Will uni students have to learn about Indigenous culture?

One of the less remarked-on sections of the Bradley report claimed that

it is critical that Indigenous knowledge is recognised as an important, unique element of higher education, contributing economic productivity by equipping graduates with the capacity to work across Australian society and in particular with Indigenous communities.

Arguments for incorporation of Indigenous knowledge go beyond the provision of Indigenous-specific courses to embedding Indigenous cultural competency into the curriculum to ensure that all graduates have a good understanding of Indigenous culture.

As this was a ‘finding’ rather than a ‘recommendation’, most readers were probably content to take it as a necessary, but empty, gesture to the hurt felt by the Indigenous Australians. After all, only a tiny proportion of graduates will ever work in contexts where knowledge of Indigenous people – let alone ‘Indigenous knowledge’ – will be useful, and it would be far more efficient to pick it up as needed than to build it into unrelated courses.

But now the Indigenous Higher Education Advisory Council is, according to the SMH, taking it a step further and proposing that

ALL university students and staff will be required to learn about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture under proposals to be considered by the Federal Government.

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The economy and elections

Commenter Krystian asks:

Do government get tossed out because of difficult economic times, or more because of their own incompetence plus the presence of difficult economic times?

Andrew Leigh has asked himself exactly that question, and come to the (data-laden) conclusion that unemployment does affect election results but ‘luck’ – global or national economic conditions – counts for more than ‘competence’, how well a jurisdiction is doing relative to the gobal or national economy.

He puts this down to

something psychologists call ‘the fundamental attribution error’, which is the fact that humans aren’t very good at separating situational factors from ability when making assessments.

But it seems voters used to believe that governments have more influence over the economy than they do now. The Australian Election Survey has a question about what effect respondents think the government will have on the economy twelve months from now. The first couple of times the question was asked, in 1987 and 1990, about 60% of respondents thought that the government could have either a good or a bad effect.
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