Universities: The Governance Trap And What To Do About It


Margaret Thornton
16 March 2005
Strong Democracy and Government
by: Margaret Thornton

Author: Margaret Thornton is Professor of Law at the Australian National University


Introduction: The Changing Face of Higher Education

Higher education in Australia is undergoing a transformation which has thrown university governance into disarray. I argue that the dilemmas around governance arise from the push towards the privatisation of what was once regarded as a fundamental public good. It is in response to the market turn that universities have been corporatised which has resulted in the inversion of the traditional norms of governance. Instead of collegiality, in which decisions were made by the academic community as a whole, we now have a system of top-down managerialism whereby university decision-making has become the prerogative of administrators, government officials and business representatives.

As a dimension of Australia's move away from primary industry and manufacturing to the production of knowledge, there has been a vast increase in the number of students entering universities. This is the phenomenon of 'massification'. The aim is to increase the proportion of 'new knowledge workers' in order to make Australia competitive in the global economy. As Lyotard points out, it is knowledge not land that is now the basis of the struggle between nation states.[i] Government policy in support of this shift is underpinned by the Dawkins Reforms of 1988. With a stroke of the pen, the number of universities in Australia more than doubled, a change that is mirrored in the rapid increase in the number of graduates. In what the ABS now terms Measures of a Knowledge-based Economy and Society, reflecting the new productivity base, 18 per cent of the Australian population between 15 and 64 possessed a bachelor degree or above in 2003, compared with only 10 per cent a decade earlier.[ii] The impetus to harness the production of new knowledge and new knowledge workers has been pursued with a vengeance by the Howard Government.

Despite the dramatic increase in the number of students under Dawkins, government funding did not increase to a commensurate degree. In accordance with prevailing neoliberal philosophy, public institutions had begun to be viewed as a drain on the state. Accordingly, universities were expected to look elsewhere to make up the shortfall. The government initiated a shift in responsibility for funding from the public purse to the consumers of higher education - that is, the students - which has irrevocably altered the landscape of higher education. Instead of higher education being regarded as a public good, which is provided by the state, we have moved to a quasi-private user pays system. I say 'quasi-private', because it is the state that is orchestrating the change and transforming education into a commodity; there is no invisible hand at work here.

In arguing that the funding shortfall is the linchpin of the governance trap, I will show how the neoliberal state is inexorably moving towards the privatisation of higher education. I suggest that the various constituent elements, now termed 'stakeholders' - students, Vice-Chancellors and managers, academics and the public have been co-opted into acceptance of the revolutionary change, a factor that militates against the possibility of providing a simple blueprint for change.

By a certain sleight of hand, the transition to a consumer culture has been effected by a number of incremental steps. First, was the design of a scheme that involved the imposition of fees, euphemistically called a 'contribution' - HECS (Higher Education Contribution Scheme). The ready availability of HECS had the effect of locking students into acceptance of the privatisation imperative. They have to pay nothing up-front (but may if they wish), and repayment is deferred until they are earning $36,000 (2005 figure), when the loan is recoverable through the tax system. With the HECS, it can clearly be seen how the various strands of public and private are now intertwined in such a way as to subvert insidiously the idea of higher education as a public good. In a very short time, the system has inevitably become skewed in favour of consumerism.

HECS was first introduced 15 years ago as a plank of the Dawkins reforms and was initially set at $1,800 pa across the board, but it soon increased, thereby underscoring the consumer mentality. The change is most graphically illustrated by the discipline of law. From 2005, HECS is $6,427, the highest HECS band. A number of universities have opted to impose a HECS levy of 25 per cent, that is, $1,607, making a total of $8,034 pa payable by the student. This compares with the government contribution of only $1,509 for a law place, the lowest on a 10-band scale.

The combined total of the Commonwealth contribution, HECS and the levy is still insufficient to defray university infrastructural costs. Hence, the second step in the commodification of higher education is that universities themselves are expected to generate revenue to make up the shortfall. Accordingly, they must enter the market and offer their only product - education. By accepting the market message, universities, like students, have become complicit in the privatisation of public education. Commonwealth support now accounts for only about 40 per cent of university income. In 1989, when the Dawkins reforms came into effect, it was 77 per cent. This is a striking manifestation of the 'success' of the neoliberal imperative to slough off responsibility for public goods.

