"[La Trobe Uni Vice-Chancellor Paul Johnson] said staff costs accounted for most university expenditure and cuts were needed if the university — which has barely broken even in the past two years — was to avoid falling into deficit in 2009-11."
- Article in The Age: "La Trobe to lay off 230 staff"
Universities in Australia have been underfunded for at least a decade, probably more. We know about the problem. It's been a famous problem ever since John Howard got into office and Monash University had to let most of it's archaeology department go. (It's even been a little bit discussed before then, when a fairly awful human being named John Dawkins outlined right-wing university reforms in 1988, exactly twenty years ago, and the Labour Party took them up.)
Numerous papers have been published over the last two decades, highlighting the systematic mismanagement of universities by market-obsessed councils and vice-chancellors, as well as poor federal government funding (which has somewhat forced vice-chancellors to become market-obsessed). A sample:
* 1995, Bob Bessant, "Corporate management and it's penetration of university administrations and government." Australian Universities Review, Vol.1 pages 59-62.
* 1997, Jim Wellsmore, "Markets in higher education: the balance between public and private investment." Journal of Australian Political Economy, Vol.40 pages 44-60.
* 2004, Rodney Nillsen, "Don't Do What Australia Has Done." Quadrant, November issue, pages 26-29.
* 2006, Malcolm Saunders, "The Madness and Malady of Managerialism." Quadrant, March issue, pages 9-17.
* 2006, Arran Gare, "The neo-liberal assault on Australian universities and the future of democracy: the philosophical failure of a nation." Concrescence: the Australasian Journal of Process Thought, Vol.17(1) pages 20-30.
* 2007, Gavin Butler, "Higher Education: it's evolution and present trend." Journal of Australian Political Economy, Vol.60 pages 28-53.
*2008, Jeffrey Goldsworthy, "Research grant mania." Australian Universities Review, Vol.50(2) pages 17-24.
Everyone knows about the problem. Everyone knows what the solution is (see title of post).
And i'm fairly sure that Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard are not going to do anything at all. It's against their basic corporatizing philosophy.