Labor all talk, no action

Australian Financial Review:  Opposition Leader Bill Shorten last week outlined his vision for a modernised Labor Party in which trade unions would have diminished influence. Missing, however, was any mention of policy. There was discussion about tweaking preselection rules and eligibility for membership. But the real tests are not the internal rules, but the daily…

Getting off the welfare train

The Australian: In the indigenous employment figures released last month, one statistic stands out: only 30 per cent of working-age people in remote communities have a job. Among 17 to 24-year-olds, only 18 per cent are fully engaged in work or study. The government wants the people in remote communities to retain their attachment to country.…

Harness goodwill to close the gap on employment

The Australian: THE latest figures reveal that the indigenous employment gap is getting worse, not better. When prime minister Kevin Rudd made the apology to indigenous Australians in 2008, he invited indigenous and non-indigenous Australians to work in partnership to close the indigenous employment gap. Governments across Australia pledged to halve the gap within a decade…

False barriers to useful work

Alan Tudge The Australian   “YES we can”. Barack Obama’s slogan in the 2008 election campaign was a masterstroke in changing the mindset from one of problems to shared optimism. The clear intent was to focus on what could be done, not what could not.   This same mindset shift is desperately needed in our…

Academia can’t be limited to 26 weeks

Australian Financial Review Despite students living in a 24/7 world, the academic calendar remains firmly rooted in the past, dictating that students can learn for only half the year. It is an anomaly which makes little sense in today’s world and should change. Faster learning would reduce student’s living costs and get them into the…

Exacting efficiencies from online learning

The Australian WHEN former Macquarie University vice-chancellor, Steven Schwartz, is asked to characterise the potential from the online education revolution, his answer is simple and exciting: university courses that are better, faster and cheaper. Australian universities have an excellent reputation, but despite a doubling of student numbers over the last 20 years, teaching has been…

Internet opens door to tertiary sector

Australian Financial Review“A thousand year old industry on the cusp of profound change”.  This is how global business consultants Ernst & Young describe the changes hitting our tertiary sector as a result of the digital revolution. It is a dramatic statement, but is probably right. For a thousand years, the university model has been largely…

Help those who help themselves

The Australian AS Kevin Rudd and other Labor MPs seek a boost to the Newstart Allowance, the government appears caught between its desire to lift unemployment benefits and the fiscal realities. It’s thought poverty in this country is a need that is well understood but cannot be met in the budget. But is that right?…

Learning goals must equal Asia’s best

Australian Financial ReviewThe Prime Minister’s Asian Century White Paper aims for our school system to be in the world’s top five by 2025, but expectations in our curriculum do not support this goal.  To reach the top, we should follow the example set by the United Kingdom and deliberately benchmark what our kids learn against…