By and large, universities have mounted little resistance to the market push. A plethora of undergraduate, postgraduate and short courses have been devised for domestic, international and overseas full-fee students, both on-line and face-to-face. Once again, the crassness of the money-generating side of these activities has been softened through the creation of a new government loans system - FEE-HELP - which operates in the same way as FEE-HECS, that is, repayment is contingent on attaining a particular level of income. The new scheme allows loans of up to $50,000 in order to undertake a full-fee course. In addition to FEE-HELP, universities themselves have also sought to make full fees attractive to the community by offering scholarships to 'needy' students. There is no cap on what fees a university might charge if it goes down the full fee route; it is left entirely to the vagaries of the market. The attractiveness to universities of full fees is apparent in the increase in enrolment of international students which represented a dramatic 23 per cent of all student enrolments in 2003, compared with only four per cent in 1988. While only a few institutions, mainly the 'Sandstones', have decided to go down the full-fee route for domestic students to date, the figures in some cases are already startling - with law in the vanguard. For example, 51 per cent of commencing students and 33 per cent of the total law enrolment at Melbourne University in 2005 is full fee-paying.[iii] Given the incremental approach, I suggest that law will soon become entirely full fee-paying.

The third major transformative element in the creation of a consumer culture is the move to establish a range of new for-profit universities - an unprecedented development in the Australian university landscape. An Issues Paper, Building University Diversity, was released early in 2005.[iv] The move to open higher education to competition of all kinds is a further plank of the Nelson reforms.[v] The key issue is whether to subject the sector to a plethora of for-profit providers, both from within Australia and from overseas and to determine what regulatory framework is appropriate for them, leaving aside the question as to whether they should be called universities or not. It is notable that there is particular concern that free enquiry, academic freedom and financial independence be guaranteed in the governance of for-profit institutions,[vi] but there does not seem to be the same degree of concern about public universities engaging in for-profit activities. The not-for-profit characterisation would seem to protect them. Indeed, the Guthrie Report (2004) suggests that after reviewing the provision of higher education overseas that 'for-profit bodies are more extensively regulated and made more accountable than public institutions'.[vii]

It is entirely appropriate that there be concern about for-profit institutions, but it is a gross oversight to assume that public universities are not a problem because of their tradition of collegiality, participatory decision making and shared governance.[viii] On the contrary, I suggest that the impact of the marketising imperative is eroding, if not eviscerating, these norms altogether. I am interested in the impact of this further step towards privatisation of the sector on the governance of what Di Yerbury, President of the Australian Vice-Chancellors Committee, has graphically referred to as the 'nominally public universities' [my italics].[ix] The shift from a public to a hybridised system of higher education in 15 years challenges our understanding of what a university is, not just how it should be governed. The creation of for-profit entities, such as Melbourne University Private, currently the sole example in Australia, by one of our oldest public universities underscores the contradictory nature of the transformation. The way that the one has been able to piggy-back on the other, to the extent of even using the same public name, has made it virtually impossible to separate the public from the private strands. By focusing solely on the about-to-be created for-profit universities, public universities are relegated to an inscrutable space, or accorded only the most cursory scrutiny. As a result, they are secretly being transformed into de facto private universities.

Corporatisation of the University

Corporatisation refers to the application of business practices to public institutions to make them more like private corporations. It has been a primary policy of neoliberal governments in an endeavour to transfer power and responsibility for public goods to the market. Corporatisation involves a dramatic turn-around in the modus operandi of universities. As they enter the market as entrepreneurs, they assume the trappings of the market and competition policy.[x] They are expected to compete with other universities, whether public or private, both within Australia and overseas. As indicated, the way is being cleared for an influx of for-profit providers. Neoliberals see competition as healthy and discount the negative effects of the market on education. Minister Nelson has signalled that universities can expect the corporatist trend to continue, making greater inroads into university autonomy and modes of governance, despite all the rhetoric of de-regulation.

