Deck ‘em, McManus

One of the more high profile union leaders in Australia was somewhat vexed by the recent agreement between the UK and Australia, suggesting it will increase competition for jobs to the detriment of the locals:

It’s unusual for the unions or indeed anyone on the left to say the quiet part about immigration out aloud.

She’s right, of course. It’s not a difficult mental exercise to realise immigration would have a negative impact on employment prospects for the exisiting population and their ability to negotiate wage increases.

But it’s an interesting ideological contortion for someone on the more left of politics to attempt. It’s the side of politics most associated with the open (or at least more open) borders position, and yet here’s McManus pointing out immigration isn’t all upside for existing residents.

She’s not alone in being an immigration sceptic on the left, either. This opinion piece by Kristina Keneally from early on in the pandemic makes a similar point, which McManus also endorsed on social media when published.

So what’s going on? Is it cognitive dissonance or simply the often knee jerk reaction of one team opposing whatever it is the other team say and do? Perhaps there’s a third explanation.

I’ve recently been rereading Hayek’s The Road to Serfdom. My first reading was a decade ago and, although I took some interesting insights from it, my reading was more of a skim than in depth. I stuck at it this time and have been rewarded with some absolute gems, of which this is one:

Bill’s Opinion

Perhaps Sally and Kristina’s disdain for immigration is driven by concern for Australian workers.

Given that the Australian minimum wage is the second highest in the world, just behind Monaco, and Australians can access comparatively generous unemployment benefits, free medical treatment and subsidised child care, why wouldn’t a socialist want to share this wealth with others?

Because, as Hayek points out, they’ve thought it through to its logical conclusion and realised it is diametrically opposed to their agenda.

Jenna Hates….. buying leaving drinks

And her exit party might not be far away as the long term career prospects for a lecturer in Humanities in an Australian university can’t be particularly secure.

Today’s whine is on the subject of the financial viability of the university sector, after a year of massively reduced revenue.

In a moment of exquisite irony and demonstrating a profound lack of introspection, Janna Hates discusses critical thinking and freedom of speech. Obviously, she then follows that up by not addressing any of the huge pachyderm-shaped objects in the refectory.

Please bear in mind Jenna teaches journalism, and then wonder about the quality standards we will be subjected to from her students.

The university system in this country is dying. The government used the pandemic to destroy the places for critical conversations; and university management mostly rolled over.

The second sentence both presumes motives, mind reading in other words, and demonstrates a keen grasp of irony when suggesting the Australian academe isn’t an ideological echo chamber.

Mass redundancies, both voluntary and forced across the sector, have left big gaps in teaching staff. In some places that led to decisions to close down subjects, courses, departments. Right now, nearly every university is considering merging faculties.

Which departments are merging, do we think? Physics with Mathematics? Medicine with Engineering? Or maybe Gender Studies with Sociology? Go on, have a guess.

She continues with a complaint over the availability of the government furlough scheme to private but not public universities. Prima facie, that sounds quite damning. Of course, the critical thinkers amongst us might wish to investigate further.

It turns out, some private universities qualified for the furlough schemes due to having a lower turnover and assistance was made available to all universities based on a per capita payment for domestic students.

What two hypotheses might we consider based on those facts?

How about, (1) for reasons unknown, publicly funded universities are significantly larger in financial turnover than private universities and (2) they’d all be a lot better off right now if they didn’t rely heavily on overseas students.

Or, to put it another way, Jenna Hates is complaining because your taxes aren’t being used to bail out the educational infrastructure for overseas students.

Let’s go full reductio ad absurdum; Jenna Hates wants the income tax paid by an Australian worker stacking supermarket shelves on the night shift to be used to subsidise the immigration scam education of Chinese kids with rich parents.

