That’s a wrap
Victorian Liberal president to step down for Senate run
Mark Latham quits One Nation
‘Tough decision’ needed to put students first: Henderson
Divisive Thai ex-PM Thaksin returns from exile
Why the Plutus tax fraud was a Gen Y crime
Thanks very much for reading Need to Know and our coverage of Adam Cranston’s sentencing. Here are the biggest developments of the day so far:
Adam Cranston jailed for Plutus payroll tax fraud: Adam Cranston has been sentenced to at least 10 years in prison for his role as one of the key architects of the $105.6 million Plutus tax fraud, from which he received at least $6.86 million.
Mark Latham quits One Nation: Pauline Hanson’s One Nation faces an uncertain future in NSW after the party lost two out of three of its sitting MPs, including Mark Latham, in a sensational parliamentary session on Tuesday.
Divisive Thai ex-PM Thaksin returns from exile: Divisive ex-prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra returned to Thailand on Tuesday after years of self-imposed exile to face criminal charges on the same day that a party affiliated with him plans to start forming a new government.
Moscow closes airspace after Ukrainian drone attacks: The three biggest Moscow airports suspended arrivals and departures early on Tuesday, Russia’s TASS news agency reported.
– Stephen Gageler named new chief justice: Anthony Albanese and Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus have named Justice Stephen Gageler as the new chief justice of the High Court of Australia, replacing Susan Kiefel who retires in November.
Ben Potter
Sydney’s city council will consider banning gas connections to new homes, becoming the first major jurisdiction to follow the Victorian government’s decision to stop residential hookups to the fossil fuel.
The gas industry said City of Sydney’s decision would limit Sydney residents access to renewable energy options.
City of Sydney council on Monday night voted to assign officials to investigate whether planning controls should “require all new residential developments to be all electric”. Almost 218,000 people live in the Sydney local government area.
“I have advocated for and would welcome a statewide mandate on banning gas connections by the NSW government, as has been done in Victoria,” Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore said in a statement.
“Until that happens, we’re looking at other ways we can electrify residential homes and reduce new gas connections within the City of Sydney.”
Read more here.
Sally Patten
Artificial intelligence is raising profound questions about the future of many jobs, but can offer opportunities for the education sector, panellists at The Australian Financial Review Higher Education Summit say.
Toby Walsh, scientia professor of artificial intelligence and UNSW chief scientist warns the technology is excellent at summarising information, exactly what a lot of jobs require.
But, Kellie Nuttall of Deloitte says there is a role for AI in education, and is optimistic about its ability to predict outcomes, such as failure and dropout rates.
Ronald Mizen
Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek has flagged “substantial” sums of money for water buybacks and compensation to achieve environmental targets under an extended Murray Darling Basin Plan unveiled on Tuesday.
Victoria broke ranks with other basin states and territories by refusing to sign up to the new deal, which also extends the deadline for delivering critical water-saving infrastructure projects.
Minister for the Environment and Water Tanya Plibersek. Alex Ellinghausen
Under the agreement with Queensland, NSW, South Australia and the ACT, basin governments will now have until December 2026 to deliver projects designed to save 605 gigalitres of water for the environment.
The previous deadline was June 2024, but in recent years it became clear that was not going to be achieved, which Labor blamed on a “decade-long guerrilla war against the plan” by the Coalition.
By not signing up to the extended plan, Victoria will not be eligible for project funding from July next year. It will also be subject to more water buybacks to achieve any shortfall in its savings target.
Citing an “environmental emergency”, Ms Plibersek said the Albanese government was commitment to delivering the plan in full.
Read more here.
Sally Patten
Lisa Bolton from QILT Research and Strategy at the Social Research Centre has thrown out a challenge to universities: students who study online are ranked lower in terms of their collaboration and communications skills.
In other words, if we think those so-called soft skills are important (employers would argue that they are), universities will need to think how they can be delivered across their different teaching formats.
Gus McCubbing
Curtin University national centre for student equity in higher education director Shamit Saggar says data clearly shows university graduates earn more than people who don’t study at university.
“The stats tell us if you go to university it’s something plus 40 per cent on your earnings,” Saggar told the AFR Higher Education Summit.
“More importantly if you compare low SES who go to university to low SES who don’t go to university, that gap is something like 70 per cent.”
Former senator Greg Mirabella will step down as Victorian Liberal Party president in a bid to make a return to federal parliament.
Mirabella confirmed he won’t renominate for the post at the party’s annual general meeting next month ahead of making a run for third spot on the Liberals’ Victorian Senate ticket at the next federal election.
Former senator Greg Mirabella confirmed he will run for a third spot on the Liberals’ Victorian Senate ticket at the next federal election. Alex Ellinghausen
The ticket will be decided at a preselection convention in November, with third spot widely viewed as its final winnable spot.
The senior Liberal figure lost his Senate seat last year after United Australia Party’s Ralph Babet secured the sixth and final spot.
Mirabella, who is the husband of former Howard government minister Sophie Mirabella, was only sworn into the Senate in February 2022 after filling a casual vacancy left by former president Scott Ryan.
Sally Patten
Lisa Bolton, director of QILT Research and Strategy at the Social Research Centre, is talking about student employment rates at The Australian Financial Review Higher Education Summit.
Students who undertake professional or technical degrees tend to find full-time employment shortly after graduation, while science and maths graduates are more likely to pursue further study.
About 80 per cent of arts graduates find full-time employment within three years.
This figure is a bit depressing. Australia trains engineers at the second-lowest rate in the OECD, says Jame MacMaster, chief engineer at Engineers Australia. As a result, we rely heavily on skilled migrants to plug the skills gap.
Tom Burton
QUT chancellor Ann Sherry has poured cold water on an idea promoted by outgoing Productivity Commission chairman Michael Brennan to lift university student fees to fund disadvantaged students.
“I have to say I’ve sort of struggled with the idea that there is trade-off in that way,” she told the Summit.
“If we’re serious about supporting students with disadvantage and if the government is serious about it, we’ve got to find better ways of doing that than putting a levy on students to fund another.
The Australian Financial Review BOSS editor Sally Patten and QUT Chancellor Ann Sherry at the Higher Education Summit. Luis Enrique Ascui
“I’m not sure how you do it, quite honestly. I think we should be more imaginative about how we fund pockets of funds to support those students rather than loading up another group of students with a bit more debt.”
She was similarly dismissive of lifting international student fees to fund more research.
“Again the idea of this trade-off, I think, is way too simplistic for a system that is ultimately about education, for the benefit of our productivity, our businesses, our community,” she said.
“I think we’ve fallen into the trap of just putting foreign student fees into that bucket, as opposed to having proper sources of research funding. I think that’s a really important issue for us to get our heads around.”
Sherry said student expectations around their university experience should be driven by what students wanted and not by older expectations that were out of date.
“The world has changed and what students want from university … They want more online, but they do want on-campus experience as well.”
She said similar to the remote working issue, universities needed to be “purposeful” about the experience they offer, but noted many were also employed.
“More of our students are working with such a job market. We’ve got more students studying and working simultaneously than we’ve ever had, in the current environment.”
Gus McCubbing
Opposition education spokeswoman Sarah Henderson says Australia’s education system is failing young people.
One in five year 7 students has a reading ability of a child in year 4, she says, while the most recent NAPLAN results show that the number of year 3 students in the bottom two bands for reading have increased from 8.6 per cent in 2018 to 11.2 per cent in 2022.
“I am angry, and you should be too. The declining standards in our schools, at both primary and secondary level, have become a national embarrassment.
“On almost every score, Australian students are failing to make the grade.”
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