The corporation is the typical structure through which profit-making activities are conducted in our society. While corporations formerly carried with them a notion of public good, usually associated with charitable or religious institutions, corporations today are more likely to denote associations that have been established to facilitate profit-making in the interests of shareholders.[xi] Incorporation allows an organisation to exist in perpetuity, as well as to sue and be sued in its own right so that individual employees are not legally liable for actions performed in the course of their duties, provided that they are acting in good faith. While the concept of the corporate veil protects individuals, its existence means that it is harder for interested parties to secure transparency and accountability.

A university has its origins in the middle ages when corporations were constituted to serve some good purpose of a public nature. If we look to individual university Acts of Incorporation, we see reference among their objects to phrases that accord with this idea of public good, such as the provision of educational and professional services to the community, enrichment of cultural life and advancement of knowledge. Generally speaking, it is rare to find a reference to entrepreneurialism or profit-making in Australian Acts of Incorporation, even though these values are now central to the marketised environment in which all universities now operate. It is therefore notable that the Victoria University of Technology Act was amended in 1994 to make express reference to the 'commercial exploitation of the results of [that] research' (s6(c)) and 'the participation in commercial ventures and activities' (s6 (e)), but the meaning of 'commercial ventures' is neither defined nor elaborated upon.

The VUT Act points to the conflation that is occurring between the university as corporation for the public good and the university as corporation for profit-making, which has become a major source of tension.[xii] This is underscored by an amendment which was effected to all Victorian University Acts in 2003 that accords closely with the traditional role of the university: 'to promote critical enquiry within the university and in the general community'. This provision has the potential to challenge some of the values associated with the conduct of commercial ventures, such as the ethics associated with charging high fees to Third World students, as well as the cultural sensitivity of courses offered. Ironically, however, the amendment was added just when critique of corporate practices, including those of the university itself, has become more difficult as a result of the pressures to effect closer links with industry.

Even though it may be averred that private for-profit corporations include a quasi-public element (such as the good of the economy), the primary beneficiaries are individual shareholders, thereby confirming the private character of the good. Nevertheless, shareholders play a central role in ensuring accountability of the CEO and board for policy decisions made in the name of the company. Not only are there no shareholders within public universities to whom senior management is accountable, the proportion of academic stakeholders, the closest approximation to shareholders on university councils, has been significantly reduced.[xiii] In the case of Victorian universities, this means one professorial member, one sub-professorial member and one general staff member, along with an undergraduate and a postgraduate representative.[xiv] The Victorian model has been emulated by the new federal governance protocols which universities need to satisfy to qualify for moneys under the Commonwealth Grant Scheme.[xv] The pruning of university councils and their primary stakeholders means that there are now likely to be few councillors who are au fait with academic issues. To drive the point home, the new federal protocols specify that there must be a majority of external independent members. The intimate knowledge of the academic enterprise that an academic might be expected to have is now construed as tantamount to a conflict of interests. According to the new governance protocols, one member should have 'substantial business experience'. However, there is already a preference for business appointees to the councils of public universities, a trend that has been induced by the prevailing climate of entrepreneurialism. It is business knowledge that has supplanted academic knowledge, a factor that can only distort the idea of the university with its commitment to reason, culture and excellence.[xvi]

There has been an increasing tendency for university councils to take a less active role in university governance, partly because of their changed composition, so that effective decision- making has been left to the Vice-Chancellor, in conjunction with council executive and senior management. Consequently, Council is now all too often no more than a rubber stamp, being expected to ratify substantive decisions that are made behind the scenes. Such practices may not let Council off the hook legally if a breach were to occur, but the de facto shift in power and responsibility belies the formal texts, such as the Acts of incorporation.

The New Managerialism

In accordance with the corporatist script, marked changes have also occurred within the internal governance of universities. Following the demise of the binary system in the late 1980s,[xvii] and with the support of what was then the Department of Employment, Education and Training (DEET) (now the Department of Education, Science and Technology (DEST)), most universities turned away from the appointment of Vice-Chancellors as academic leaders to an imagined understanding of them as modern corporate managers who would ensure that the teaching and research effort of universities comports with current state interests. This has resulted in a top-down form of managerialism and a move away from traditional modes of collegial decision-making.