The rest of the article follows the usual modus operandi, wandering all over the place accusing “the government” of being negligent at best but most likely mendacious. Don’t waste your time on it unless you’ve really got nothing better to do. Maybe page to the bottom to spot where she can’t resist having a dig at a man who has been accused without proof, by a dead person, of rape and, because of this, should resign.

Let’s return to the original problem. Australian universities are haemorrhaging cash and are having to cut costs to survive.

That’s interesting, isn’t it. Because, as far as one can tell, Australian high schools are still pumping out kids with all the correct qualifications to go on to higher education. The student loan industry is still active and the economy is going gangbusters.

So why the big problems?

Well

617,000 overseas students? What’s that as a percentage of all university students in a normal year? About 44%.

How does that compare with another English-speaking country? The UK usually takes about half a million overseas students, or about 20% of the total.

There isn’t a pandemic every year, of course, but even so, a sector which is ostensibly designed to educate a country’s population yet relies on the revenue generated from almost one overseas students for every domestic student was perhaps always built on risky business model.

It’s even worse than that; fees paid by overseas students are often as much as double those paid by domestic students. The first class passengers are subsidising the economy class travellers.

Or, more accurately, they’re not this year. Hence the subject of Jenna Hates’ current cause célèbre.

Bill’s Opinion

I’m really sorry anyone lost their job as a result of the governmental response to the virus. However, the reality is some sectors of the economy were already unsustainable before the pandemic.

An education sector which had grown to provide as many places to people from countries with recognised high quality universities as it does for its domestic customers was one such sector.

If it wasn’t the 2020 pandemic that caught it napping, it would have been the next financial crisis or cooling of international diplomacy.

There is another inconvenient fact our Lecturer in Journalism, Jenna Hates, fails to address; the overseas student visa has been primarily a fast track to residency for many students, with the academic achievement being a far distant second.

Perhaps a shrunken university sector might serve the Australian student population better as it would have to focus on the quality of the teaching of “hard” subjects with, y’know, actual careers waiting for them once they’ve graduated?

Think critically about that for a moment, Jenna Hates.

Australian politicians and the N word

Some words are simply SO taboo that even saying them brings catastrophe to the speaker.

In the UK, it’s widely accepted that the NHS is the political “third rail”, i.e. any politician touching it will be electrocuted.

Australia has a different political N word. Let’s see if you can guess which it is before getting to the end of this page.

Some background first.

This week saw the Australia media panjandrums pop on a jaunty little face mask, head to their local airport and fly off to Canberra for the Australian ceremonial version of Changing of the Guard, the Federal Budget.

The first question in many minds might be why? As in, “why, after 2020, is anyone still languishing under the illusion the Federal government has any power or influence?”. But I suppose the chance of a night away from home with the corporate credit card is too tempting for those few souls toiling in the dog days of the news industry.

The ritual regarding the release of the details of the budget to the press is somewhat ridiculous too. The press corps are locked in a room without communications to the outside world to pour over an early glimpse of the details. Ah, if only that room could be of greater capacity and the locks made more permanent…. we can but dream.

What then were the interesting or amusing highlights of this year’s flavour of returning a portion of our taxes to us in a magnanimous grand gesture of altruism?

One which grabbed my attention was the $100m splurge of my taxes into three 10 megawatt power stations. That’s a good thing, I suppose, given the third world power cuts parts of the country experienced in recent years due to the sun and wind being inconveniently unavailable at times when people in South Australia wanted to run their fridge or boil a kettle.

What type of power station can be built these days without the moong dal crunchers becoming upset? Turns out hydrogen is acceptable as it is a zero carbon energy source.

Ring the church bells! We have found a source of “clean energy”, rejoice!

A wander around the various media sources will reinforce the article linked above, explaining to their readers that generating electricity from hydrogen doesn’t emit carbon.

By the way, when did “carbon” become the approved shorthand for “carbon dioxide”? I suppose we shorten amphetamine sulphate to amphetamine or even speed so we have form on this.

