The Dog’s Bollocks

Truth is like a dog’s bollocks – pretty obvious if you care to look.

Bishop accuses poor students of lying in survey

Federal Education Minister Julie Bishop has challenged the validity of a survey that found student poverty has worsened dramatically this decade. She described a report which found nearly one in four undergraduates took out loans last year to cover basic living costs – as “very anecdotal”, and questioned whether students answered truthfully.

“I know what I would have said if I were a student,” she said.

“I just think that we can do better in terms of getting an evidence-based report. But I accept as a matter of principle that we’ve got to focus on students’ ability to study at university.”

Perhaps she simply has no experience of poor people. I’m sure no-one in her circle of acquaintance has trouble affording tertiary education.

Bishop has no problems proposing across the board performance based pay for teachers and a radical overhaul of national curricula on largely anecdotal evidence, but not in this case.

Universities Australia has released the final report from its commissioned national survey of almost 19,000 students across all 37 public universities. Hardly anecedotal I would have thought.

“This final report affirms the initial findings released in March and shows the financial difficulties many young Australians face in completing their university studies”, Chair of the Survey Steering Group and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Western Australia, Professor Alan Robson said today.

“The complete findings from this survey highlight the need for changes to Australia’s current student income support mechanisms, to ensure all students can achieve the best possible education outcomes from their time at university, regardless of their socio-economic background”, Professor Robson said.

Universities Australia is campaigning in the 2007 Federal election for:

  1. removal of the assessable income component for all scholarships and bursaries regardless of their funding source; and
  2. a reduction in the age of independence for Youth Allowance from the current 25 years to 18 in order that university students will not be assessed on the basis of their parents’ income and assets.

Let us remember that it was the Howard government which increased the age of independence from 18 years to 25 years for tertiary students – a policy which effectively shifted support for tertiary study back to families and student employment.

Certainly since Whitlam’s time, federal government’s of all persuasion have paid full-time students less than their unemployed peers – an anomaly I’ve never comprehended. Unless, of course, you’d rather less young people went to university in the first place. Oh wait, Howard has actually stated that to be his preference.

Read the full report here.

Filed under: Economics, Education, Politics

2 Responses

  1. Helen says:

    “I know what I would have said if I were a student,” she said.

    Shit, she’s all class, isn’t she?!


  2. slim says:

    She has that ‘whatever it takes’ attitude common to her class.

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