Ash Imani

Higher education reforms: Take suffrage seriously or you’ll suffer.

Image: AAP

When it comes to higher education and the recently Senate-rejected government “reforms”, Ash Imani has a few words of advice: “If it’s better the devil you know, take some time to know your devil.”

 

A collective sigh of relief could be heard around the country on Tuesday when the Senate rejected the government’s Higher Education and Research Reform Amendment Bill.

If higher education means something to you and you voted for the LNP at the last election, go out and buy yourself a lottery ticket.  You just got lucky.

It’s a sad state of affairs when a population votes for one candidate out of spite for the other.  Unfortunately, in our ever-devolving political climate, that’s the baseline response when exercising our right to suffrage.  We tend to forget or ignore the fact that we’re not voting for an individual, but for a political party to guide our nation forward.

Political parties have political ideologies and if it’s better the devil you know, then you should take the time to know your devil.

It’s not often that Wikipedia, that bastion of lazy knowledge, can provide all the answers. Unfortunately, in this case, Wikipedia and an ability to connect the dots is all I need to make my point.

The Liberal Party of Australia is a (very) conservative political party.  Wikipedia tells us that its ideology is a combination of economic liberalism and social conservatism.

Economic liberalism is “the ideological belief in organising the economy on individualistic lines... It is always based on strong support for a market economy and private property, in the means of production. Although economic liberalism can also be supportive of government regulation to a certain degree, it tends to oppose government intervention in the free market when it inhibits free trade and open competition.

In a market economydecisions regarding investment, production and distribution are based on supply and demand, and the prices of goods and services are determined in a free price system utilising voluntary exchange.

The free price system, declares Lord Wiki,  is a “mechanism of resource allocation that relies upon monetary prices set by the interchange of supply and demandA free price system contrasts with a fixed price system where prices are administered by a government in a controlled market”.

The economic model of supply and demandconcludes that in a competitive market, the unit price for a particular good will vary until it settles at a point where the quantity demanded by consumers (at a current price) will equal the quantity supplied by producers (at a current price), resulting in an economic equilibrium for price and quantity.

In a free marketthe forces of supply and demand are free of intervention by a government, price-setting monopolies, or other authority. A free market contrasts with a controlled market or regulated market, in which government intervenes in supply and demand through non-market methods such as laws creating barriers to market entry or directly setting prices.”

So…an economy that’s organised on individualistic lines, promotes self-reliance and the price of goods and services is free of government intervention and determined by the desire of enough people to pay for them?  I’d say that in terms of LNP ideology, the Higher Education and Research Reform Amendment Bill pretty much nails it.

If you voted for Abbott last election and you’re beside yourself with joy at the failure of the Bill, act against your intuitions one more time and send Glenn Lazarus, Zhenya Wang, Nick Xenophon and Jacqui Lambie a grovelling thank you note.  You bet against the house and should have lost. PUP and the Independents came to your rescue.

The voting populace needs to take their suffrage seriously and make an attempt to understand the political ideologies of the parties for which they are voting and the consequences of their vote.

Only then will Tony Abbott’s promise of “no surprises, no excuses” actually mean something.

 

Ash Imani

Ash Imani is a lawyer (recovering) and born-again writer struggling to reconcile his ontological presence with his epistemological uncertainty. As a philosopher he’s hopelessly ill-equipped, but as a student of the human condition(s), he’s all-ears.

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