Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 03 Hansard (Thursday, 3 April 2008) . . Page.. 978 ..
university. Of course, it does do some local work. I am very happy to see that there is a lot more collaboration between the two universities, because that is important as well. We are in a financial world where universities have to compete for funding. That can be dangerous for cooperation between universities. I hope that that is never the case with ANU and the University of Canberra.
I also want to say that I believe that the University of Canberra has been subject to some similar management procedures as those at ANU. Heads of department are very frequently academics who do not want to perform these roles, because they are very time consuming and they take time away from research and teaching, duties which they have to continue to do. And it is worth noting that they are not trained as managers. At the end of their time—which is often around three years or so—they may be qualified as managers, but there is no way that they can be declared to be such in the beginning. They spend most of their time in meetings, arguing with other departments, looking for funding and trying to deal with conflicts between some of their staff—which can be extremely acrimonious at that level. So there are issues around the way we manage our universities.
We also need to look at the workload of lecturers at the University of Canberra—perhaps even more so than at our other universities. I know that an incredible amount of work is expected—teaching two courses minimum per semester as well as delivering, as academics have to now to further their career, peer-reviewed paper after peer-reviewed paper. It is onerous. The work of an academic once used to look quite privileged in terms of the idea that you can just be there studying and doing what you are interested in; it is very far from that these days.
So there are general issues around universities and the way that they are funded nationally. We should not look upon the University of Canberra as just a unique institutional thing. It has many of the problems of all academic institutions, particularly universities. But it does have specific problems—and they come back here, because so much of its funding is from government.
MR BARR (Molonglo—Minister for Education and Training, Minister for Planning, Minister for Tourism, Sport and Recreation, Minister for Industrial Relations) (4:09): I thank Mr Mulcahy for bringing forward this matter of public importance. I note, however, the irony of this MPI—which in part deals with the financial management of an organisation—being brought on by Mr Mulcahy. He is the man who, as shadow Treasurer, struggled to control the spending commitments of the Liberal Party—over $200 million, I understand, Mr Mulcahy. And did you not, on your last day in the parliamentary Liberal Party, have commitments so far from the Liberal opposition of something in the order of $200 million?
Mr Mulcahy: I never even got a chance to hand them over before they threw me out.
MR BARR: Before they threw you out. Yes, indeed. But I digress.
The University of Canberra, as we have heard from all members who have contributed to this debate, has a very proud record as an academic institution, a record stretching back over 40 years. It has provided, and it continues to provide, thousands of Canberrans, other Australians and international students with world-class education.