Kim Carr suppresses cognitive dissonance

In a speech to the AFR‘s higher education conference today, Science and Research Minister Kim Carr, showing Nelsonesque levels of capacity to suppress cognitive dissonance, said that:

the Government will expect universities to provide better, more meaningful data on research costs through activity-based reporting, and to meet specific performance targets to be developed in consultation with the sector. …

The Government will use any additional funding as a lever to:

* drive structural reform within institutions and across the sector,
* increase transparency and accountability,
* ensure that resources are allocated rationally and used efficiently,
* make universities responsible for their decisions, and
* improve the way universities manage their estate.
These are precisely the same ends we will expect to achieve through mission-based funding compacts.

but at the same time…

Compacts will increase institutional autonomy …

So unprecedented interference in how universities run their business increases their autonomy?

I know Orwell is overused, but how can I resist?:

War is Peace.
Freedom is Slavery.
Ignorance is Strength.

5 thoughts on “Kim Carr suppresses cognitive dissonance

  1. Carr engaging in Duckspeak?? Doubleplusgood!

    Andrew, you oldthinker, you unbellyfeel AusSoc.

    If you’re not careful you’ll find yourself in the basement of Miniluv.


  2. Ahh yes, the old activity-based costing. Back again. We tried that about ten years ago. The consulting-accountants they sent in to explain how to fill out the spreadsheet almost cried. So many undiagnosed asperger types asking questions and telling them that what they proposed just simply didn’t capture their working day. The results of exercise promised upon completion have just never materialised. 🙂


  3. Chairman Kim is not the brightest spark, and while he was restricted to playing Tonka Toys with the car industry and bonds undies in the pre-GFC days, was not too dangerous. But the constraints of rational policy making have been loosenned in recent times as we have all too often seen. Like a few of the dreamers from Whitlam’s crew, Carr is now a bull with a ticket to a China shop, and I suspect others will be cleaning up the mess for years to come.


  4. One problem with all this accountability stuff in terms of research grants is that it is next to impossible to actually stick to the budget you proposed since you never get all that you ask for. This means you can never do some things you want, try and do others on the cheap (and fail), etc., so it’s no surprise if you end up with a weird budget and bits left over that get weirdly spent. There are also other problems like trying to estimate inflation/Aus dollar costs over 5 years. Beats me how all this is done — I always just make a number, which it appears is what everyone else does.
    I must admit that when I worked in places that actually did give you the amount you asked for, I was very surprised — you actually had to do what you said and spend the money on what you said (and nothing else), which, at least at the individual level, helped a lot for accountability.


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