Curious minds might ask a question or two about this new wonder fuel, however. For example, where does all the hydrogen come from?

The wiki page answers the question in an unintentionally hilarious way (bold highlighting is mine):

Hydrogen fuel is a zero carbon fuel burned with oxygen. It can be used in fuel cells or internal combustion engines. It has begun to be used in commercial fuel cell vehicles, such as passenger cars, and has been used in fuel cell buses for many years. It is also used as a fuel for spacecraft propulsion.

As of 2018, the majority of hydrogen (95%) is produced from fossil fuels by steam reforming or partial oxidation of methane and coal gasification with only a small quantity by alternative routes such as biomass gasification or electrolysis of water or solar thermochemistry, a solar fuel with no carbon emissions.

“Zero carbon” seems a somewhat fluid and forgiving definition, as anyone who proudly drives a coal-powered Tesla will virtue signal to you.

Is it accurate then to summarise hydrogen cell energy generation as “zero carbon when the energy used to extract hydrogen was generated using zero carbon energy but almost all of the time it isn’t”?

To be fair to those pushing hydrogen-based energy projects, there is a clearly a “build it and they will come” desire to see the hydrogen extraction become based on wind and solar. It’s just they haven’t come yet.

Back to the politics of it all, because everything about climate change is politics, after all; are we missing any key pieces of information?

Of course we are. Firstly, let’s remind ourselves who the biggest polluter is by a country mile. China now produces more CO2 than all of the western economies combined. Good luck if you think Australia’s actions could change the global climate either positively or negatively by comparison.

Secondly, did you know Australia has some of the largest deposits of uranium in the world?

Did you guess the N word before that sentence?

Bill’s Opinion

Australia, like most countries, has a national narrative it likes to tell itself. One such example is regarding the events at Gallipoli in the First World War.

If you speak to most Australians about it, you will likely hear a version of the following; Nasty Winston Churchill sent the Australian troops to a certain defeat because they were expendable, unlike the English. Also, an Australian bloke called Simpson bravely carried wounded soldiers on a donkey. It’s all a bit more complicated than that, of course; the English lost about four times as many Anzacs and Simpson was an English deserter, most likely using the donkey as an excuse to keep away from being permanently on the front line.

Just like the Gallipoli story, Australia has told itself a story about nuclear energy, such that it is political suicide to even mention its name.

For decades now, no Australian politician, or indeed political commentator, has seriously mentioned the possibility of using our vast stores of uranium to produce cheap and truly zero carbon electricity.

It’s not even a topic to be named and then dismissed after a brief discussion. It’s as if we’ve put the words “nuclear energy” in a locked box, thrown away the key and buried the box deep in a snake infested cave.

And that’s how we get to a national delusion that our three new hydrogen power plants are, by any stretch of the imagination, “green”.

Manchurian OpEds

You’d have to be deliberately obtuse to not recognise the nefarious influence China leverages across “western democracies” (for want of a better descriptor).

We wrote about some Australian examples here.

Without any proof whatsoever, I’m going to have a punt that this may be another example. Excuse the photo of the article, but it’s behind a paywall and I’m not prepared to pay:

Fans of Betteridge’s Law might want to consider a related variation resulting in the following answer to the headline’s question; “It won’t, you fool”. Let’s face it, if you believe China is credibly aiming at a carbon net zero scenario by 2060, I’ve got a harbour bridge you may like to buy.

If that also summarises your view on China’s commitment to the Paris Climate Accord (our analysis of that devalued document here), you may wish to also focus in on the Hans Christian Andersen chart presented as authoritative:

CO2 production to peak in 9 years time and then fall quicker than a Premier League soccer player in the penalty box? Okaaaaay.

By the way; Source: CAIXIN. This CAIXIN? Excuse me if I express mild scepticism as to their ability to be objective whilst remaining on the preferred side of a Chinese prison wall.

