Thursday, January 03, 2019

Chinese students are coming to Australia in droves: International enrolments hit record levels

Chinese students are choosing Australian universities in record numbers, with more than 150,000 enrolled across the country.

This marks a huge increase from 2013, when only 85,111 studied tertiary education in Australia.

Undeterred by high fees, middle-class Chinese people believe an overseas education will give them an edge in a competitive domestic job market, and now the country supplies 39 per cent of Australia's foreign university students.

Qualifications from developed English-speaking nations such as Australia are highly respected, often more so than degrees from Chinese universities.

Despite having a population of over 1.38billion, China only has seven universities in the top 200 in the world, compared to Australia's nine.

Competition for the extremely limited number of places at China's elite institutions is intense, and for those who can afford it, studying abroad can be a better option.

The US, the UK and Canada are seen as the most attractive destinations, with many Chinese students only choosing Australia after failing to find a place elsewhere.

But although many Chinese students do want to connect with Australian culture, they are often disappointed once classes begin and they struggle to adapt.

Arriving with high hopes of being surrounded by English speakers and a unique cultural experience, they instead find campuses packed with people from their home country.

As Australia is often only a practical selection, with many students having no intention of settling permanently or learning more about their host country and its way of life.

Chinese international students are seen as a cash cow for Australian universities, which have increasingly adopted a business mindset to attract students from around the globe.

International education is Australia's third-largest export, injecting $31.9billion into the Australian economy during the last financial year.

Data from the Australian Government Department of Education revealed there were 839,784 international students enrolled in Australia in October 2018 - an 11 per cent increase from a year earlier.

The majority - about 380,000 international students - are visiting Australia for tertiary education, with China, India and Nepal providing the highest numbers.

A total of 152,060 Chinese students were enrolled in Australian universities in the same time period, compared to 68,404 students from India and 26,665 from Nepal. 

The 2016 Australian Bureau of Statistics census found Australia is home to 1.2million people of Chinese ancestry.

The ABS noted that Chinese people are enticed by Australia's competitive universities with 22 per cent of Chinese-born people in Australia enrolled to study.

Universities Australia Deputy Chief Executive Anne-Marie Lansdown said the record amount of foreign students isn't just a boon to the education sector.

'Our world-class universities attract students from all over the globe, bringing vast benefits to Australians and the nation,' Ms Lansdown said.

'And the buck doesn't stop with us – that $32billion flows on into the entire Australian economy, generating jobs, supporting wages, and lifting the living standards of Australians.

'International education is a modern Australian success story – built from the ground up over six decades to become the nation's third-largest export and the envy of the world.'

Ms Lansdown added that a majority of international students return to their home country.

'Australians develop powerful personal and professional relationships, and long-lasting cultural, diplomatic and trade ties when students from overseas spend their formative years here,' she said.

'And when international students return home from their studies – which the vast majority do – this creates a powerful network of global alumni with great affection for Australia.'


Built and paid for by the poor

Sunlight is free, as any number of solar power advocates will remind you.

But converting sunlight into electricity very definitely is not free. This applies even if you do not have solar panels installed at your property.

The costs of solar energy to the general community are created by government subsidies that encourage solar panel installation. This means that your money is financing at a significant level the solar panels being fitted throughout Australia.

As the Daily Telegraph reports, tax-funded subsidies to the one-in-four Australian households that have installed solar panels add $45 a year to the average power bill of every family in NSW.

Analysis of electricity costs by power giant EnergyAustralia shows that Australia’s eight million households are helping to pay off the solar systems of the two million people who can afford them.

If you pay taxes but do not have the spare cash to install solar panels yourself, bad luck. Those taxes will instead help fund the installation of solar panels for those with sufficient wealth to do so.

This is clearly an inequitable arrangement, and it just as clearly hits Australia’s most economically-disadvantaged taxpayers hardest.

In fact, they are hit twice: once by subsidies, and again by higher power costs that in part are due to a continued push for renewable energy sources over reliable and inexpensive coal.

Yet Labor, supposedly the party representing society’s battlers, is poised to make this unfair situation even worse.