Along the lines of private-for-profit corporation, the Vice-Chancellor has become the CEO of the corporatised university. He or she (usually he) is surrounded by a group of deputy and pro-vice-chancellors, who form the upper echelon of a complex line management structure. The line of command fans downwards through a hierarchy of control that includes mega-deans, deans, heads of schools and departments, all responsible for the management of a unit, but with circumscribed authority because they are answerable up the line.  All individual staff members are also bound within a web of reciprocal relations, secured through multiple regimes of audit and accountability. Within this structure, academic freedom is inevitably constrained. In order to maximise productivity, the new state-authorised managerialism utilises technologies of accountability and audit to an unprecedented extent.[xviii]

As the official rhetoric began to change, it is notable that university managerial practices also began to change in accordance with the private corporatised template. Collegiality and peer review, imperfect though they might be in practice, have long been distinguishing features of life in the academy, but they have been significantly eroded by the new style of top-down managerialism that allows little space for the voices of academics to be heard.[xix] The loss of control over the nature of the working environment can result in a decline in workplace satisfaction and an increase in stress.[xx]

This loss of voice has also led to a weakening of disciplinary cultures, which has occurred through restructuring and the creation of interdisciplinary mega-units. On its face, it may appear more rational to have an executive dean speak for a cluster of disciplines than for six or eight from separate schools or departments. The effect, however, may be that no one is an advocate for the integrity of a particular discipline and its distinctive culture. The development of a single bureaucratised template that is intended to apply to every discipline in the name of quality or some other form of audit has the effect of subtly homogenising, as well as weakening, the academic offerings in a mega-faculty and inducing a lowest common denominator approach. The 'shift from collegiality and democracy to executive power' is a central tenet of Marginson and Considine's thesis regarding the transformation of Australian universities.[xxi] The weakening of collegiality initially appears somewhat paradoxical in light of the increasingly vociferous rhetoric lauding 'transparency' and 'accountability', but the gaze of audit invariably looks down at the managed, rather than upwards to the managers and institutional decision makers. 

Academic Boards are charged by university Acts with responsibility for all academic affairs and for maintaining standards of excellence in teaching, training, research and scholarship. As suggested, international trade in higher education has, de facto, become central to a university's activities. The University of Melbourne Act uses the word "international' several times, but in the context of excellence in quality of programmes (s4A) (a)(b)(d)), not entrepreneurialism. The difficulty for Academic Boards arises from the potential for conflict between the de jure academic and the de facto commercial objects. The Australian Government Senate Report of 2001, Universities in Crisis,[xxii] highlighted the dark underside of the effects of marketisation: shoddy courses, the lowering of entry standards and pass marks, as well as neo-colonial and exploitative practices associated with the pursuit of the dollar. It was clear that academics in many universities were being expected to embark on ventures for which they were often untrained and ill-equipped.  While a university's Academic Board, in conjunction with faculty and school boards, is charged with investigating and engaging in full and frank discussions of all these issues, senior management is more likely to be interested in safeguarding the 'brand name' of the University. In order to suppress adverse publicity, it may punish a whistleblower who has challenged questionable decision-making rather than conduct an inquiry. Such an issue is unlikely to appear in Council agenda papers, unless it has reached the newspapers first. This is because Academic Boards, like councils, have also largely become rubber stamps. Collegial forms of governance are deemed to be cumbrous and old-fashioned by the new-style university managers. They would prefer to make executive decisions unilaterally and short-circuit consultative processes. Not only does this save time, it obviates the need to deal with the discomfiting side of democracy - dissent. The same point can be made about faculty and school meetings and the preference for executive decision-making by deans and heads. Once a template has been put in place at the top, the lower echelons are only too anxious to emulate it.

