR UNSW expands


Understatement of the day

The people who manage universities student housing meet next Thursday – two days after the release of the Human Rights Commission report on sexual assault and harassment on campus. “The survey is relevant for all providers of student accommodation,” the Australasian Association of College and University Housing Officers suggests, gosh really?

What he tweets is what we get

Trump on Twitter reveals the classic pattern of entrepreneurial creative destruction

Martin Obschonka from QUT with colleagues in Germany and the US have used machine learning to analyse tweets of CEOs and entrepreneurs for their patterns of language and content, which can “reveal valid information on a person’s personality profile.”

Obschonka and Christian Fisch’s specific analysis of Donald Trump’s pre-presidential tweets find he has the classic character of entrepreneurs, who “not only dare to be different they are different.” They found he had an “extreme entrepreneurial drive” for power, change and disruption – which is good in business but could be a touch tricky when running a country. It is why, they suggest there are “so few highly entrepreneurial types in political leadership roles,” and why those that win office don’t enjoy the job. “One could ask whether extremely entrepreneurial personalities feel happy and productive in political leadership, and whether they show persisting continuity in staying in such a job for a longer time.”

CMM wonders if the question has occurred to Mike Pence.

French food for thought

The Monash Law School is holding a gala dinner (on August 16), “to celebrate the achievements of Monash law faculty”. Dinner speaker is former chief justice of the High Court,  Robert French. There is no word on whether he will run a charity auction.

Good numbers in any language

Industry group English Australia reports record student numbers last year

Some 173 000 students took English language course in Australia last year, up to 2 per cent on 2015 and an industry record. The growth continues a trend from 2012, when the market bottomed at 124 000. Growth in total weeks of study was stronger, up 10 per cent and at 13.4 weeks average course length was up on the 2013-14 high of 12.9.

China is the biggest market supplying 37 000, but Japan grew strongly with a 19 per cent increase to 23 000.

NSW continues the biggest provider with 67 000 students ahead of Victoria (42 000) and Queensland (39 000). VET based colleges have 31 per cent of the market, ahead of university bodies with 26 per cent.

Sky-high WEHI

The medical research industry isn’t over overburdened by modesty but there was a seriously understated announcement yesterday

The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research has sold a part-share in royalties for cancer drug Venetoclax for up to $US$325m, including US$250m cash up front. The sale results from research that started in 1988, leading to the drug being approved in the US, EU and Australia last year for treatment of forms of lymphocytic leukaemia. Trials with other blood cancers continue. The research journey is (very well) documented by WEHI here. Brilliant just brilliant

To make Macquarie safe

Days before the release of the Human Rights Commission’s reports on sexual assault at Australian universities Macquarie U students are demanding action from management

Some 26 student groups have called on Macquarie University to change the way it deals with sexual assault to include compulsory “vicarious trauma and responding with compassion training” for all university staff and “relevant student organisations.” The groups also demand the university create an online learning module on “consent and respectful relationships” which all students must successfully complete before taking any further classes.

“These demands are not unreasonable. They are the minimum that should be expected of Macquarie University to ensure that this university community is safe and comfortable for all,” the students state.

“This is Your VC speaking”

UNSW has bought a $1m twin-engine Piper Seminole aircraft to use in training aviation students, which is no big deal given there are already eight in the university flight. Sorry, there is no UNSW1 747 used by the VC.

Solitary strategy

Murdoch U is playing a very long game and playing it alone

The Fair Work Commission is considering Murdoch U’s application to cancel the effect of its last enterprise agreement, which is bitterly opposed by the National Tertiary Education Union. The university’s move is widely interpreted as a way to push the union into signing a new agreement, with much less detailed terms and conditions. Unless, as critics claim, it is a ploy reintroduce the industry-wide award, which specifies lower rates of pay (Murdoch U adamantly denies this).

The university’s application certainly looks like a precedent setting push which universities around the country are closely watching and would love to follow. But learned readers adept in the dark arts of IR tell CMM it isn’t and they’re not.

For a start, they say, the case will probably not be settled in the life of the round of enterprise agreements now being negotiated. “Assuming that the FWC does agree to cancel the Murdoch EA, and then assuming that this decision survives the year or two of inevitable appeals up to the High Court, the success or failure of the Murdoch initiative won’t be apparent for some years after that final decision,” one says.

And most vice chancellors simply do not have the stomach for this size of stoush. “It seems a bit scary to VCs, who want to be liked by staff and who also want to be undistracted by industrial concerns … bargaining will continue at almost every university for some time yet with Murdoch as a sideshow,” another adds.

With or without a FWC win, Murdoch will have succeeded if five years from now,” they have actually implemented clearer and simpler processes for managing staff and making workplace changes.”

In the meantime, a close observer of enterprise bargaining suggests, don’t rule out a deal at Murdoch.

Weighed down by long runs

James Cook U researchers sweat the sweaty stuff

Weight training can drain more than running does, James Cook U sports scientist Kenji Doma says a research review shows. But mixing resistance and endurance sessions can reduce endurance development, without the right recovery time.

JCU is building a brand in applied sports research – last month a team reported an analysis of 13 performance indicators in every game of last year’s nation rugby league competition to identify optimum tactics (CMM June 23). They should get cracking on an analysis of what will work on Ninja Island for next year.


achievements of the working week


Graham Currie and Alexa Delbosc from Monash University have won the research impact award from the Australian Road Research Board for their work on public transport fare evasion, initially in Melbourne. Implementing recommendations in their research reduced evasion by 7 per cent, saving $50m per annum. Their work is now used in London.

Refugee law researcher Jane McAdam (UNSW) is a winner of the 2017 Calouste Gulbenkian Prize, sharing the Eu 100 000 prize with the Hungarian Helsinki Committee.

Back in December 2015 Eileen Baldry stepped down as acting dean of arts at UNSW to become “academic lead for equity and diversity.” By March this year she was chair of the diversity, equity and inclusion board and she is now announced as DVC for the portfolio.

Gregg Suaning has joined the University of Sydney as professor of biomedical engineering. He moves from UNSW.

Henrietta Marie is appointed to the Commonwealth’s National Cultural Heritage CommitteeAssociate Professor Marie works in indigenous engagement at CQU’s Cairns campus.

Curtin University has confirmed Nigel de Bussy as business school PVC. He has been acting in the position and moves up from his substantive post as head of the marketing school.

The South Australian Young Tall Poppy Science Awards are announced. Jayakumar Bose, plant scientist at the University of Adelaide, Laura Weyrich, paleomicrobiologist, University of Adelaide, Ashleigh Smith, dementia researcher, University of South Australia, Kate Fennell, behavioural medicine, University of South Australia, Zlatko Kopecki, wound healing, University of South Australia, Zoe Doubleday, ocean ecology, University of Adelaide, Lisa Beatty, psycho-oncology, Flinders University and Frances Corrigan, University of Adelaide, brain injury

Trade journal Lawyers Weekly has announced shortlists for the many categories in its annual awards. Nominees for academic of the year are: Matthew Bell (construction law) University of Melbourne, Jacques Duvenhage (employment law) Notre Dame Australia – Fremantle and Michael Legg (civil litigation and class actions) UNSW.