On Friday the government released draft legislation for the biggest change to higher education organisation since the forced mergers of the Dawkins years: a new, national higher education quality regulator, to be known as the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA).
TEQSA is a child of the WorkChoices High Court case, the Commonwealth using the corporations power to grab control of higher education accreditation from the states (though the draft does require state ministers to be consulted in some circumstances). All higher education providers will have to meet basic registration standards (called provider standards in the legislation), teaching and learning standards, qualification standards, information standards, and for universities research standards as well.
The standards will all be in delegated legislation, made by the minister on the advice of a Higher Education Standards Panel appointed by the minister, with regard to advice from TEQSA and state ministers. Though there are checks on the minister, overall this will concentrate a very large amount of power over Australian higher education in the federal government. The standards will be disallowable by either house of parliament, but cannot be amended by the parliament.
By contrast, the current system is highly decentralised. Continue reading “The coming end of academic autonomy” →
Today Julia Gillard took important further steps on the way to a carbon price.
The IPA also put out another Galaxy Poll on climate science. It’s almost exactly the same as their poll from last year, suggesting that the substantial inroads the sceptics had made have stabilised.
However a comparison with an Essential Research poll from last December suggests that attitudes are still fluid. An option in Galaxy reading ‘There is conflicting evidence and I’m not sure what the truth is’ takes numbers from both both camps.
So it looks like about a third of the population are manmade climate change true believers, with another 10% leaning that way. We’ve debated this recently, but I think things are looking bad for Julia Gillard on this one.
Nick Gruen is organising a cheap group subscription to Crikey. Last year I think I ended up paying about 25 cents a day – it’s not worth much more, but value at that price.
If you’d like to participate, the details are here.
A third pollster, Nielsen, has now joined Newspoll and Essential Research in asking voters about the flood levy. Annoyingly – but in line with typical poor Fairfax broadsheet practice on these things – we are not told the actual question.
However the result is that 52% of voters support the levy, and 44% oppose it.
Corrected Nielsen flood levy pie chart
That’s quite similar to Newspoll’s 55%/41%.
Of more concern to the government will be the 46% in favour/ 44% against result on a carbon price. This is the issue that is most likely to be fatal for the Gillard government.
For some time now I, your friendly Ozblogistan Tyrant, have been considering expanding the Ozblogistan family. For my thesis research I require a larger pool of blogs under management.
To that end, I have opened up a second server for Ozblogistan. Shortly, one server will handle the database while the original server handles the web side of things.
This will (theoretically) speed up performance and make it easier for me to grow Ozblogistan.
This decision is unrelated to the recent stoushing (though the stoushing may lead to other changes in future).
What this means:
All Ozblogistan sites will be offline tonight while I make the transfer. I will begin at 5pm Central Standard Time. The upgrade is complete.
- I am looking for more tenants. I wish to continue hosting high-quality Australian blogs. While I don’t mind more blogs like the wonkish ones I have, I would also like to diversify as well. If you have a good blog you want to live alongside Club Troppo, Larvatus Prodeo, Catallaxy Files, Andrew Norton and Skepticlawyer, send me an email. If you have a favourite blog who you think should join the network, tell me (and them). The more the merrier, I’m building a big bus.
To keep discussion of this matter centralised, I have disabled comments everywhere except on the main Ozblogistan entry.
Thank you for your attention.
Taking the plunge:
The review of higher education funding has been asked to look at the issue of the relative public and private contributions to tuition costs.
Some people think it is anomalous that law and business students pay more than 80% of the nominal cost of their place, while for example medical and engineering students pay a third or less.
Another perspective is to ignore cost shares and focus on the size of private benefits. Post-1996, this is roughly the perspective that has dominated. The basic idea is that students in disciplines with high incomes can afford to pay more.
Using occupational income data from the ABS Employee Earnings and Hours publication I’ve been playing with another version of the private benefits idea.
The idea here is that graduates pay for their courses in work effort, defined as the number of weeks it would take to repay their debt if they devoted their entire net weekly earnings to doing so. While some courses are much more expensive than others, the higher salaries their graduates earn mean that they can repay more quickly.
The table below shows that for most occupations the time to repay is closer to the average than the $ dollar cost relative to the average (closest number in bold). Mostly the differences are not large, though for arts professionals and medical practitioners there is major correction towards the mean on the time to repay measure (the figures are all based on average earnings for full-time males in May 2010). Continue reading “Paying for uni through effort?” →
The annual Australian Electoral Commission donations data dump was today, and I have collated the figures for the ‘political expenditure’ requirement.
The current rules were introduced by the Howard government in its lost-the-plot last term (I have extensively critiqued the law here). Their intention was to make life more difficult for left-wing ‘third parties’, and as can be seen from the table in most years left-wing organisations massively outspend right-wing organisations.
2009-10 was the first time since these disclosure rules came into effect that business groups outpsent the union movement. All of the declared spending of more than $22 million was by mining interests, presumably on opposing the planned mining ‘super-profits’ tax. Continue reading “The threats to political expenditure” →