Calls for Royal Commission into corrupt universities

Academics from three WA universities are calling for a royal commission into higher education. They argue that an obsession with university rankings and publishing research has overtaken universities’ fundamental mission: to deliver quality education to Australian students.

From The SMH:

West Australian universities are on a dangerous path, according to WA academics who say the pursuit of international money and federal funding has turned them into research businesses.

The whistleblowers warn some of the state’s most important institutions are caught in a vicious cycle of chasing expensive researchers and getting more research papers published in prestigious journals in order to climb global university rankings, which in turn delivers lucrative international students whose fees – in turn – help fund more research.

The WA academics say the chase for what is now the measure of success – university rankings – has corrupted their fundamental mission: to deliver quality education to students.

At one end of the operation sits university management, earning close to seven-figure salaries and overseen by senates dominated by external business leaders without substantive experience in the higher education sector.

At the other sits their clients – the students – whose university experience and breadth of study disciplines are being squeezed by narrowing fields of research.

And in the middle are the academics, who have been increasingly segregated into working as either researchers or teachers, while ever-mounting teaching workloads are falling to casuals or PhD students and junior academics on ‘minimum wage’ grant money.

Academics from three of the four public WA universities, some who have spoken to WAtoday under the condition of anonymity, say the situation has become exploitative and are calling for a royal commission into higher education…

Australia hosts the highest-paid university salaries in the world, with a vice-chancellor getting an average $1 million a year, which soars to $1.2 million if the university is counted among the Go8.

MB has continually questioned the odious links between international students and university rankings.

In a nutshell, a system has been created by the federal government and Australia’s universities to encourage strong growth in full fee paying international students via:

  • The Australian government offering the world’s most generous student visa working rights and opportunities for permanent residency; and
  • Australia’s universities dropping entry and teaching standards.

The bounty from exploding student numbers (see next chart) has then been funneled into research aimed purely at propelling Australia’s universities up international rankings, rather than into areas that actually provides benefits to Australians.

As gaining a higher ranking equates to more prestige and is a sign of quality, these rankings were then used as a marketing tool to further grow international student enrolments, alongside justifying higher fees.

While universities ploughed the international student billions into research to boost their rankings, actual teaching quality was destroyed.

This is evidenced by the ratio of students to academic staff rising materially across Australia’s universities during the long international student boom:

The majority of international students come from Non-English Speaking Backgrounds (NESB), and require more teaching assistance than domestic students. As such, the bigger student loads, alongside the higher maintenance of international students, indicates a significant decline of both teaching capacity and quality across Australia’s university system.

We also witnessed domestic students carrying NESB students through their courses via group assignments, alongside an increase in soft marking scandals and cheating scandals and the erosion of free speech as international students number ballooned.

The whole stinking university edifice needs a royal commission to clean it out.

Operating low-quality degree factories for maximum revenue was never in the national interest.

Australia’s universities must return to their primary role of providing high quality education to Australians.

Unconventional Economist
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      • Terms of reference don’t even matter if the government is intending to maintain the status quo. An RC has no power to change anything. I don’t know why people wave them around as some sort of magical talisman to fix things.

      • Display NameMEMBER

        Probably right. 2 month duration, 5M funding, BS terms of reference.
        RC’s are not what they used to be. They are just a means to take an issue out of earshot for a while in a controlled manner.


      Yeh what on Earth is the point in holding royal commissions if we’re just gonna ignore the findings anyway?

  1. Luca BiasonMEMBER

    Tip of the iceberg.

    Would be interesting if it reviewed the entire governance structure and its ripple effects across the board (teaching, recruitment, R&D, etc etc…)

  2. I’ll be bitterly disappointed if happy valley can’t chime in and somehow spin this into a r$pe savers comment.

  3. Ailart SuaMEMBER

    There needs to be an independent, public enquiry into royal commissions. They are a complete ‘sham’.

  4. There will be no royal commission to get in the way of the real function of these institutions which is as the pipeline for big Australia and profits for Scummo’s owners.

  5. ‘The foreign student and partner third migrant visa trafficking Royal Commission’.

    A long comment here, but it’s a big subject – so to cover the full scope of this issue.

    MACROBUSINESS should led a community petition to the Governor General, bypassing the major political parties who perpetuate this foreign student third world migrants guestworker racket.

    We have some 800,000 foreign students & partners onshore on a variety of DHA and also DFAT ‘temporary visas’.
    On any measure (DHA or Australia Education Gov websites which has the country of origin, age, gender etc – they are third world mature age adults and unskilled on pretext visas. With fake documents, falsified funds and fraudulent foreign agent doctor health checks doing nonsense courses.

    And the proof of what actually comes in, what are their real funds are & their ‘sources of income’ as well as their actual study & their ‘vocational outcomes’ is detailed below.

    They enter to:
    Repay their third world agent procurer debt.
    To send back remittances.
    To steal some 800,000 Australian jobs / at least.
    Costing Australia some $22 billion in Australian unemployed welfare support – almost twice their ‘foreign student fees’ paid.
    (Which are paid from illegal income earned here, so that is not an ‘export’).

    Lowering wages for all other Australians by factors of -6 to -8% as the foreign student & partner influx decimates our youth and mature age wages, casualisation in the onshore foreign criminal run black market cash economy.

    Are they an export?

    No, even on the most simplistic primary measures the foreign student and partners create tens of billions of negative economic and social impact.

    As example.
    🔻$22 billion in Australia tax payer costs to the Australian youth & middle aged / unskilled who’s employment opportunity was stolen by this onshore migrant burden.

    🔻 Degradation, casualisation, and lowered wages for many other Australians who are employed – costing tens of billions more.

