Voters to shun Labor over uni cuts: poll

AAP, with a staff reporter 

More than a third of swinging voters would shun Labor because of their planned $2.8 billion cuts to universities, a new poll shows.

The Enterprise Marketing and Research Service poll, commissioned by Universities Australia, has found almost nine in 10 Australians support increased funding for tertiary institutions.

About a quarter of all voters said they were less likely to vote for Labor because of the cuts.

A similar number said they would be more likely to vote for the coalition if it promised to reverse the cuts.

The proportions increased to more than a third among soft or swinging voters.

Three-quarters said the planned $2.8 billion cuts were a threat to Australia's future.

The federal government announced the cuts, an efficiency dividend on universities, converting student scholarships to loans and capping self-education tax breaks, as part of its measures to find money to pay for an increase of funding to schools.

But the Universities Australia polling found the cuts were a vote-changer for many people, both those who had made up their mind and those willing to switch their support.

"This polling shows the strength of the community opposition to the government's cuts," Universities Australia chief executive Belinda Robinson said.

"It also reflects just how strongly everyday Australians feel about the role of our universities in securing Australia's economic future."

The organisation is planning an advertising blitz this week in 80 federal electorates where there is a strong local university presence.

It has already run a national campaign saying the cuts are "not clever" but now will focus on the effect the slashing of funds will have on individual universities.

The telephone poll surveyed 800 people between May 19 and 24.

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"commissioned by Universities Australia" – another report that says exactly what its authors want us to hear. This article omits to mention that a good deal of the cuts to "universities" involved cuts to student benefits, not to universities as such at all. Two points. Firstly. wealthy working peoples' rent-seeking does matter. Rent-seekers' opposition to public money being spent fairly means that deserving people and goods causes lose out for bad reasons – with public funds being wasted on such private gouging. Superannuation reform could easily have supplied the money for proper government school funding, instead of it being taken from universities. While the MPs and higher education critics are not an identical interest group to that of the wealthy working rent-seekers who raged at their snouts being nudged in the trough (with the eager support of a mainstream media on the prowl for anti-Labor headlines), their silence at the superannuation gougers' blatant self-interest deprives them of most of their moral legitimacy. However "high" their education, the universities' managers seem to rarely cared about the ethics, the students, or the long-term; some have rejoiced in the exploitation of foreign students to subsidise local students. It is difficult to have any sympathy for them. Secondly, flogging-out public tertiary education funding (for both student and teacher training) from government to overseas students was begun in the late 1980s, as the education component of the Hawke/Cheating Laberal implementation of economic fundamentalism. Hawke and Howard destroyed excellence in higher education by turning it into a commodity. Only in recent years has it become very obvious that foreign-student-funding of tertiary education is a typical example of the consistent disaster of user-pays education. It is based on the prostitution of Australian citizenship, it encourages the appalling exploitation of foreign students, yet university standards and services deteriorate anyway.
First of all Ambrose, it does effect direct university funding, in so far as grants. And yes it will be passed onto students as universities try to recover lost revenue. "Firstly. wealthy working peoples' rent-seeking does matter. Rent-seekers' opposition to public money being spent fairly means that deserving people and goods causes lose out for bad reasons – with public funds being wasted on such private gouging." I have absolutely no idea what you are talking about. Who exactly are "wealthy working people, rent-seekers"? Are they the ones who put their money where their mouth is, took risks to developed industries in order to build this countries economy. Most of these people started life like you and I. Others were born into wealthy families, but somewhere along the line someone had the backside out of their pants. You have the same opportunity son, to become one of them, however you choose to sit in front of the computer, playing games and expecting these people to look after you. In fact I have to ask, do you really have a job Ambrose, you seem to have this bee in your bonnet about people having too much super. This governments proposal to tax super benefits $1 billion and over was a joke! Just through the SGL, most workers 40 and below will have $1 million in retirements benefits anyway, giving an annual income of $45 k for their retirement. May seem a lot of money for those unable to comprehend, but in 30 years will be well below the basic wage. But then those that support the first proposal of Labor are hypocrites anyway. Gillard will retire on $175k per annum for life, if she retires at this election, is that fair? The last issue you talk on about was fundamental in making tertiary education affordable for all Australians. You might call it exploiting foreign students, but it's about giving you the opportunity to obtain further studies. Many Australians have achieved excellence and gone onto bigger and brighter futures, with many holding top flight jobs in foreign corporations. Further more, if foreign students look to Australia for the future education, it's telling us that our tertiary education system is up their with the best in the world. So what's you problem, if foreign students feel they are being exploited, they know what to do. You know what Ambrose, if Gillard told you the sky was falling and she needed billions of dollars to place jacks in place to hold it up, and Abbott opposed it, you would be critical of Abbott.
Took risks? Took risks? Mis-use and waste of the vast ($1.4t) superannuation pool ($3 trillion within 10 years ) by fee-gounging super fund managers is far the greatest risk faced by any superannuant. One of the justifications for privatisation of the pension - superannuation - was the source of investment that it would create. That it hasn't is primarily because the retail super fund managers prefer financial speculation (the stock market casino, or housing). Retail super funds in particular aren't "risk-averse investors"; they understand neither risk nor investing. Like Pierpont and Blue Sky Mining NL, fund managers want to mine the stock market, not work, especially at inconvenient distances from the Croesus Club. People can choose as much super as they like, Colin - but they have no right to expect government handouts to subsidise it. However you choose to sit in front of the computer, playing games and expecting us to look after these people. Pay your own way, Colin, even if it is the first time ever. In October 2010, Minister for Tertiary Education, Senator Chris Evans, acknowledged that the dramatic growth in the international education industry over the past decade had camouflaged problems with dubious colleges, lax regulation, a distortion of the migration system, and a failure to provide infrastructure and accommodation to keep up with demand. Yes, Colin, I do call it exploiting foreign students - and you know it is - nor does it give local students any better opportunity to obtain further studies. Tertiary education was once free, Colin - and much better for it!
Day's of free education are long gone, even in my day you paid. It costs money to operate a university under world standards, money the government no longer has. Someone has to pay. also if foreign students are exploited like you say, why are they coming here when bigger and more well known universities exist elsewhere in the world. Many of these students travel from the northern hemisphere, Oxford in England, the centre of learning would be much closer. You mentioned regulations. They are put there for a reason, use them. Dubious colleges exist because you let them. As far as your comment on inefficient infrastructure and accommodation goes, that just a lack of forward planning. I have had super since the 1970's and have always had the option of high risk, or minimal risk cash securities, so nothing really changed when Hawke introduced the super reforms. Interesting point though because someone else said that their super was locked into speculative investments, without their authority, until I showed them that they do have an option for low risk super. I think where you put your super is more of an individual issue, not a condition of having super with that company. But in saying that, if you are not happy with your super managers, change. Remove tax incentives etc. from super contributions, don't tax someone for maximising their retirement benefit because they made the choice to add additional contributions. Did it not seem odd to you that the government was prepared to retain all the incentives, and tax retirees if they took advantage of these incentives.
"commissioned by Universities Australia" – another report that says exactly what its authors want us to hear. This is very valid. Interest groups are continually polling people with loaded questions. Council of social services, unions and employer groups are equally responsible for this type of media exploit. To asses the validity of the survey we need to see the exact questions asked and the algorithm for selecting participants.