Contrasting takes on how much the government contributes to uni costs

The data from Figure 4.1 reveal that there has been a radical change in the nature of funding, particularly from 1987 to 2000. … the increase in revenue coming from students, which went from just a couple of per cent to about 25 per cent.

Bruce Chapman, Government Managing Risk, Routledge, London & New York, 2006, p.55.

Bruce Chapman, who developed the original scheme for the Hawke-Keating government, yesterday disputed the Howard Government’s claims that students are paying only about 25 per cent of the cost of a degree. …
“Does it stop people going to university? The answer to that seems to be no. But the next question is how much should students pay compared to taxpayers. We’re now at a level of about 45 per cent of the recurrent cost. I think the case for making that higher is very weak.”

Bruce Chapman, The Australian, 29 December 2006.

Ok, he’s not being completely inconsistent. The book – in an annoying feature of academic publishing – uses old data and the same basis for assessing the student contribution as the government, looking at what percentage of the whole university enterprise students pay for and not just the teaching component.

On my calculations, Chapman as reported this morning is right on the student contribution to the nominal cost of their tuition (ie, ignoring the cross-subsidy from fee-paying students), though if we allowed for likely bad debt it goes down to 38%. But in a debate where no data or fudged data are the norm, Bruce shouldn’t be surprised if his own words are quoted back at him.

Contrasting takes on the lady in the wheelie bin

KATHERINE SCHWEITZER lived a remarkable life: Holocaust survivor, refugee, wife, a generous benefactor to good causes in Sydney.

The Sydney Morning Herald, 29 December 2006.

A woman who was a member of a social group of Hungarian Holocaust survivors, which included Ms Schweitzer, put forward a premise that she may have argued with a taxi driver. “She was a terrible racist,” said the woman, who asked not to be identified. “She didn’t like Aborigines, or any other race.

“She didn’t like any advantages they were gaining.”

The Australian, 29 December 2006.

Another reminder of the complexities of ‘racism’ – that even those who have been its victims do now always draw the conclusions we might expect.