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I have a bad feeling . . .

Whilst we have all been distracted by Choppergate and passionately discussing Adam Goodes and marriage equality, I have a sinking feeling we have been sold out and not just by the TPP. The tea leaves are telling me that the crossbenchers may have sold out on higher education reform.

Today I saw David Leyonjhelm interviewed and he was purring about his success in destroying the wind industry. He said seven of the eight crossbench Senators had combined to achieve this and that they are realising the power they have when they agree.

When asked if there had been any progress on the budget measures that were still blocked in the Senate he immediately said yes, there had been some successful negotiation.

Apparently Greg Hunt was not happy about the wind farm embargo but Tony Abbott weighed in with his support because “he very much wanted their support” on another matter.

The alarm bells started ringing when I read in the Guardian:

“The Abbott government is spending $150,000 outsourcing its negotiations with crossbench senators and the university sector about the higher education package that has been blocked twice by the upper house.

The talks are being led by Robert Griew, a consultant who was until recently an associate secretary in the federal Department of Education and Training with responsibility for higher education policy.

Griew is now a principal of the Nous Group, a firm that has won a federal government contract to assess “stakeholder views” on higher education, including the Coalition’s push to deregulate university fees.

The department’s contract with Nous Group was worth $150,000 and would run from 13 July to 5 August, according to the AusTender website, which cited the “need for independent research or assessment”.

Griew has sought meetings with crossbench senators, telling them the education minister, Christopher Pyne, wanted to bring the legislation back to the parliament during the spring sittings.”

For starters, what the hell are we paying Christopher Pyne for? Is he so objectionable that he can’t be the person to do the negotiation? Is there no-one in his Department that is able to brief the Senators and negotiate with the university sector?

But even more disturbing was Leyonjhelm’s smile. Have they sold out our kids to pander to the woman who doesn’t want a wind farm next door? Surely not?

I have a bad feeling . . .



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  1. mark delmege

    ‘need for independent research or assessment’ hahahahahahahahahahahah hahhahahah

  2. Kaye Lee

    The advice the Abbott government relied on to pursue its ill-fated policy of university fee deregulation will remain under wraps.

    A tribunal has refused to release calculations of the potential impact on student fees, finding the modelling was “speculative” and “not the sort of information upon which someone could sensibly make a ‘major life decision’”.

    The department told the tribunal the documents included two question time briefs, six “hypothetical scenarios”, an assessment of the impact of deregulation on regional higher education, modelling relating to graduates in 2019, and 34 other spreadsheets.

  3. David

    I have always regarded Leyonjhelm as devious ‘whats in it for me’ scum. I have told him so directly on his Twitter account more than once. A despicable pseudo conservative assole.

  4. Owen

    I just love the way our Gov run the country on their personal views(opinions) and not the ones they promised before they were elected!

  5. Emmee Bee

    Nothing pseudo about Leyonjhelm being a conservative. I believe he is a member of the IPA and was elected to the Senate due to the scam that saw a lot of the little single issue parties eventually dribble their votes to the conservative side of politics. He has certainly shown his true colours spouting the Liberal line always.

  6. Florence nee Fedup

    Kaye, I suspect very few in Department has any input into bills. Probably fewer that agree. Pyne is probably using the people who drafted the legalisation.

  7. Florence nee Fedup

    Looks like we are back to the Reith days on the wharves. Only thing that surprises me, it has taken so long. By the way, what has happened to Reith, not seen on ABC for months, after being on nearly every day. Could he be advising the sending out of text, information in email at midnight. Don’t bother coming to work. We made your jobs redundant. Only your job, not the work, we are outsourcing that.

  8. Sir ScotchMistery

    @David I’m shocked sir, that you would have the lack of foresight to be so abusive, so dismissive, so negative, towards arseholes.

    Dreadful business.

  9. David

    @Sir Scotch..beggin your puddin Squire

  10. Kaye Lee


    Peter Reith is getting/just got? married.

  11. kerri

    I guess the “consultant” is the person you pay to do the job the Minister is incapable of? But if the Independants can’t see through the hired gun then they are not doing their jobs in keeping the bastards honest!!!

  12. Matters Not

    If you want to understand who drives the Senator David Leyonhjelm bus, then Google Helen Dale or if that name isn’t familiar then you could try Helen Demidenko or perhaps her ‘original’ moniker Helen Darville. You know the ‘author’ who wrote the novel The Hand that Signed the Paper. It won the Vogel literary award and the Miles Franklin award, before it was revealed that she had blurred the lines between fact and fiction, inventing her own Ukrainian heritage.

    You can read more here.

    Make no mistake Dale/Darville/Demidenko is very, very smart. (And very shifty, given her history.) But It’s her world view (and values) that I have problems with.

    But then again I have problems with ‘libertarians’ in general who seem to think (and argue) that the ‘other’ doesn’t count for much. Notice that the vast majority of libertarian adherents don’t have ‘offspring’: the arrival of whom in my experience causes most thinking people (to grow up) and regard the consideration of the ‘other’ as being very, very important.

    But it’s just me expressing my view that I have the ‘freedom’ to say just that.

  13. Kate M

    I have a bad feeling too.

    “What the hell are we paying Christopher Pyne for? Is he so objectionable that he can’t be the person to do the negotiation?”

    I know that question is rhetorical – but I’m still going to say, Yes, Yes he is.

  14. Lurline Hanna

    I’m shocked at the $150,000 for less than a months work, along with everything else discussed. That is pensions for 5 married couples for a whole year, assuming they’re eligible for a full pension and haven’t been cut off for “rorting the system” or “leaning not lifting”. How the hell can the government justify this?

    Even worse for the under 25 students who are deemed eligible for youth allowance, it would pay 30 of them for a whole year, plus the government would probably get change.

  15. Matters Not

    One of the most popular advocates of ‘libertarianism’ was Ayn Rand. She wrote any number of ‘best selling’ novels which promoted the theme that each and every individual was an ‘island’ and had no obligation to the ‘other’. And that the State was the ‘enemy’ of freedom and the like.

    I well remember Malcolm Fraser lauding her ‘insights’ decades ago. But probably not now.

    As time passed, Rand, a heavy smoker, developed lung cancer and needed assistance from the dreaded State. She received same but did so under her married name not her well ‘known’ name.

    Hypocrisy writ large.

    It’s a bit like Tim Wilson who advocated the abolition of the Human Rights Commission but was only too ready to accept a position when the opportunity was offered.

    One has to love these deep thinking and committed ‘libertarians’.

  16. Matters Not

    Yes Pyne has appointed a ‘consultant’ to become his ‘change agent’ (a Mr Griew), but if you check out his ‘history’ he’s like a butterfly. His ‘track record’ suggests he’s a ‘here today and gone tomorrow’ type. As for being an ‘educational expert’ can anyone point me to any papers he’s written? Any contribution he’s made to the educational ‘debate’, broadly defined.

    Perhaps he will administer a Myers–Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) assessment? Take them to lunch? Perhaps a beer or two?

    Yes they are the worst government ever. The evidence abounds.

  17. eli nes

    Sadly, Kaye, the feeling is in the water and we have been pissed on again.The vice-chancellors will be equally wetting themselves over the billions of debt they and the rabbutt have already given to the under 110 IQs now the rest of the school leavers will burden the successful graduates, especially women, with a sydney mortgage debt by the time they are 45.

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