There’s a lot to parse from the article, feel free to invest the time to read every word. Alternatively, here’s my TL:DR version:

The best way to ensure China achieves its international climate change commitments is for the entire global economy to implement a new form or carbon pricing based on my employer’s complicated computer modelling combined with increased public policy and regulatory rules. No, I’m not going to share the computer model nor what regulatory and policy rules should be imposed.

So, who is Peng Wengsheng, what does his employer do and who’s behind them?

Dr Peng Wensheng is managing director, global chief economist and head of research at CITIC Securities….. Dr Peng was born in 1966 in Anhui Province, China. He received a Bachelor’s degree in economics from Nankai University in 1986, and continued to study at the postgraduate school of the People’s Bank of China. He received a Master’s degree in banking and finance and PhD in economics at the University of Birmingham in England in 1988 and 1993 respectively. Dr Peng is an adjunct professor at Tsinghua University and Nankai University, and was voted first and second in the area of macroeconomic research for China by “Asia Money” and “Institutional Investor” consecutively in 2013 and 2014.”

CITIC Securities Co., Ltd. is a Chinese full-service investment bank. It offers services in underwriting, research, brokerage, asset management, wealth management, and investment advisory. CITIC Securities was established in 1995 and it is headquartered in Shenzhen, Guangdong Province.”

Any other information regarding CITIC? Oh, this:

On August 25, 2015 the Chinese news media announced that several executives within CITIC Securities were under investigation for possible wrongdoing.

Bill’s Opinion

It is entirely possible Dr Peng’s opinions published without examination in The Australian Financial Review are written in good faith. It is also entirely possible his employers, CITIC Securities and the media group CAIXIN are operating freely and without influence from the Chinese Communist Party.

Let’s give a probability to these things shall we?

Your assessment may radically differ from mine but my view is a man who grew up in China, has spent all of his adult life in the pay of Chinese universities and Chinese banks and whose family presumably nearly all still live within the regime…. isn’t an objective commentator.

Similarly, no mater how motivated the CAIXIN media group or CITIC Securities executives are to be independent from the Chinese government, having one’s colleagues investigated would tend to focus the mind somewhat.

I’ll estimate there’s a less than 5% chance this isn’t a Chinese government endorsed, if not written, OpEd.

I actually don’t care that Peng and his employers are stooges. I’m more intrigued as to why the AFR published it without question.

Desperately seeking alpha

WilliamofOckham.com content generator and great friend of this organ, Jess Irvine has written another informative Facebook post on her child’s nursery chat group.

Before we get into it, let’s have a quick reminder of an important phenomenon; the Dunning Kruger Effect. This has been summarised thus:

“.…If you’re incompetent, you can’t know you’re incompetent … The skills you need to produce a right answer are exactly the skills you need to recognize what a right answer is.

With that context in mind, let’s have a look at Jess’ genius Mumsnet story.

Jess tells us she’s knocking on the door of her 40th year and has never invested in stocks outside of her Superannuation fund, which presumably is managed by somebody else. I’m not sure this is the sort of admission a “Senior Economics Writer” should make in public. One would be sceptical of a surgeon who admitted to never actually holding a scalpel, after all.

But still, not one to be worried by inconveniences such as competence, capability or knowledge, Jess has announced she’s going to be sharing her top stock picks over the near future.

I may need to write a “Jess Irvine piss take bot” to cover these announcements.

The secret to Jess’s investing success starts, as with all of Jess’s advice, with a spreadsheet. To a man with a hammer, the whole world looks like a nail.

So, with the spreadsheet, she has categorised the stocks in the ASX into her own unique budget labels: housing, household, utilities, transport, food, health, education, appearance, lifestyle and professional fees.

Curious minds might wonder at this point, why Jess’s investing strategy is limited to the Australian exchange, especially as most major tech companies are on the NASDAQ and the world’s major corporations are listed in London or New York? Keep wondering, as we aren’t told. I’m sure it’s nothing to do with a lack of knowledge and experience.