The erosion of collegiality explains why so many unpalatable decisions have been made within universities seemingly without contention. Academics are routinely informed that crucial decisions have been made ex post facto so that there is no possibility of responding. Many committees now rarely meet or have become moribund. Civil society has contracted within the university in the same way as within the body politic more generally so that academics become dispirited and feel that there is no point in resisting. The new managers, like contemporary neoliberal governments, then claim a mandate to effect cultural change within the university, for which they are likely to be rewarded handsomely. Indeed, they are deemed to occupy a higher status than professors, the traditional academic leaders, which reflects the new-found power of managers within the market paradigm; it is managers, not academics, who are now the core workers of the university.[xxiii]

The tension between the old and the new university norms - collegiality and managerialism - is inevitably going to erupt from time to time. University Acts are silent as to how conflicts might be resolved, because 'academic capitalism'[xxiv] is not part of the culture in which universities are historically embedded. Although the payment of fees was accepted within traditional university culture, fees were used to augment the academic project, not to promote commercial activities. It is the wholesale commodification of education in order to maximise profits that is alien. There are great gaps in our knowledge and uncertainty as to how to proceed as we fumble towards the development of new norms. In the absence of guidelines, managerialism carries the day. It has the imprimatur of the state and the power of the corporate hierarchy behind it, including, ultimately, the power to fire those who might be less than enthusiastic about the market embrace.

Dismissal is not easy in an institution where tenure nominally still exists, but mechanisms such as 'organisational change' can be conveniently invoked in the name of economic rationality. There are also myriad ways in which life can be made difficult for those who are perceived to be trouble makers: assigning onerous teaching loads, especially in an area where the person lacks expertise, denying benefits, such as permission to attend conferences, to undertake study leave or to apply for promotion. In addition, there is a range of micro-inequities that might also be subsumed within the rubric of bullying, which are designed to encourage resisters to leave, such as 'icing out', and being subjected to verbal abuse and ritual humiliation. Manifestations of corrosive leadership are difficult to challenge when they are authorised by the new managerialism. How does one distinguish between them within the neoliberal university?

Like the Australian Constitution, which is similarly sparse on detail, the gaps are filled by convention; members of the academic community are expected to know intuitively how to behave. It is only when something totally unprecedented occurs, as with the Governor-General's dismissal of Whitlam in 1975, there is recognition that the conventions of the past are inadequate to govern the present. I suggest that corporatisation is such a factor that is insufficiently recognised in either the texts or the conventions of the university, embedded as they are in the mediaeval idea of the corporation.


In view of how thoroughly imbricated privatisation and corporatisation have become within the fabric of the contemporary university, I cannot produce an instantaneous blueprint as to how to deal with the problems. The crisis in governance is produced by the intersection of a number of complex factors, including neoliberalism, with its philosophy of contracting public expenditure and privatising public goods, the revolution in technological change that has given rise to the new knowledge economy, and globalisation; what is happening in Australia is happening everywhere; commodification is contagious and induces competition. However, it is clear that the problem is exacerbated by trying to graft a governance model appropriate for a for-profit corporation on to one designed for a university based on collegiality.

I have sought to explain the contemporary political economy of higher education in the hope that the analysis may assist in the development of strategies of resistance. I would like to hear much more noise in the system. The rapidity with which the market mindset has been accepted and democratic norms eroded is frightening. It is impacting on what is taught, as well as how it is taught. Economic rationality rather than academic excellence is now the modus operandi - short courses and applied knowledge in conjunction with large lectures and exams satisfy the customer's desire for credentialism. All constituencies, or stakeholders as they are now known, need to be activated.

First, while students initially resisted HECS strongly when it was first mooted, each incremental step towards full fees has elicited less opposition. It would appear that students have been seduced by the insidious logic of FEE-HECS and FEE-HELP. Nevertheless, it is with students that our hope for the future lies. Rather than focusing solely on the question of getting in, we need to encourage them to think about what they are getting into. The current attack on compulsory student unionism by the Howard Government may provide receptivity to the revisioning of the university.

Secondly, universities for the most part, displayed an almost indecent enthusiasm for entrepreneurialism, with senior personnel flying off to far away places, usually in the third world, advertising what may have been third rate courses at premium prices. Millions of dollars of public money has been squandered as a result of failed ventures, but the details remain obscure because of the strategic use of the corporate veil, the rubric of 'commercial-in-confidence', supine councils and the increasing concentration of power within VC's and the senior management bloc. I do not have a lot of faith in this sector of the university as a site of transformation, given its preference for homosocial reproduction. Perhaps, if public universities were to be made companies limited by guarantee so that VC's and council members had to pay several million dollars out of their own pockets to cover public moneys lost in failed ventures, we could expect some rapid changes to occur![xxv] Failing that, the support of Vice-Chancellors, such as Ian Chubb of the ANU, who have taken a stance against both the HECS levy and full fees should be solicited and more made of their resistance.

