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ERIC Number: EJ848182
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2004
Pages: 11
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 21
ISSN: ISSN-0818-8068
A Personal Memoir of Policy Failure: The Failed Merger of ANU and the Canberra CAE
Scott, Roger
Australian Universities' Review, v47 n1 p10-20 2004
The more immediate context of the events the author describes in this article is needed in order to identify the policy framework within which the Australian National University (ANU)-Canberra CAE (CCAE) merger was placed as a component of a wider public policy initiative undertaken by John Dawkins. There were four major components in that wider policy shift. The first of these was the creation of the mega-department of Education, Employment and Training, with Dawkins as its first minister. The second was the introduction of direct charges to university students in the form of the Higher Education Contribution Scheme (HECS). The third--and the one under close analysis in this article--was the thrust towards amalgamation to create larger and more cost-efficient organisations in a single Unified National System to replace the binary division between universities and CAEs. The fourth--often not spelled out but well understood by those close to Dawkins--was to enhance the efficiency of the universities as tools of public policy. The aim was to refocus their activities so that they provided a reasonable return for the long-term investment which government and the community had made. This was to be accomplished in part by encouraging greater competitiveness between universities, initially aimed at servicing an emergent market for overseas students. The issuing of the epoch-making Green and White Papers followed closely on Dawkins' appointment. The Green Paper indicated that a Unified National System was to be established with a set of new ground rules linking size of individual institutions to differential access to public funding. This was accomplished by creating an arbitrary minimum size below which existing institutions would not be able to survive as independent entities funded at the maximum rate. This resulted in pressure on many CAEs (including CCAE) and a few smaller universities (including the ANU) to become part of a larger organisation. In addition, funding formulae and public rhetoric encouraged existing relatively large universities to become even larger. The emergence of the unified tertiary education system in the late 80s and early 90s involved a series of struggles between traditional "real" universities and the merged CAEs that were to make the new system possible. The author was a key actor in one of the bitterest battles. In this article, he recalls the Machiavellian manoeuvring and policy gaffes, and muses on the lessons learned.
National Tertiary Education Union. PO Box 1323, South Melbourne 3205, Australia. Tel: +61-3-92541910; Fax: +61-3-92541915; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Australia