If you’re paging down the column looking for the first stock pick, don’t bother, we’re being made to wait. After all, Jess doesn’t want to rashly splash her $10,000 on just any old crap.

Wait, didn’t I mention this entire column is to tell us that one day, sometime in the future, Jess may buy up to $10,000 worth of shares?

That’s not strictly true, she does manage to get a mention in about her astute purchase, at the last market peak, of a tiny Sydney apartment, which she now owns is renting from a bank and, that she’s got nearly $300,000 in her pension, which suggests she’s made three fifths of fuck all alpha on the principle over the 20 years she’s been paying in.

The only missing components of a classic Jess Irvine’s Mumsnet post are mention of her coming last in a marathon and having a baby. Plenty of time for that when the stock picks are shared though.

Bill’s Opinion

There’s no real way to confirm this but I’m going to wildly speculate about Jess Irvine, Senior Economics Writer at the Sydney Morning Herald:

  1. The only reason she has that job title is because of her gender. She could not, surely, have been the most qualified business and economics writer available to that newspaper.
  2. The ongoing requirement for the news desk to maintain diversity quotas has emboldened her to push this kind of pointless and, frankly, embarrassing writing on the editors and, being spineless, they roll over and publish it.
  3. All of Jess’s stock picks will rise at least 10% in value over the next year. This will be hailed as genius (self-assessed). proof of her financial acumen and mastery of a pivot table.

In the meantime, nearly everything on the ASX will rise 10% too, what else can it do in an era of central banks hitting CTRL P to infinity?

My advice is don’t take slimming advice from an overweight person and don’t take stock tips from the shoe shine girl.

The life of Brian

Here’s one for the coffee table collection, Brian Hartzer’s autobiography:

For those who’ve arrived here since our mildly unhealthy obsession with Brian’s Wokepac subsided and have therefore missed all the fun watching his slow-moving car crash of a career, perhaps start with this and then read any of the subsequent posts under the Wokepac category.

I’m sure the book will be a fascinating read, explaining the key to Brian’s excellent and almost magical ability to connect (or engage, if you will) with the average Australian.

Most management books seem to have seven rules. Seven is a good number for bullshit advice.

What might Brian’s seven rules consist of, perhaps?

Could we respectfully offer the following:

1. Over-promote people based purely on genital configuration and rig the quota numbers, if required

2. Attend every woke event in the calendar

3. Don’t pay attention to the Risk Department when they suggested the IT systems were enabling 3,000 cases of child sexual abuse

4. Assume everything is going to be great now we have 50:50 diversity in leadership

5. Ignore the year on year decline in share price and market share

6. Front up to APRA with a pathetic and worthless mea culpa

7. Resign as an absolute professional failure, after destroying shareholder value and the credibility of a 200 year old bank whilst maintaining the highest relative operating cost base in the industry

Bill’s Opinion

There are people to take advice from and there are people from whom it’s best to learn by doing the opposite of their example.

Brian is in the latter category.

Don’t be too surprised to find his next career move is Celebrity Strictly Ballroom and I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here.

Australia’s lack of ambition

Stars lobby for Netflix to face 20 per cent local content quota.

Seriously? Just 20%? You’re selling your talent short, guys.

Why not 50% or even 75%? If “Australian content” is so good, surely we should be pushing for more of it? Who doesn’t like “Australian content”?

In fact, why not 89.56161 (recurring) %?

Who on earth wouldn’t want to be faced with pages and pages of Netflix options of shows featuring stars and A listers such as Simon Baker, Marta Dusseldorp, Bryan Brown and Justine Clarke?

We’ve all enjoyed their back catalogues, haven’t we?

Well, at least you’ve heard of these people, right?

Clue: Baker has starred in a USA TV crime series. As for the others, your guess is as good as mine; it’s probably safe to assume they’re panellists on some crappy quiz shows on the ABC.

