Friday, June 19, 2020

Uni fees double for humanities courses

Education minister Dan Tehan will today announce a plan to more than double the cost of humanities degrees and slash prices for “job-relevant” science, engineering, nursing and maths courses. In a speech at the National Press Club at 12.30pm AEST, Tehan will unveil the radical overhaul of tertiary education, which includes an extra 39,000 university places to meet high demand linked to the soaring unemployment rate. The federal government will increase its contribution to the cost of classes including agriculture, English, psychology, teaching, and architecture, which will cost between $3700 and $7700 per year. Furthering the push towards business-orientated education, humanities courses will more than double in price in moving into the highest price band of $14,500 a year alongside those studying law and commerce, which will also have their fees raised by 28 per cent. “Students will have a choice,” Tehan will say. “Their degree will be cheaper if they choose to study in areas where there is expected growth in job opportunities.” Tehan has denied an extra bailout to universities, but funding for student places will return to being increased in line with the consumer price index.

Unions, including the CFMMEU have refused to accept the Labor plan for reform following revelations of branch stacking, reports The Age. The unions are seeking legal advice over the plan to have Victorian candidates for parliamentary seats chosen by the party's national executive committee while branch stacking allegations are investigated. The dispute comes as more leaked texts from federal Labor MP Anthony Byrne to ousted Victorian minister Adem Somyurek reveal Byrne once boasted ($) about using journalist Nick McKenzie to “destroy’’ ­enemies and exact political ­retribution. Byrne’s office was used to ­secretly record conversations with Somyurek, which informed McKenzie’s weekend story on branch stacking for Nine’s 60 Minutes and The Age

Liberal senator Eric Abetz billed taxpayers $3000 for return flights from Hobart to Melbourne and a series of Comcar journeys for he and a family member to attend a gala dinner celebrating the mining industry. The senator flew into Melbourne on the day of the Australian Mines and Metals Association centenary celebrations on August 1, 2018, stayed overnight, and left the following day, reports Guardian Australia. Liberal National party MP Andrew Laming used $1179 in family reunion travel entitlements to pay for his wife to fly home to Brisbane from a Melbourne work conference.

The United States Supreme Court on Thursday ruled against US President Donald Trump’s bid to end a program preventing the deportation of 650,000 immigrants who entered the United States as children without documentation. The court ruled against the move based on the procedure used by the US Department of Homeland Security, but also noted the attempt “was arbitrary and capricious”. It comes days after the Supreme Court granted employment protections to LGBT workers, as the body pushes back against conservative agendas despite Trump-appointed judges holding a conservative majority on the bench.


“Alongside Treasury secretary Dr Steven Kennedy and tax commissioner Chris Jordan, Cormann was defending two mistakes – a miscalculated Treasury forecast and an administrative error in the way the Australian Tax Office determined the program’s likely uptake, due to employers making mistakes on the application form. Because the ATO had reached a similar figure to the Treasury – 6.6 million likely recipients – each reinforced the other.’”


“What can fetish providers do in the era of social distancing? On March 23, the owner of this Melbourne dungeon emailed its workers to say that the premises would be closed until further notice. On March 25, sex-on-premises venues in Victoria were ordered closed by the state government, although private workers were still allowed to operate independently, with the caveat that ‘no more than two people should share a space of eight metres squared’. On April 1, that changed.”


“If they had given me a choice in who I’d want to haunt for the rest of their mortal life, it would have been a toss-up between a celebrity – a real celebrity, although I don’t really mind which one, they all kind of homogenise after a point – and my spinster aunt. I can see myself floating around her sprawling Federation cottage, dressed in a romantic, billowing white dress, doing kind and lovely things like leaving flowers on the windowsill, or gently rustling the curtains as she drinks tea and thinks about her poor niece, dead at 32, such a shame, so young, so beautiful, what a tragedy.”


“Senator Pratt, the opposition manufacturing spokeswoman, had asked ... why Housing Minister Michael Sukkar was supporting the building industry through $25,000 Home builder grants instead of female-dominated industries. ‘Minister Sukkar justified providing stimulus for jobs in the male-dominated housing industry while providing none for jobs in female-dominated industries by saying: “Yes, it is dominated by men and in many cases those people will be supporting families,”’ she told the Senate.”


“New figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics released today have estimated an additional 227,700 jobs were lost last month due to the impact of the pandemic. Women have been overwhelmingly represented in these figures, making up 52 per cent of job losses in the month of May alone. Previous figures released by ABS show overall employment decreased by 7.5 per cent between 14 March and 18 April, with female employment dropping by 8.1 per cent, while male employment fell by 6.2 per cent.”


“Walking into the montane cloud forests with a small group of coffee collectors, ducking under mossy, low-hanging branches, ropey lianas, and slender wild coffee trees broken by baboons trying to reach their sweet fruit, is like returning to a time when rivers ran unimpeded and great forests ruled the land.”

Max Opray is Schwartz Media’s morning editor and a freelance writer.