The common mantra of research-led universities today is twofold: that they are here to advance the frontiers of knowledge and here to serve society. The latter is laudable, for sure, and speaks to a key rationale behind the UWA Public Policy Institute. But what is standing in the way of the best minds working successfully with government, commerce and non-profit organisations? Michael Schaper, a former Australian national regulatory tsar, reflects on the obstacles and suggests that we are headed in the right direction. Shamit Saggar
In her interim account of the recent Indonesian elections, Ella S. Prihatini points to significant levels of volatility in parties’ vote share, important breakthroughs by some new parties and the unprecedented fatigue created by a single-day electoral event. Shamit Saggar
As Australia heads to the polls next month, we begin to look at key issues voters will consider. Here, Glenn Savage (UWA) argues that while the main parties emphasise quality and standards, their means of doing so (in terms of funding, autonomy, curriculum and leadership) vary considerably. Shamit Saggar
I find myself surprisingly stuck on Brexit. The inconclusive struggles thus far cast a light in the dark corner of how the UK is governed, relying on a part-written, uncodified constitution. It does not seem fit for purpose now that the limits of the political system have been tested. This is a conclusion I had not expected to draw.
As Indonesia prepares next week for its mammoth elections involving 193 million potential voters, Ella Prihatini (UWA) examines the wisdom of crowding so much into a single day of voting. She notes that the financial and efficiency rationales are weak in practice, and that the downsides include hidden disadvantage for women as both electors and candidates. A rethink might be on the cards for future elections. Shamit Saggar
In the second of our guest opinion pieces on Brexit, Marion Fulker (CEO of the Committee for Perth) looks at the long historic links between the Brits and Perth. From a yearning to create a warm climate Britain to wines and airlines, the relationship has been richly nourished. But the future could see Brexit refugees in large numbers who may carry mixed feelings about where they came from. Shamit Saggar
In the first of our Brexit-themed contributions, James Campbell-Sloan examines the longer run implications of the UK-EU rupture (if and when it happens). He observes that beyond some damaging consequences for Britain’s economy, Australia is not immune from the negative fallout – both in terms of the returns on its specific UK investments and through the departure of a good ally from the table of future Australian negotiations with the EU. Shamit Saggar
As the region’s largest democracy goes to the polls, Hadrian G. Djajadikerta (ECU) discusses the probable scenarios and implications, suggesting that the presidential election is the incumbent’s to lose. He notes that faith continues to have an indirect role in shaping political choice and that the outcome will be important to the story of embedding democracy. Shamit Saggar
As is often remarked by the Warden of Convocation at our Ordinary Meetings, Convocation receives much correspondence, more often than not by email these days. Much of it is pretty standard about address changes or the like, or recently some comment about Forrest Hall and contemporary topics.
Occasionally the Warden receives a note that demonstrates just how strong and valuable is the UWA graduate network. In the lead up to the recent Ordinary Meeting I received two such items of correspondence and thought them best shared.