Labor leader Bill Shorten’s plan to introduce further subsidies for households that install battery storage for solar systems is forecast to send costs even higher.

Again, further subsidies will only offer a discount to those who are already able to afford their share of battery storage installation. But the less well-off will make up the difference.

“Our concern is not with solar power,” EnergyAustralia chief customer officer Chris Ryan told the Daily Telegraph. “It’s about fairness.

“With electricity prices at record highs, it’s time to look at whether one group of Australians should be paying more for their electricity than they need to for the privilege of funding other households’ solar systems.”

One group of Australians should not be subsidising wealthier Australians. This is a reversal of how charity works. It is Robin Hood giving to the rich.


Our record on women exceeds Labor’s, say Liberal MPs

Liberal assistant ministers Sarah Henderson and Linda Reynolds have pushed back against claims the party is anti-women and ­defended the Coalition’s merit-based system of choosing candidates, urging against Labor-inspired female quotas.

The intervention of the two senior Liberal women came after Julia Banks — who quit the government to sit as an independent over unspecified claims of bullying during the leadership turmoil in ­August — declared the Liberal Party had a women problem.

Ms Henderson, who holds the marginal seat of Corangamite and is a former Victorian colleague of Ms Banks, told The Australian the Coalition’s record on delivering for women “far exceeded Labor”.

In a move to neutralise damaging attacks on the government by Labor and disaffected government MPs aligned to former prime ­minister Malcolm Turnbull, the Assistant Social Services Minister said she had not experienced any of the bullying that Ms Banks claimed had been targeted at ­female MPs.

Ms Henderson said she was treated with “absolute consideration and respect” during the leadership contest, which led to Mr Turnbull quitting parliament.

“In my view, being lobbied for votes does not constitute bullying,” Ms Henderson said. “I can’t walk in anyone else’s shoes; I can only speak about my experience. But I can certainly say that being lobbied for votes is an integral part of a political process and it does not constitute bullying.”

Ms Henderson, whose mother, Ann, was a minister in the Kennett state government, said it was “simply not true” that the Liberal Party was not supportive of women.

The former ABC journalist, considered by Labor strategists as a strong local member, said both she and her late mother had been “supported” and “championed” during their political careers.

Ms Henderson’s intervention, four months before a likely May federal election, was yesterday backed by Senator Reynolds.

Writing in The Australian today, the Assistant Home Affairs Minister defended the Liberal Party’s approach in improving female representation. On current numbers, women make up less than 25 per cent of Liberal MPs, compared with Labor’s almost 50 per cent under a quota system.

The West Australian senator, who will have the number one spot on the Liberal ticket at the election, attacked Labor’s quota system as misguided and part of Bill Shorten’s “whatever it takes” approach.

The former Army Reserve commander, who reached the rank of brigadier, accused the ­Opposition Leader of “shamelessly” treating the issue as a ­political weapon.

“That the women of the Labor Party exploit these issues in the parliament and in the media says so much about the psyche of the Labor Party,” Senator Reynolds writes today.

“What saddens me is Labor women allow themselves to be used in this way.

“The obvious question is why do they do it? Is it because they cannot refuse to do so, or is it because they have been so desensitised within the trade union movement and the Labor Party, that they neither see nor care about the consequences?

“Whatever the reason, it is a clear demonstration to me that the culture within the Labor Party has not yet evolved from the culture of another era.”

The public intervention by Ms Henderson and Senator Reynolds, both promoted by Scott Morrison in his ministry reshuffle after he became Prime Minister, comes amid an internal debate in the government over how best to ­respond to its low female representation.

In November, Minister for Women Kelly O’Dwyer reportedly told Victorian Liberal MPs the party was viewed as “homophobic, anti-women, climate-change deniers”.

Ms Henderson said the government’s policies on improving the lives of women — including its $2.5 billion childcare reforms, changes to superannuation to support female workers and $300 million funding for women’s safety — had not been matched by any Labor government.

The Morrison government abolished the GST on tampons, which came into effect yesterday, and has listed new breast cancer medicine through the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.

