Thursday, December 01, 2005

Jack-boot industrial relations

They report in the Oz today that Education, Science, and Training Minister, Brendan Nelson, has warned Australian universities that he plans to suspend the planned funding increase for 2006 while his department checks that the universities have complied with the government's guidelines for enterprise bargaining agreements.

It is bad enough that DEST ties funding increases to the industrial relations policies of a university, but to force an audit and suspend the increases in the meantime just shows the arrogance of the Howard government. This amounts to an unplanned budget cut to universities. As the article states, most universities will either have to borrow money to cover the suspension, or alternatively, will lose interest on the money if they planned to invest it.

Just to put some figures to this, the Labor party claims that the amount of money to be suspended adds up to $153 million. That's a lot of interest and I'm sure that DEST has no plans to compensate universities that have complied with the DEST guidelines for lost revenue over this period.

Make no mistake, this government is hell-bent on governing by ideology and making it clear that they are out to punish all those that get in their way.

Or maybe it's just that Nelson is trying to convince the universities that government funding is so unreliable that they should look to raise revenue in other ways???