Pace picks up on paper chase

There’s an AI for all the legal stuff you don’t see on TV

Harvey (“unprecedented legal AI”) provides content for contracts, compliance, due diligence and so on – so that lawyers can review what they are asked for, rather than doing the grunt themselves. Bad for junior lawyers keen on starting corporate careers, and the law schools who need students in numbers. Standby for arguments that no bot will ever out argue Cleaver Greene.

There’s more in the Mail

In Features this morning

As the great and the good assemble for the Universities Australia conference Maree Meredith (Uni Canberra) calls on university communities to speak up on the Voice to Parliament. (UNSW already has, scroll down).

plus Claire Macken from RMIT Vietnam, explains why campus buzzes seven days a week, HERE.

with Sandhya Maranna (Uni SA) and colleagues, who set out the top five enablers and barriers for on-line educators. New in Commissioning Editor Sally Kift’s series, Needed now in learning and teaching.

UNSW backs the Voice to Parliament

The university affirms support for the Uluru Statement from the Heart and the call, “to enshrine a First Nations Voice in the Constitution”

A media release Friday announced the affirmation is in, “a formal statement approved by the university’s Management Board.”

Apparently, “the statement reinforces the university’s on-going commitment to an equitable and just society. UNSW recognises that the detail of the Voice is subject to ongoing consultations involving Indigenous peoples, government and the community.”

CMM requested a copy of the statement, but was told “the university doesn’t release Executive documents.”  Which rather reduces the impact of UNSW’s sector-leading statement.

Tech eng lobby gets the message on National Reconstruction Fund

ATSE makes no grab for cash

The Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering sets out how the National Reconstruction Fund can meet government mandates. In its submission to the Commonwealth’s consultation paper, ATSE proposes ways the fund can investment in most of the industries the government nominates for the fund

And, unlike some lobbies, it’s not all about the academy. Just about the only recommendations that will serve its constituents are not especially acquisitive, “funding for both early-stage research and commercialisation of negative emission technology” and “assist early-stage entrepreneurs and small and medium enterprises in medical manufacturing as they progress through the regulatory process,” for example.

Unis run like greedy corporations: union chief

“It is heartbreaking our public universities are being run like greedy corporations with no respect for paying hard-working staff what they’re owed,” NTEU president Alison Barnes says

Universities have underpaid higher education staff $83m “in recent years” according to a new report from the National Tertiary Education Union.

The union states it reached the figure by analysing 34 separate cases, where amounts are disclosed, at 22 public universities, with three more cases on-going.

“This report exposes what we have known for some time – systemic wage theft has been baked into universities’ business models,” Dr Barnes adds.

The union attributes underpayments to a range of factors,

* staff, generally casual academics, being paid a fixed rate, rather than for the time a task takes

* staff not being paid at the correct rate

* entitlements not being paid.

What the union wants

The NTEU warns, “casual workers can be subject to power inequities and fear of reprisal –  including the loss of work. It call for,

*  the Commonwealth to “criminalise wage theft”

* require universities to set and report on, reducing casual and increasing continuing employment

* state and federal parliamentary inquiries into causes and solutions.

A mess of universities making

The union’s claims are terribly timed for universities with underpayment allegations to answer and/or cases to rectify. Last week the Fair Work Ombudsman launched a second case in the Federal Court against the University of Melbourne, alleging underpayments (CMM February 13).

And in Senate Estimates last week FW Ombudsman Sandra Parker renewed her criticism of universities with underpayment issues, warning that breaching their enterprise agreements is very serious and an issue for the O’Kane Universities Accord team to consider. Education Minister Jason Clare has specified “employment conditions” as of Professor O’Kane’s brief.

Monash U’s new equity, diversity, inclusion, framework

“we have a lot more work to do”

The new statement replaces the original, covering 2018-21, which the university acknowldges had two limitations, “disparate, duplicated reporting” and “a lack of knowledge and application of intersectionality.”

“By containing our work to action plans supporting key marginalised identities, we have not adequately captured many people’s lived experiences that cross between and through these identities” Monash states.

The themes of the new framework include,

* “we need to ensure every member of the Monash community, particularly our non-Indigenous members, are aware of the active role they need to play in dismantling colonialism”

* dismantle silos, “to ensure we can all learn from one another, and support each other”

* “empower all members of our community to advance equity, diversity and inclusion”

* “go beyond compliance, and instead create an environment for creative, innovative solutions to complex social issues”

Waiting on the vote outcome at Curtin U

Staff voted on a management pay and conditions offer last week – the union wants to know the result

The offer is opposed by the National Tertiary Education Union, and management went to staff after a tough bargaining round.

The poll closed on Thursday and NTEU general secretary Damien Cahill wants to know the result. He wrote to VC Harlene Hayne on Saturday, asking for the result to be released by 5pm yesterday, arguing, “it is highly unusual for results not to be announced quickly.” Dr Cahill added NTEU members at Curtin U are scheduled to take protected industrial action over enterprise bargaining today and that the results are needed, “in order that members of the NTEU are not inadvertently put at risk by having their action deemed unprotected industrial action through no fault of their own.”

Yesterday Curtin U told CMM, “the vote closed at 5pm Thursday and is currently being reconciled by the independent administrator.”