Anyway, we digress.

This call for legislation mandating the origin of the entertainment offered by Netflix raises many questions. Questions such as:

  • Why is there so little Australian content on Netflix?
  • Of the existing Australian content, how popular is it with the Australian public relative to content from other countries?
  • What’s the international worth of this Australian content? Are other countries lining up to buy it off us faster than we create it?
  • Who the fuck are these so called “stars” and couldn’t they even get Huge Ackman to join them, given his track record of turning up to the opening of anything more significant than an electricity bill?

Bill’s Opinion

There’s a few things going on here. Firstly, this is a very Australian response to the reality and impact of market forces; seek government intervention in the form of protectionism, regulation and subsidies.

From car manufacturing to baked beans, there isn’t an industry in the country that, even before the luxury communism of covid, didn’t benefit from taxpayer largesse. Australia went from being a nation of ex-convict sheep farmers without a chance of leaving to a nation of farmed sheep without a chance of leaving.

More amusingly though, this is the type of lunacy we get when people who get paid to play “let’s pretend” for a living try to interfere in economics and business. That they’ll even get an audience in Canberra for this stupidity also tells us much about the IQ and real life experience of the political class.

In the meantime, anyone with an understanding of economics or recent experience with paging through reams of unpalatable viewing options of woke, race baiting, climate change pushing, unfunny, uninteresting and, frankly, preachy bollocks on Netflix, will be able to tell you what the likely unintended consequences of this will be; cancelled subscriptions.

If your “Australian content” is so good, sell it to us and the world like France does with series like Bureau des Legendes or Dix Pour Cent. Don’t force it on us like medicine.

Toot toot chugga chugga big red car….

Everyone back in the trees!

Observed evidence suggests a possible hypothesis; in some pockets of the human species, evolution has stopped and has gone in to reverse.

The human species has reached a level of such great technological advance, the resulting inventions and indeed much of everyday life contains too much detail for the vast majority of people to fully comprehend. For many, it could be indistinguishable from witchcraft, to borrow a theme by Arthur C. Clarke.

This idea is neatly demonstrated by the excellent book and subsequent short animated video, “I, Pencil“. Although we take a pencil for granted, no one individual is capable of making one or even has the complete knowledge of how to make one.

Many of us are able to understand the principles behind much of the process though.

William of Ockham’s evolution in reverse hypothesis suggests we’ve left some people behind in this ability to understand complexity at a high level.

Today, I will offer two items of evidence for this but there will no doubt be plenty more over the coming weeks and months. Once seen, this phenomenon becomes visible everywhere.

Item 1: A CEO, whose entire business model is to offer sage advice to other organisations, couldn’t predict there would be any significant problems with paying exactly the same wage to every employee, regardless of age, skill level and skill value. In fact, the poor love seemed almost childlike in his wonder when he discovered a web developer in central London won’t work for the same wage as the office receptionist.

His brain hasn’t quite made the leap to the realisation other humans might have agency and will make choices that best suit their personal circumstances. Imagine reaching adulthood and not being even vaguely aware of that?

Item 2. A Senator of 14 years longevity in the Federal Parliament, who has spent her entire career sitting in vehement opposition to the government on the often inferred basis that it is a combination of corrupt, incompetent or even evil, believes a Government-developed internet search engine would be a useful project for taxpayer dollars.

This, despite the not entirely irrelevant facts there are already a dozen alternative free search engines which, between them, spend perhaps more than $3bn every year on research and development.

Yet she still believes we should trust the bureaucracy that brought you the NBN, CovidSafe App, expensive national firewalls to block websites such as PirateBay without understanding what a VPN is and countless examples of IT procurement and development with quadrupled budgets and minuscule realised benefits. This time they’ll get it right though, surely?

Bill’s Opinion

That they walk amongst us without their jaws wide open in amazement at the miracle of electric light bulbs, coffee machines, bicycles and adhesive stamps on envelopes, says much about these people’s lack of imagination or introspection.