    🔻In Housing the foreign students & partners occupy at least 150,000 modest Australian dwellings, many now foreign owned and converted to migrant only cash in hand bunk slum share.
    (Where do people think they all live?)

    800,000 foreign students and partners in 150,000 modest ex Australian dwellings (say 5.5 per dwelling at $180 a week each for the bunk, bag of rice, wifi and toilet roll deal) = $1,000 a week cash for the Chinese or Indian landlord..

    Directly displaying over 360,000 Australians (2.4 per dwelling & a total of $500 a week) who got kicked out to live on the street.. (126,000 Australian permanent homeless and another 340,000 Australians without affordable housing).

    There is your housing crisis and another $4 billion in Australian taxpayer cost directly attributable to the foreign student racket.

    🔻Bringing their third world congestion, filth squalor.

    🔻Environmental damage, overload of public transport and facilities.

    🔻The foreign students & partners are the epicentre of foreign run vice & crime, drugs and as mules for money laundering.
    Over 50,000 Asian prostitutes trafficked in as foreign students. A legal & anonymous income source in NSW. The most sought after visa for a foreign end of life vice workers. Joke courses while they work full time. No health checks. No tax paid.

    The rest?
    Falsified and unchecked funds.
    Working illegally.
    Stealing Australian jobs.

    The Chinese Hukou underclass as China exports its slum clearance.

    Indian, Bangladeshi & Pakistani misfits, rurals and useless packed off to earn remittances and try to secure a PR for chain migration.

    Entire Nepalese villages.

    The end of life bar girls and abandoned mothers of Asia.

    The spawn of the San Paulo criminal class.

    Middle Eastern and Africans trafficked in if they can’t afford the UNHCR or agent bribes to get in on a refugee or family reunion visa.

    Arriving in debt to the foreign criminal syndicates and agent traffickers. False funds, pretext courses. Illegal work and living pre-organized by the agent traffickers.

    👉🏻A massive social & economic burden.

    If they couldn’t work illegally they would not be here.

    They certainly not here for the education which is a laughing stock,having fallen 12 places globally.
    They have literally destroyed our education system as it sold itself out as a migrant guestworker visa alibi.

    Oh but we “have an obligation to the third world to provide education and skills they can take back to their country”..
    Ok so what is the ‘ foreign student industry’ vocational success rate? It’s only 3.4%

    That’s right / as per the ‘Migrant Pathways A Decade On’ report and then the later productivity commission report noted :

    “only 3.4% of these foreign students after a decade achieve a vocation or income higher than the Australian or their home country average”

    So 96% of the entire foreign student cohort fail to be anything & either continue here as third world migrant underclass now with a PR / unemployed / useless and a burden..

    Or if they go back, an equally useless in their home country.

    Exposing just what a farce this entire foreign student & partner racket is.


    A Royal Commission into this racket is long overdue.

    It will need to be forced by the public in a petition as neither political party will do it.

    A Royal Commission has the full authority to get the full evidence and facts.

The point here is how to get that started?

Neither of the current major political parties will call for a Royal Commission into the foreign student & partner migrant guestworker trafficking industry.

So it needs to be by direct public petition to the Governor General. That’s the mechanism to bypass the vested political and lobbyist interests to not do anything.
    And that’s what Macrobusiness can do.
    Lead the public to a mass community public petition to the Governor General.

    What’s required to clean up this big stinking corrupt mess?

The actual changes required don’t even need regulatory or even legal change.
And some are already law, or are regulatory or conditions of compliance & entry (COe) that aren’t enforced.
    Others can be dealt with by the Minister of immigration or DFAT for the visas they also issue.

    For example:

    🔹Mandatory onshore Australian certified doctor health checks to detect and deport the Chinese, North & South Asians, Nepalese. Pakistani. Indians, Bangladeshi who have entered on falsified foreign agent doctor ‘health checks’ and carry communicable disease including variants of hepatitis, TB, NDM-1 and other communicable disease.

    That expels about 200,000 of current foreign students or partners who have entered Australia with falsified health documents or weren’t never tested for basic communicable diseases.

🔹Validation of funds – monthly. Not the ‘self declared’ or once off / borrowed from an loan agent procurer, whisked in and out of a bank account.. as a falsified declaration.

    🔹Full payment of the full intended course upfront, not just the 1st semester, to then enter the country, cancel the course, live and work illegally undetected for years and then finally go on the Protection visa queue to stay when caught.
    That expels at least another 300,000.

🔹No vice work or living off the proceeds of vice – we have over 50,000 Asian prostitutes on ‘student visas’ in what is a legal untaxed and anonymous source of income. And another at least another 30,000 or so that live off the proceeds of vice.
    Say 80,000 exited or else have a sex worker visa for that with tax paid and health checks for the sex worker rather than using the foreign student or partner visa as cover.

🔹No partners on a secondary visa at all (who have full work rights and no English test at all) and that’s another 60,000 gone.

🔹No work rights – none.

    🔹No ‘English courses’ or VET onshore. It can all be done online & offshore. Of course it won’t have any demand, because it doesn’t give access into Australia to live and work illegally. That removes many of the rest.

🔹Visa only to the paid course duration.

🔹Reporting to the local police station on where they live, activities, funds and sources of income. (as per China and other countries).

As said – some of this is already part of their current visa or COe – or could be with very minor changes in visa rules & enforcement.

That would see the current 800,000 plus third world migrant guestworkers on pretext foreign student or foreign student partner secondary visas reduced down to under 50,000 genuine fee paying post grad level participants.

And that’s exactly what is needed.