This year is the 30th anniversary of the introduction of the Higher Education Contribution Scheme (HECS) which removed the right to free university education. Surprisingly, this major policy reform was introduced by a Labor Government – as were policies aimed at breaking the wage inflation cycle, decentralising wage fixing and floating the dollar. The Howard government brought in other seemingly unlikely major policy reforms such as those on immigration, gun control and the GST. But that was then and this is now – so why does major policy reform seem so much more difficult in this century than in the last? Are we lacking in leaders with the right stuff? Has the political landscape changed so much that the opportunity for real policy reform has gone? Is it simply a lack of intestinal fortitude? Or are policymakers missing something?
The Hon John Dawkins, former Minister of Education, Education and Training in the Hawke Government and the Minister responsible for the introduction of HECS will discuss this topic with Professor Bruce Chapman, the architect of the HECS scheme. They will be joined by Professor Linda Botterill, who, as well as being a leading Australian public policy expert, had an earlier career spanning time as a Ministerial adviser in the Keating government, in the Australian Public Service, and in two Industry peak bodies. This discussion will be MCd by Professor Shirley Leitch, Deputy Vice Chancellor, ANU.
The event will also feature two PhD scholars from the College of Asia and the Pacific, Melanie Broder, from the National Security College, and Paul Hubbard, from the Crawford School of Public Policy.
This event is jointly sponsored by the Sir Roland Wilson Foundation and ANU College of Business and Economics.