2002

Letter to Minister for Immigration urging reconsideration of decision to withdraw temporary protection visas from East Timorese refugees (December 2002). Click here to download letter

Letter to Minister for Foreign Affairs re Fifth Asian and Pacific Population Conference (APPC) and retention of Reproductive Rights in Programme of Action. Copy to Shadow Minister for Health (November 2002).  Click here to download letter

Letter to Minister for Foreign Affairs in support of Nomination of an Australian Women for the International Criminal Court (November 2002). Click here to download letter

Letter to the Minister for Health requesting strong Australian contribution to Pacific input to the final meeting on the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (September 2002).  Click here to download letter

Letter to Minister for Foreign Affairs opposing military action against Iraq (September 2002).  Click here to download letter

Second Submission to Higher Education at the Crossroads: Consultative Process of the Department of Education, Science and Training (September 2002). Summary: This submission supplements AFUW’s earlier submission. It is a combined response to the following Issues Papers: Setting Firm Foundations: Financing Australian Higher Education; Striving for Quality: Learning, Teaching and Scholarship; Varieties of Excellence: Diversity, Specialisation and Regional Engagement

  • AFUW submits that a policy of minimising public funding to universities and maximising their obligation to seek funding through market-driven and  “user pays” policies entails potentially adverse effects on Australia’s national intellectual capital:
  • attrition of disciplinary areas, and hence of the knowledge bank, through excessive tailoring of the curriculum to market demand (whether from corporations sponsoring specific and applied research; employers wanting certain kinds of graduate qualifications; or students driven solely by estimates of future employment opportunities or intellectual fashion);
  • excessive dependence on full fee paying foreign students, with the risks of exacerbating unmet demand among Australian students, and a lowering of academic standards when inadequate allowance is made for the additional      demands often placed on academic staff by such students;
  • exclusion on financial grounds of students otherwise well-qualified to participate  in tertiary studies or else an extension of their primary disadvantage  through substantial indebtedness incurred in accessing universities.

AFUW submits that policies seeking to expand the already substantial component contributed by students to university funding will increase the degree of inequity in access to the benefits of education, especially as it relates to the situation of women.

AFUW submits that it is not only disadvantaged students but also disciplinary areas that are being excluded; that a species loss of disciplinary areas is resulting from crude measures of valuing courses and subjects, including their capacity to generate funds through attracting fee-paying students and external research funds.

AFUW submits that the most serious threats to the quality of university teaching are the excessive workloads resulting from cuts to staffing levels, and the casualisation of academic appointments.

AFUW submits that the comparable valuing of teaching and research is distorted by the distinctive visibility and variability of funding resulting from research activities as against teaching, a distortion intensified by the increasing dependence of the universities on the generation of funding to supplement inadequate operating budgets.

If universities are indeed to fulfil the vision cited in the Discussion Paper on Quality—to be places of culture and learning, custodians of intellectual freedom, of objectivity and unclouded minds, trainers of future leaders, and enrichers of the entire community, they cannot be subjected to crudely-defined, narrow market forces. And they will be expensive. But surely we should not have to relearn the truth of that slogan from an earlier period of hard times: If You Think Education is Expensive, Try Ignorance Click here to download complete submission

Submission on Indigenous Australians and Higher Education to Higher Education at the Crossroads: Consultative Process of the Department of Education, Science and Training (September 2002). This submission complements earlier AFUW submissions. It concerns itself with a range of issues related to Indigenous Australians in Higher Education and Varieties of Learning: The Interface between Higher Education and Vocational Education and Training. Click here to download complete submission

First Submission to Higher Education at the Crossroads: Consultative Process of the Department of Education, Science and Training (June 2002). The submission argues a case for the following positions or recommendations:
• AFUW opposes any increase in the level of HECS contribution and urges the government to consider whether schemes such as Austudy and Abstudy are providing sufficient support to enable students to devote adequate time to their primary task of university study. It is concerned that increased fees and increased student poverty could result from acceptance of deregulation proposals to allow universities to fix their own fees.

• AFUW opposes extension of full-fee paying places for domestic students while qualified but less wealthy students are missing out in the present situation of unmet demand.

• AFUW submits that neither student fees nor external funding can be sufficient guarantee of a quality higher education system for Australia: only a proper level of government funding can do this. It further submits that the decline in government funding to higher education could be reversed if the will to do so were present.

• AFUW submits that staffing issues are crucial to quality and regrets an apparent element of hostility to academic staff in the Ministerial Discussion Paper. It recommends that more attention be given to the factors presently impinging on the capacity of academic staff to fulfil all aspects of their academic role at high quality.

• AFUW submits that excessive use of casual staffing threatens quality

• AFUW recommends that the review give consideration to particular factors negatively affecting women’s full participation in higher education whether as students or members of staff.
Click here to download complete submission

Letter to Minister for Education requesting reconsideration of termination of Commonwealth Funding for the Support of Asian Languages; copies to Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs (May 2002).  Click here to download letter

Submission to HREOC Inquiry into Children in Immigration Detention Click here to download letter

Letter to Minister re Tidal Power in West Kimberleys Click here to download letter

Letter to Premier of W A re Ningaloo Reef Click here to download letter

Letter to Minister for Justice and Customs re trafficked women Click here to download letter

Letter to UN Human Rights Commissioner re Iranian women teachers Click here to download letter

Letter to Minister for Foreign Affairs re Optional Protocol to Convention on the Rights of Children (File name Downer re Child Prostitution) Click here to download letter