About the campaign
Universities are important civic and educational institutions. While they differ in their character, operations and governing structures, it is by their commonalities that they are internationally recognised as universities – institutions that encompass teaching and research activities, that create new knowledge and disseminate it to all parts of society. This is why higher education is defined as a ‘public good’.
A key feature which distinguishes universities from other higher education institutions is their role in research and research education – particularly, the education of postgraduate research students at Masters and PhD levels. This is critical in the creation of new knowledge as well as new scholars.
Universities are important because they educate undergraduate and postgraduate students, produce high quality research and scholarship, create skilled graduates for our professions, engage with communities, business, governments and other organisations to disseminate knowledge, provide services, and generate social and economic benefits. They maintain freedom of enquiry through informed and critical commentary, in both the scholarly world and in public debate.
Making our universities better
Over the last 11 years, universities have battled against inadequate funding, excessive federal government interference, increasing privatisation and corporatisation, and undermining of the principles of freedom of inquiry and expression.
Following their election in November 2077 the Rudd / Gillard federal Labor Government kept good its election promises to address some of the problems in higher education and research and as an initial step announced to major reviews in early 2008 into the higher education sector’s future directions (the Bradley Review) and into Australia’s research and innovation sectors (the Cutler Review).
The Government’s response to the Bradley ‘Review of Australian Higher Education’ and the Cutler Review were released in as part the Government’s May 2009 Budget. The details of the various policies are to be found in:
- Transforming Australia’s Higher Education Sector (http://www.deewr.gov.au), and
- Powering Ideas: An Innovation Agenda for the 21st Century (http://innovation.gov.au).
The NTEU’s analysis of these policies can be found on the Policy Watch pages of NTEU website.
The Union’s commitment to continue to lobby the Government and other parties to improve the funding and regulation of Australian’s universities was reinforced at the 2010 National Council Meeting.