Thirdly, academics, who one would expect to be a vocal constituency because they are intimately involved in programmes that they know to be inferior, have been remarkably passive, apart from some desultory grumbling in the corridors. A few have spoken out, only to be vilified because they have engaged in the 'critical inquiry' specified within their Acts of incorporation. Alan Patience had his email cut off because he was critical of his university's decision to purchase a corporate box at the football.[xxvi] There are countless other less public examples of bullying and harassment, some of which have resulted in the untimely end of an academic career. The scapegoating of individuals has been a potent means of ensuring docility. In contrast, conformity and compliance are openly rewarded. Within the marketised academy, it is entrepreneurialism that secures promotions and benefits rather than scholarly critique. Averting one's gaze in the face of grade tampering and other shady conduct is also likely to secure the approbation of managerial masters because it protects the 'brand name' of the institution. Those who are discomfited by such antics will either leave the academy or disengage. Other academics are publishing high quality critical work, but separate their scholarship from life in the academy in the belief that publishing more will cushion them against the harsh realities of the neoliberal academy. They need to be jolted out of their complacency.

The NTEU has certainly questioned the impact of the Nelson policies on staff, but a concerted attack upon commodification and the lack of appropriate governance structures is missing. The focus tends to be on protecting and improving wages and conditions along traditional lines, rather than conducting the more fundamental critique. In light of the massive decline in union membership and ongoing moves to eviscerate academic unionism by the Howard Government, a change in direction could prove salutary. The issues are too complex and the opposition too powerful to be tackled by individuals and small groups. A national strategy is essential. It might also include alliances with sympathetic VC's, politicians and public intellectuals.

The fourth constituency in securing the transformation of university governance is the public - the silent majority who have shown remarkably little concern for what is occurring. As the public becomes inured to the privatisation of public goods, it becomes easy to move things along a notch or two with barely a murmur is dissent. What is more, state aid to private schools is now so thoroughly entrenched in Australia that the privatisation of higher education is simply a variation on a theme. Higher education barely registered in the federal election last October. What has impacted on the public consciousness, however, is concern about inequitable access. Vocal objections are raised if someone with inferior qualifications is able to buy a university place ahead of another with a higher TER score. As with students, the focus has been almost entirely directed to 'getting in' and credentialism, rather than what it is students are getting into.

Securing the support of the public is also problematic in an anti-intellectual, post-political age in which civil society has contracted. Nevertheless, we should be able to launch a campaign to develop a closer relationship with alumni and others that has some effect on the ballot box. John Dawkins, Amanda Vanstone and Brendan Nelson, the architects of the intellectually impoverished university that we now have were the beneficiaries of free education, but their views are not shared by everyone. Many members of the public would prefer to spend money on education than weapons of destruction, mass or otherwise, as the polls have revealed.

The idea of education as a public good has not disappeared altogether. Indeed, it may well reappear in a new guise, as can be seen in the context of the American Ivy League universities - paradigmatically private institutions - which see themselves as custodians of the idea of education as a public good. However, I do not want to wait the 300 years that it took Yale and Harvard to foster this idea. I want to recuperate the public university now, because it is the wellspring of the robust intellectual and cultural life essential for a modern democratic society.



* I acknowledge the financial support of the Australian Research Council for funding a project on the impact of corporatisation of the university on the legal academy. See eg, M Thornton, 'The Demise of Diversity in Legal Education: Globalisation and the New Knowledge Economy' (2001) 8(1) International J Legal Profession 37; M Thornton, 'Inhabiting a Political Economy of Uncertainty: Academic Life in the 21st Century', Occasional Paper No 2, Institute of Postcolonial Studies, Melbourne, 2002; M Thornton, 'Corrosive Leadership (Or Bullying by Another Name): A Corollary of the Corporatised Academy?' (2004) Aust J Labour Law 161; M Thornton, 'The Idea of the University and the Contemporary Legal Academy' (2004) 26 Sydney Law Rev 481.