Without getting all eugenics on the subject, it’s a bit of a worry for the species these genes are still washing around the system.

Somewhere in the world there is a tree working really hard. I think Calvin Benton and Sarah Two Dads owe it an apology.

Just duck duck go and call their bluff

Executives from Google and Facebook’s Australian offices were dragged in front of a Senate hearing where they were savaged by Green politician Sarah Two Dads, which must have been scary for them.

If you missed the story, the chronology can be summarised as follows:

1989 Tim Berners-Lee invents the World Wide Web

1998 Larry Page created Google

2020 The Australian news industry discovered the internet

2021 Australian politicians tried to tax the internet

Ok, there’s a bit more to it than that….but not much.

To get a completely unbiased version of events, read this article published by the Sydney Morning Herald, an organisation whose entire raison d’être was to write about new stuff, yet has failed to change its business model every year since 1998.

Bill’s Opinion

As Ben Shapiro is fond of saying, two things can be true at once. Google and Facebook can be ruthless and unscrupulous operators, willing to steal content and commoditise everything they touch AND the Australian news media can be guilty of failing to adapt their business model to make money and not have to keep firing journalists.

In the unlikely event Google switch off their search engine in Australia, nobody should care. Other search engines are available and some, such as Duck Duck Go claim not to track you like a Stasi surveillance team.

I suspect the politicians will blink first, but who really cares anyway.

What is most amusing is the news outlets most exercised by this. Outlets like The Australian and, in the UK, The Times, Telegraph and Spectator have all made a success of the paywall model. This Australian spat says more about the outlets who haven’t, doesn’t it?

Newspapers such as the Sydney Morning Herald are desperate for a government handout, nominally paid for by Google. To understand why, one only needs to answer the following question; “where would a Sydney Morning Herald reader go for free news if they locked the paywall?”.

The answer is, of course, the government news agency, The ABC.

The SMH can’t compete because they have no Unique Selling Point to offer to someone whose politics leans towards the left.

Yet don’t expect to see calls in the SMH for The ABC to be defunded.

It’s the Australian equivalent of Stockholm Syndrome.

As for losing the Google search option in Australia…. I’m reminded of this exchange in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy:

Prosser: Mr. Dent, have you any idea how much damage that bulldozer would suffer if I just let it roll straight over you?

Dent: How much?

Prosser: None at all.

The customer is always right

An interesting Twitter thread here on the subject of Chinese visa abusers students in an Australian university complaining about the subject material being taught.

This caught my attention for two reasons; firstly, it had never crossed my mind that, once reading the prospectus, applying and paying for the course, students would then vociferously petition to define the course material.

But the most instructive aspect of this is the reply by the University. Spoiler alert; it isn’t a single sentence along the lines of, “that’s what we’re teaching, if you don’t like it feel free to fuck off”:

To understand what’s going on with this story, you’ll need some specific Australian background. You can do your own research to confirm/reject these statements and, if you do, it’d be great to hear your conclusions in the comments:

Australia has been running two unofficial route to citizenship schemes for decades. The first is “457 visas” for IT workers where they are employed at lower than market rate until they achieve permanent resident status. In earlier times, this might have been called “indentured labour”. The second is a student visa whereby the children of rich foreigners with questionable qualifications and English language skills pay to attend a university course with the intention of staying long enough to achieve permanent resident status.

This has had the effect of keeping IT salaries lower than they might otherwise have been and inflating the revenue of the universities most guilty of turning a blind eye to non-bilingual students.

Following the events of 2020, these two industries are having to reassess this model.

Bill’s Opinion

The correct response from Monash should have been taciturn and Anglo Saxon. That it was a mealy mouthed equivocation tells us quite how reliant they are on the revenue being shipped in from mainland Chinese parents.

As the old axiom goes, “the customer is always right”.