catallaxy files

catallaxy in technical exile

Getting the policy gong?

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The first radio interview on my new paper on why the FEE-HELP loan cap should be increased was on the local Melbourne ABC station 774AM, with Red Symons. Having grown up watching Hey, Hey It’s Saturday, Symons wasn’t an easy person to talk to. The Red Faces segment he made his own was hilarious when happening to other people, but all I could think of while talking to him was the very low scores he used to give the segment’s hapless contestants, and I was half-waiting for him to hit the gong, as he did when the act was so bad that he couldn’t take it anymore. Luckily the interview seemed to come to a natural, if not very successful, conclusion.

Overall, I’ve been happy with the media on this one, with the various papers focusing on different aspects of my proposal: The Advertiser on my suggested increases to the loan cap, The Age on retrieving money from HECS debtors living overseas and deceased estates, and the AFR quoting quite a few other people and organisations in favour of increased lending. People agreeing with me is a novel experience. By pure coincidence, of course, the Australian Vice-Chancellors’ Committee today put out a press release supporting a higher FEE-HELP cap (though typically dodging any difficult decision to raise money to pay for it). The Australian Council for Private Education and Training has also issued a press release, calling for the extension of FEE-HELP to vocational education. I agree with this, but having written more than 7,000 words just talking about universities decided not to make my message even more complex by arguing for it.

I did however get the gong from the National Tertiary Education Union, from nutty Kerry Nettle of the Greens, and from Jenny Macklin, scoring her favourite adjective ‘extreme’ (twice!), but missing out on being labelled ‘ideological’. She seems to think that the paper calls for real interest rates on student debt, though beyond advocating a debt charge – which Labor incorporated in the original HECS scheme – it doesn’t. Surely there was enough controversial material in there to attack without having a go at things I didn’t say?

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Written by Admin

February 27, 2006 at 3:48 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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