TEQSA has not offered evidence for Avondale’s university status

The roll call of Australian universities has gotten longer. On 1 July, the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA) and the Education Minister, Alan Tudge, announced that the former Avondale University College is now an “Australian university”.

Three other institutions, the National Institute of Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA), the Australian Film, Television and Radio School (AFTRS), and Moore Theological College, also acquired new classifications: they are now “university colleges”.

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WE’VE GOT YOU ON FILE: AUSTRALIA’S MCCARTHYIST MOMENT

Some people think that McCarthyism – casting doubt, without evidence, on the loyalties of people in public life – was dead and buried with the Cold War.

We might wish it were so, but the label fits the way Australia’s most important research-funding institution has been brow-beaten into putting supposed national-security concerns ahead of academic excellence.


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THE PATENT BOX: NOT AN INNOVATIVE IDEA

Q: Who could believe that that a 20-year-old idea with a record of failure overseas, and which has been opposed by Australia’s Chief Economist, holds the key to economic recovery?

A: Treasurer Josh Frydenberg, who in his Budget speech announced the introduction of a patent box – a reduced rate of tax on the income companies earn from patents.

According to the Treasurer, the patent box will create incentives for manufacturers to invest in R&D, even though it is applied at the end of the innovation process, not at the outset.

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BASIC RESEARCH IS WHERE APPLIED RESEARCH SUCCESS STARTS

Everything old is new again, at least in the Morrison Government’s attitude to research funding.

Last week the Education Minister, Alan Tudge, gave a speech in which he declared that the Government wanted “academics to become entrepreneurs, taking their ideas from the lab to the market. We want them to be properly rewarded for their breakthroughs and their engagement with business …”

The minister’s remarks spruiked a $5.8 million scoping study for a University Research Commercialisation Scheme, which is expected to be announced in the Budget in May.

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Don’t let democracy die

It may sound too obvious to need stating, but in this time of crisis some of Australia’s leaders are ignoring it: without Parliament, parliamentary democracy cannot function.

It is Parliament that scrutinises and evaluates the actions of the executive government, holding the Government to account and protecting the liberties of citizens.

That is why the Senate’s Scrutiny of Delegated Legislation committee, which reviews all laws made by regulation – i.e. by action of the executive government – has resolved to continue its work during this time when sittings of Parliament may be suspended for an extended period of time.

Throughout the history of the Commonwealth – until now – Parliament continued to sit, no matter what crisis confronted the nation, whether war, natural disaster or social and economic calamity.

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NO FUTURE IN TALKING DOWN TO THOSE WHO LACK A VOICE

The findings of Labor's inquiry into its federal election defeat will be handed to the ALP National Executive tomorrow, but we already know several things that help explain the result and the challenges ahead for the party.

Those challenges run much deeper than the explanations favoured by commentators who attribute Labor's loss to supposedly unpopular tax policies or the failings of individuals.

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An Academic Iron Curtain?

The Balkanisation of international research is not in Australia’s interest, argues Kim Carr

In these times of heightened anxiety about China’s global influence, Australia’s scientists and researchers all too often endure the smear that they are collaborating with a foreign power. The accusation, made by hawks within the defence and security establishments, conflates several things that are not the same: concern at the activity of international students on Australian campuses; the need to uphold quality assurance standards in higher education institutions; the need to protect our cybersecurity; and the importance of genuine international research collaboration. The hawks – and those in the media who uncritically report their remarks – ought to know that these are all different things. 

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BOOSTING SCIENCE AND RESEARCH IS A NO-BRAINER

The Liberal government is out of touch with modern Australia — and nothing shows it more than the government's relentless war on science.

The Abbott-Turnbull-Morrison government has slashed funding for research in universities and public agencies such as CSIRO, shedding more than 1300 science jobs since 2013.

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Politics wrecked the car industry

Now the Australian Coalition Government must decide if it will protect the high-skill high-wage jobs in advance manufacturing that it generated, writes shadow Industry Minister Kim Carr.

When General Motor’s Australian subsidiary, Holden, shut down its assembly plant last month, Australia’s 100-year-old tradition of producing passenger cars came to a halt.

The other automotive manufacturer with an Australian production facility, Toyota, had ceased operations several weeks earlier.

The closures provoked a spate of commentary, locally and around the world, much of it intended to demonstrate that the decisions made by Holden and Toyota were inevitable.

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TOTAL END TO OUR CAR INDUSTRY DOESN’T HAVE TO HAPPEN

 

Today the last Australian-built Camry will roll off the production line at Toyota’s assembly plant in Altona.

Some Australians who might not instinctively describe General Motors Holden as an American firm still think of Toyota as a Japanese car maker.

Yet the company has been making cars here for more than half a century, since 1963, and has shaped Australia’s automotive industry and its culture as much as Holden and Ford have.
 

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