Australian Greens Deputy Leader and Education spokesperson Senator Mehreen Faruqi has said that the Universities Accord process, expected to be announced later today, must begin the task of rebuilding and reimagining our public universities, and involve staff and students at every step.
Senator Faruqi said:
“After a decade of neglect, it’s refreshing to see the government take the future of our universities seriously. But we have to get this right.
“We can’t leave this task up to a few eminent people to run. Current staff and students should be brought into this process in a meaningful way from day one. Frankly, corporate voices should be deprioritised.
“The review must really dig into university governance and democracy on our campuses. The corporate university model has been so damaging and corrosive.
“Greens analysis has found that over the last two decades, there has been a 43 per cent reduction in the number of elected positions on university councils. We have to give power back to staff and students.
“Casualisation and enormous workloads are completely unsustainable and crushing for university staff. The Accord process has to address this head-on.
“Ultimately the government has to accept that a big boost to public funding – including to research funding – will be required to set our universities up for the long term. Universities are a public good and should be treated as such.
“The Accord process should not be used as an excuse to delay changes that can and must be made now: scrapping Liberal-era fee hikes and funding cuts, and tackling the student debt crisis.”