It is crucial to consider what inequalities are now being exacerbated within the Australian higher education system, given high fees, low levels of income support, limited availability of scholarships for research students, and the blurred lines between work and study relationships.
While casual employment is generally understood to be associated with low-skill roles, this is less and less the case within universities in particular. As outlined above, Australian universities have a growing record of underpayment and non-payment of their employees, and their students are open to exploitation. Experiences within the sector—especially among those most vulnerable to exploitation (e.g., international students)—reveal problems in Australian Industrial Relations more broadly. On this basis, CAPA’s recommendations to the Senate Standing Committees on Economics are as follows: