Policy on Training

Currently, people are not allowed to work in many occupations, unless they have practical experience for which they need to go to absurd lengths. For example, even though you can learn to be a bricklayer in about a week, you cannot legally work as a bricklayer unless you have completed a five year apprenticeship. After the Austrian actor Arnold Schwarzenegger migrated to the United States, he worked as a bricklayer, working directly for homeowners, even though he didn’t have a bricklayer’s licence. Had he migrated to Australia, it would have been illegal for him to work as a bricklayer, so he would presumably now be a lot poorer than he is.

In most occupations, the practical experience that you get from a technical institute course is all the practical experience you need. Having lengthy apprenticeships results in shortages of workers, and in workers coming in from overseas and taking the jobs. Many of these overseas workers obtained their credentials by bribing the local bureaucrats in their home country. They do not have the experience they are supposed to have, but they can still do the job, as it does not need any experience anyway.

It might be objected that if we have bricklayers and doctors with inadequate practical experience, they will do shoddy work. But guess what, even with all their experience, a lot of them do shoddy work anyway! People who call for greater practical experience suffer from the delusion that the government can control everything. In countries like the United States where the government does not attempt to control everything, they still have high standards of construction and of health care.

Many occupations that currently have university degrees as qualifications should instead have technical institute diplomas as qualifications. Take the case of pharmacists. You do not need to be a rocket scientist to stick labels on packets of pills. If you do not need to be a rocket scientist, then you do not need to go to university. It would be entirely adequate for pharmacy students to leave school after Year 10 and study for two years at a technical institute. Pharmacists do not need to know how to set up an illegal drug laboratory, for which they would need an extra two years of training at the taxpayers’ expense, which they currently are getting.

At present, admission to technical institutes and universities is supposedly on the basis of academic performance in the Year 11 and Year 12 exams. In practice, Catholic students can get into any course at all with much lower marks than Protestant students, on the basis of supposedly having “educational disadvantage”, and other weak excuses. Like everything else in Australia, there’s one rule for Protestants and another for Catholics.

Admission on the basis of academic performance does not make sense anyway. We want students in Year 11 and Year 12 to play sport, and if they do, they will get lower marks than students who spend all their time studying. Admission to courses should be on the basis of ethnicity, religion, academic performance, sporting performance, parental enthusiasm, and political connections. People who support our party when it seems like a lost cause should be rewarded by having their children and grandchildren get into any course they want.

The Labor Party regards the job of university professor as a kind of state honour, similar to a British peerage. If Steve Irwin had been living in Britain, he would have been made “Lord Irwin of Beerwah, for services to crocodile wrestling”. But because Steve Irwin lived in Australia, had he not been killed by a “gorgeous stingray”, he would have been made “Professor Steve Irwin, Professor of Reptile Movement Studies”. The desire of teachers at technical institutes to be made professors has led to a proliferation of universities, and technical institute diplomas are now called university degrees.

If we are elected to run a State or territory government, we will restore the position of universities as being a place where only the most difficult subjects are taught, and hence a place where most people would not want to go. Under us, all undergraduate degrees will have to be “meal tickets”, so that it would be inconceivable that anyone with a university degree would be unemployed. Hence it will not be possible to study subjects such as psychology or sociology as an undergraduate degree, but only as a master’s degree at a student’s own expense.

There are far too many kinds of undergraduate degrees. We will only allow the following undergraduate degrees:

Bachelor of Arts
Bachelor of Science
Bachelor of Engineering
Bachelor of Civil Law
Bachelor of Divinity
Master of Business Administration

The three year accountancy degree will become a four year MBA degree. Instead of the student sitting examinations run by an institute of public accountants, those examinations will become the fourth year of the MBA. There will also be a two year postgraduate MBA.

Medical students will initially complete a BSc in Human Biology, which will qualify them to teach Physics and Chemistry at high school. All undergraduate degrees will be four years in length. All papers will have a rigorous mid-year multiple-choice examination, and an end-of-year written examination, and may also have an end-of-year practical examination. There will be no research projects in undergraduate degrees. Honours will be awarded to students with high enough marks.

Some arts and science subjects, such as Astronomy, do not lend themselves to becoming “meal tickets”. A student wanting to study Astronomy would have to study Mathematics as well, and would end up being qualified as a high school mathematics teacher as well as an astronomer. A student wanting to study music would end up qualified as a primary school English teacher as well as a musician. Most students who are interested in science will end up studying for engineering degrees.

The following will be the permissable postgraduate degrees:

Bachelor of Dental Surgery
Bachelor of Veterinary Surgery
Master of Arts
Master of Business Administration
Master of Commerce
Master of Science
Doctor of Medicine
Doctor of Philosophy
Doctor of Science
Doctor of Law
Doctor of Divinity

A postgraduate degree will take two years. Medical, dental and veterinary students will need a BSc in Human Biology. A medical practitioner wanting to become a specialist or a surgeon will study for a MSc in the appropriate specialty. Our degrees will satisfy the legal requirements to practice a profession without needing any further formalities.

The doctorate for those studying science, engineering, medicine, dental surgery or veterinary surgery will be DSc. The doctorate for those studying law or divinity will be LLD or DD respectively. There will be no higher doctorates or honorary degrees. Only people with doctorates or equivalent qualifications will legally be able to use the title “Doctor”.

Universities and technical colleges will be financed by state governments. A state government will provide a limited number of scholarships. A student without a scholarship will have to pay the full tuition fee. The basic scholarship will include a $20,000 living allowance. Students in the top 50% academically will get a further $5,000, while students in the top 25% will get a further $10,000. Scholarships will be awarded on the basis of ethnicity, religion, academic performance, sporting performance, parental enthusiasm, and political connections. If you don’t go to church and play rugby or netball, don’t even think about going to university.

There will be two universities in each state except Tasmania. Universities will not be located in capital cities. Surplus universities will be changed back into technical institutes. The Australian National University will be retained, and will become the main economic activity in Canberra, after we relocate the national capital back to Sydney.