Author Archives: Francesca Beddie

Francesca Beddie

About Francesca Beddie

Francesca Beddie is a former diplomat who served in Jakarta, Moscow and Berlin. She is a professional historian and policy analyst, with an interest in tertiary education.

Will we ever be satisfied with less?

I can’t imagine the old normal returning unaltered after COVID-19 but worry that the rush towards a new normal will entail too much focus on growth and profits and not enough on caring for the vulnerable and the environment. If … Continue reading

Posted in Economy, Politics | 4 Comments

Higher education reform: use and abuse of Menzies

Announcing his plans for university reform on 19 June, the minister for education, Dan Tehan, did as many of his predecessors have done. He invoked Robert Menzies.

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FRANCESCA BEDDIE. Tertiary education after COVID-19: part two

Are we finally seeing the end of the Dawkins era? If so, what next?

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FRANCESCA BEDDIE. Tertiary education after COVID-19. Part 1

One thing COVID-19 has done is shatter laborious bureaucratic reform processes that so often breed inertia rather than change. I marvel at how quickly education systems have adapted to the lockdown.

Posted in Education | 1 Comment

FRANCESCA BEDDIE. Australia Day: the occasion for collective mourning.

In early January, the leader of the Opposition, Anthony Albanese, suggested the first sitting day of Federal Parliament for 2020 be devoted to marking the unprecedented bushfire crisis. That got me thinking about Australia Day.

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FRANCESCA BEDDIE. Bushfire Haiku

These catastrophic times call for different responses to the festive season. Mine is below. The community reaction in our part of the Southern Highlands (as yet untouched by fire) has been heartening. Donations are flowing, people are looking out for … Continue reading

Posted in Environment and climate | 1 Comment

FRANCESCA BEDDIE. The Golden Country, Australia’s Changing Identity.

I follow migration matters closely, so Tim Watt’s survey of the White Australia Policy and subsequent immigration policy was familiar territory. For those who don’t, there is much to recommend in the story he tells and his demonstration of the … Continue reading

Posted in Politics, Refugees, Immigration | Leave a comment

FRANCESCA BEDDIE. Vocational education in an election climate: it’s time to be bold

The Labor Party is being bold, putting reformist policies before the voter. It has proposed a comprehensive inquiry into post-secondary education. If it gets to undertake that inquiry, I hope it will keep being bold and be prepared to restructure … Continue reading

Posted in Education | 1 Comment

FRANCESCA BEDDIE: Beyond Anzac: a multicultural Australia needs a multicultural history

I recently attended a history conference in Wellington, New Zealand, which posed the question After the War, What Next? My answer was that we need a transnational approach to telling history, which presents the complexity of global influences that have … Continue reading

Posted in Politics | 1 Comment

FRANCESCA BEDDIE. The common-sense test for assessing research applications.

In 2014, the last year for which complete data is available on the Australian Research Council’s website, 20.7 per cent of applications for research grants were successful; 1,417 grants were made, at a cost of $1,018,017,312. The Australian taxpayer deserves … Continue reading

Posted in Politics | 1 Comment

FRANCESCA BEDDIE. Renewing democracy must include honing public servants on the job.

These days, opinion polls and surveys provide the basis for many a proclamation about the state of the world. According to the 2018 Lowy Institute Poll, only 47% of Australians between 18 and 44 years of age say ‘democracy is … Continue reading

Posted in Politics | 2 Comments

FRANCESCA BEDDIE. Wanted: politicians who inspire and creative public policy (Part 2 of 2)

I watched Ken Loach’s film I, Daniel Blake again recently. Again, I cried. A sick bloke with talent and decency ends up dead before he can argue his case to be treated not as a client, customer, service user or … Continue reading

Posted in Politics | 1 Comment

FRANCESCA BEDDIE. Wanted: politicians who inspire and creative public policy (Part 1 of 2)

I watched Ken Loach’s film I, Daniel Blake again recently. Again, I cried. A sick bloke with talent and decency ends up dead before he can argue his case to be treated not as a client, customer, service user or … Continue reading

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FRANCESCA BEDDIE. What do we mean by Australia Day?

All the talk about Australia Day – what it symbolises, for whom and when we should celebrate – prompted me to delve into the history of the date, which has long been contentious. Before we lock in the date, we … Continue reading

Posted in Politics, Refugees, Immigration | 3 Comments

FRANCESCA BEDDIE. The way ahead for VET

The Productivity Commission’s five-year review, Shifting the Dial, recommends reforms in vocational education and training (VET). These are based on ‘the key premise…that skills formation is one of the central pillars for productivity improvement, even if its benefits are not … Continue reading

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