Australia’s Civic Life Will Suffer If Major Parties Turn Universities Into Degree Factories

Australia’s universities are vital to our nation’s future. This is not only because they are fundamental to the growth of our economy but because they are an essential public good. Universities are more than just degree factories; they provide pathways for citizens to realise their dreams and to reach their potential. They provide opportunities to exchange ideas, reflect on our world and find solutions. They are vital to the civic life of our country.

That’s why the economic rationalist approach of Labor and the Liberal party is so damaging. By casting students simply as consumers who pay for a product (education) in order to secure a job, Australia is diminishing the inherent value of education. Education is not merely a means to an end, but rather an end in itself.

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Reality bites as winner takes all on The Block

The much anticipated Block finale fell flat on Sunday night when three of the luxury properties struggled to attract bids above the reserve at auction. While two couples celebrated big wins in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, others wept as months of work came to almost nought.

The finale might have had a funereal vibe but the Nine Network certainly had cause for celebration as it smashed ratings records. The shock outcome has sparked calls for Nine to tweak the format of the show and even offer the failed contestants compensation.

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Malcolm in the Middle?

For more than a year the Coalition has held a seemingly unassailable lead in the opinion polls. But after a bruising few months of media gaffes, speculation about his university days and damaging outbursts from some high-profile supporters (Corey Bernadi and Alan Jones), Tony Abbott’s march to the Lodge is looking less like a sprint and more like a hurdle race.

While Abbott has continued his ‘Great Big Campaign Against Everything’, Malcolm Turnbull has been busy carving out an alternative vision for his party and the nation. It may well prove attractive to his colleagues if the tide continues to move Labor’s way in the opinion polls.

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Economic ‘White Knights’ Will Come At A Cost

You don’t have to be a conspiracy theorist to see the network of wealth and privilege gathering strength in Australia.

Whether they are rallying against the mining and carbon taxes or seeking to use the media to promote their views, the rich and powerful are muscling-up and the pendulum of our democracy is well and truly swinging in their favour.

The latest play by mining magnate Gina Rinehart to bring Fairfax to heel is another chapter in this protracted battle for our nation’s future.

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