[i] J L Lyotard, The Post Modern Condition: A Report on Knowledge, Manchester University Press, Manchester 1984.

[ii] < blockquote>>Australian Bureau of Statistics, Measures of a Knowledge-based Economy and Society, Australia: Human Capital Indicators http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs (accessed 14 March 2005).

[iii] David Rood, 'Dramatic Lift in Full-fee Uni Students', The Age, 24 February 2005, p 1.

[iv] < blockquote>>Building University Diversity: Future Approval and Accreditation Processes for Australian Higher Education, Department of Education, Science and Training, Australian Government, Canberra, 2005 <http:www.dest.gov.au/highered/pubs/building_diversity/building_diversity.pdf>

[v] Hon Dr Brendan Nelson, Our Universities: Backing Australia's Future, Commonwealth of Australia, Canberra, 2003.

[vi] Gus Guthrie, Sue Johnston & Roger King, Further Development of the National Protocols for Higher Education Approval Processes: A Report for the Department of Education, Science and Training, Commonwealth of Australia, Canberra, 2004 (Guthrie Report). < blockquote>href="http://dest.gov.au/highered/pubs/nat_protocols_approval/nat_protocols_approval.pdf">http://dest.gov.au/highered/pubs/nat_protocols_approval/nat_protocols_approval.pdf, p 15.

[vii]Guthrie Report, p 48.

[viii] Guthrie Report, p 51.

[ix] Di Yerbury, 'A Broad Culture of Scholarship', Higher Education, The Australian, 9 March 2005, p 29.

[x]For an excellent study of the transformation of Australian universities, see Simon Marginson and Mark Considine, The Enterprise University: Power Governance and Reinvention in Australia, Cambridge UP, 2000.

[xi]Corporations are regulated by federal legislation, viz, Corporations Law 1990 (Cth). For a thoroughgoing and original analysis of corporate law, see Sandra Berns and Paula Baron, Company Law and Governance: An Australian Perspective, Oxford University Press, Melbourne, 1998.

[xii] This proposition is clearly illustrated by the valuable study of the University of Melbourne's dalliance with the market that has been carried out by the former Premier of Victoria, John Cain. See John Cain and John Hewitt, Off Course: From Public Place to Marketplace at Melbourne University, Scribe Publications, Melbourne, 2004.

[xiii] See Marginson & Considine, The Enterprise University, pp 100-01.

[xiv] University Acts (Amendment) Act 2003 (Vic).

[xv] The governance protocols developed under the Higher Education Support Act 2003 (Cth) are found at <http:www.dest.gov.au/highered/governance/docs.nat_gov_prot.pdf> 7 June 2004.

[xvi] Bill Readings, The University in Ruins, Harvard UP, Boston, Mass, 1996.

[xvii] The Dawkins reforms integrated colleges of advanced education and universities within a unified system of higher education in 1987.

[xviii] No Australian academic is immune from audits of teaching quality and research productivity. On the prevalence of auditing in contemporary society, see M Power, The Audit Society: Rituals of Verification, OUP, 1997.

[xix] Eg, Tony Coady, 'Universities and Ideals of Inquiry', in Tony Coady (ed), Why Universities Matter, Allen & Unwin, Sydney, 2000, p 20.

[xx] Thornton, 'Corrosive Leadership'.

[xxi] Marginson & Considine, The Enterprise University.

[xxii] Senate Employment, Workplace Relations, Small Business and Education References Committee, Universities in Crisis: Report on Higher Education, Commonwealth of Australia, Canberra, 2001.

[xxiii] A B Cabal, The University as an Institution Today, UNESCO & IDRC, Paris & Ottawa, 1993.

[xxiv] S Slaughter & L L Leslie, Academic Capitalism: Politics, Policies, and the Entrepreneurial University, Johns Hopkins, Baltimore, 1997.

[xxv] I thank my colleague, David Wishart, for this suggestion.

[xxvi] Alan Patience, 'Beyond the Silencing Academy' in Paul James (ed), Burning down the House: The Bonfire of the Universities, Association for the Public University in association with Arena Publications, North Carlton, 2000.

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