“The Labor Party simply cannot match what we have delivered for women,” Ms Henderson said.

“When you look at our economic security statement, when you look at the incredible investment in women’s safety, when you look at the record workforce participation of women.

“This is a government that has been an absolute champion of women and I simply won’t cop those in the Labor Party who try to characterise us as otherwise.”

While Ms Henderson supports the merit-based system for choosing political candidates, she ­declared “more robust measures” might be needed if female representation in the Liberal Party did not improve.

Deputy Labor leader Tanya Plibersek said the Coalition ­government had implemented only policies that disadvantaged women.

She said Labor had policies that would deliver equal pay, more superannuation, cheaper housing and more services.

“The Liberals tried five times to slash paid parental leave and called working mums rorters and double dippers,” Ms Plibersek said “Their childcare changes leave one in four families worse off. The Liberals argued against increases to the minimum wage that substantially benefit women and threw their support behind cuts to penalty rates that disproportionately impact women.”

Former Victorian premier Jeff Kennett said there was “no doubt” some people in the modern era were using the gender argument to “suit their own circumstances”.

“I think there is no doubt that some in this new age have used gender, I think, irresponsibly and to serve their own purpose,” Mr Kennett said.

“I’ve promoted women based on merit and was doing it well ­before MeToo and equality was even talked about.”


Two more immigration centres close as Morrison government sharpens political attack

Two of the nation’s high-security immigration detention facilities – Maribyrnong in Melbourne and part of Villawood in Sydney – will be closed after a quarter of a century of operation in a move the Morrison government is hailing as a win for its tough border protection policies.

Immigration Minister David Coleman has announced Maribyrnong is closing immediately while the Blaxland compound at Villawood will close around the middle of this year.

Mr Coleman said in a statement that by stopping asylum-seeker boat arrivals, the Coalition had been able to close 19 detention facilities, saving more than $500 million.

The number of people in immigration detention peaked at about 10,200 in the middle of 2013, with the vast majority boat arrivals, but now stands about 1250.

“The government has stopped the boats, got the children out of detention and closed the once-full immigration detention facilities,” Mr Coleman said.

Just over a month ago there were still 107 detainees at the high-security Maribyrnong centre, but these have been steadily moved. On Monday the last detainees were transferred to other high-security detention facilities.

The 1250 people now in immigration detention in Australia are roughly split between three categories: boat arrivals dating back to 2013 or earlier; people who have had their visas cancelled on character grounds, usually because they’ve committed crimes; and people who have over-stayed their visas.

Just over 1000 of the 3127 people transferred to offshore immigration processing centres on Nauru and Manus Island since 2013 remain there.

Both Maribyrnong and Blaxland have typically had large proportions of higher-risk detainees. The Herald and The Age reported in 2016 that Maribyrnong was the harshest centre in Australia, with guards using restraints such as handcuffs and various forms of force far more often than other facilities.

When the Australian Human Rights Commission reported on Maribyrnong in 2017, about half of the 103 detainees at the centre had had their visas cancelled while only 22 were boat arrivals and 20 had over-stayed their visas.

Blaxland is the high-security facility within Villawood. In 2017, the commission reported that of the 450 people in Villawood as a whole, 40 per cent had had their visas cancelled on character grounds while only about 20 per cent had arrived by boat as asylum seekers.

The Morrison government has in the past three years been cancelling more visas, including on character grounds such as criminal activity. It has been closing centres but has also been upgrading security on other facilities so that higher-risk detainees can be moved and held there.

The closure of Maribyrnong leaves eight immigration detention facilities in operation in Australia.

The Coalition is expected to attack Labor over its border protection record in the coming months ahead of an expected May federal election.

Mr Coleman said previous Labor governments had been “forced to open 17 detention centres to deal with the catastrophic failures of their policies”.

The government has previously expressed an intention to sell the Maribyrnong and Blaxland sites.


 Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).    For a daily critique of Leftist activities,  see DISSECTING LEFTISM.  To keep up with attacks on free speech see Tongue Tied. Also, don't forget your daily roundup  of pro-environment but anti-Greenie  news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH .  Email me  here

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