A defining moment in Australia's higher education sector, The Hon. Michael Kirby AC CMG*, presented his keynote address at the Universities Australia conference, Canberra, 26 February 2020. The transcript is below, shared with the aim to include all educators, students, leaders, and the wider Australian public in this important discussion about one of Australia's most valued and trusted public institutions.
For my remarks, I invoke the spirits of the Vice-Chancellors of times past, whom I have known: Sir Stephen Roberts, Sir Philip Baxter, Sir Rupert Myers, Sir Bruce Williams and Sir Zelman Cowen. What a galaxy of brilliant operators. And I also invoke memories of Professor Di Yerbury, Vice-Chancellor of Macquarie University when I was appointed – remarkably the first woman to fulfil the role as late as 1983. Most of them would be astonished that such a student trouble-maker should be accorded this honour.
Recently, the President of Harvard University, from Cambridge Massachusetts, was invited to deliver an address at Emmanuel College, Cambridge University in England. That was the college which John Harvard had attended, taking two degrees before the impact of the plague, and the loss of most of his family, propelled him to seek his fortune in New England. He sought, as many at this conference have done, to transplant the ideals of learning, teaching and research in a distant world. He became a great benefactor of higher education. His story, and the grand sweep of the intervening years, became the topic of President Larry Bacow’s address at Emmanuel College. This provoked him into reflection, nostalgia and analysis. Each of these activities have a proper and regular place in universities:
“Today, college and university presidents in the United States are facing a set of challenges that actually feel quite similar to what our predecessors faced half a century ago. Our students are organising and protesting. This time it’s not about war. This time it’s about climate change; its about inequality; it’s about sexual assault and harassment – it’s against a whole host of structures and systems that jeopardise the possibility of a future that they believe might be far more just. Their earnestness and their passion have infused our campuses with an urgency that reminds me of my own undergraduate years. The difference, however, is that their ire is often directed inward – and some expect – and increasingly demand – that our institutions act in ways that I fear may ultimately put us in tension with the essential values we represent to the world.”1
However, according to President Bacow, the demands of contemporary students were not the end of it:
“At the same time that our students are demanding more of us, society is as well. At a time when populism is on the rise throughout the world, universities are being criticised as being elitist, as being politically correct, and in some cases out of touch with the broader society.”2
According to Bacow, the proper response of universities for times such as the present is to champion freedom:
“Every question asked and answered on our campuses, every answer that is scrutinised and reconsidered is, in itself, an act of freedom – freedom to explore, to discover, freedom to create branches of knowledge even as we graft and prune others away. And when those branches of knowledge bear fruit, we are all enriched. In medicine… science… engineering… economics… education… and in the study of government and of law.”
This is a university principal unashamed to nail his flags to university mast. They are the flags of freedom. For him, utility and job prospects, professional satisfaction and media accolades, profits for business and donations of philanthropy (even top grades in global ranking scales) are but secondary. He insists that:
“The fruits of the humanities are the most enduring of human endeavour, and the intellectual traditions that they have generated have been – and will continue to be – sources of comfort and wisdom in challenging and contentious times”.3
These were the self-same values that were expressed to my generation when we arrived at university so many years ago. Instruction in freedom of great ideas should be renewed today. But is that happening?
Hon Michael Kirby@uniaus must do better on teaching-research nexus & assuring student experience.— Sally Kift (@KiftSally) February 26, 2020
Good research is no automatic assurance of good teaching. Look at the data - it tells a story we must heed@NUS_President @CISA_National @CAPAPresident @natsipa_edu_au #uaconf2020 pic.twitter.com/At0EW9m9z8
ENCOUNTERING UNIVERSITY 1956
My father’s family comprised mainly of feisty women and pallid men. They had no university degrees. But they were all highly intelligent, well-read and engaged with society. The men had fought in wars. But my grandmother, in April 1943, married for a second time the national treasurer for the Australian Communist Party. That was not necessarily a good career move at that time. Her sister, Gloria, (originally Violet) Gray was a friend of [Lady] Jessie Street and a confirmed feminist. My mother’s side were from the North of Ireland. Her grandfather, a Protestant landowner, was a Fellow of the Royal Society of Ireland. Unusually for the times, he encouraged his daughters to become a botanist and the other to be a portraitist. The sons, like John Harvard, set to cross the seas and make their fortunes. No hostile politicians questioned their right to do so.
University education for my generation arose out of the commitment of the Chifley Labor Government, after the Second War, to extend to universities some of the same principles of universal education that had motived the development of public schools across the length and breadth of Australia in the 19th Century. But it was Robert Gordon Menzies, after his election as Prime Minister in 1949, who provided the Commonwealth scholarships that assured university education to me and my brothers. We paid no fees. But we all paid high taxes as professional lawyers. And we never resented the compact thus sealed between us and the Australian people. There was no heavy HECS debt hanging around our heads when we strode confidently out of University of Sydney after university days were done.
To supplement the meagre incomes of my parents, my mother and I met in the Refectory at the Sydney University Union (where I was later to be President), the university almoner, Catherine Ogilvy. In the rather grand environment (that reminded me of what I thought private schools must look like) Miss Ogilvy told me to apply to Wesley College to secure a scholarship with board and lodging. Such were my school results that I was awarded the scholarship. However, a fortnight afterwards, it was withdrawn and given instead to the son of a Methodist clergyman. I have never forgiven the Methodists for this insult. It was enough to make me an Anglican.
Like most university students of those times, I spent my years of study at home with my parents and siblings. Sir Stephen Roberts was the Vice-Chancellor. Professor John Ward was the Deputy Vice-Chancellor. He had graded me top of the State in modern history at school. Later he too became Vice-Chancellor. Ms Margaret Telfer, the University registrar was the true power in the land.
I became involved in student politics. Many of Australia’s future leaders did this. My career was glorious and prolonged, to put it mildly. President of the Law Students’ Society. President of the SRC, President of the Union and Fellow of the University Senate, elected by the Undergraduates. Like so many other student troublemakers, I appeared destined for a life in the real world of Australian politics. The only trouble was that, at the time, this would have meant a life of deception, loneliness and deprivation because of my sexual orientation. I was not willing to pay that price.
In these many student positions I learned wonderful skills. Skills of debating. Of public speaking. Of contesting ideas. Of upholding basic principles. That is when I learned the advantage of being a joiner. Many students, probably most, in those days joined student clubs or societies of some kind. They took part in union affairs, debating and political action. This was not viewed as somehow divorced from our university lectures and studies. Instead, it was seen as an essential and uplifting aspect of the whole university experience in those days.
"Like so many other student troublemakers, I appeared destined for a life in the real world of Australian politics. The only trouble was that, at the time, this would have meant a life of deception, loneliness and deprivation because of my sexual orientation. I was not willing to pay that price."
There were so many issues going on. Protesting the economic impoverishment of Aboriginal Australians - the necessity for ABSCOL – a scholarship to promote Aboriginal university attendance, “Liberating the public baths in Moree and the upstairs cinema in Walgett, so as to be available to Aboriginal Australians. Objecting to “White Australia”. Engaging with new friends from Asia who came to Australia on Colombo Plan and other scholarships. Reminding others of the need to support education in neighbouring countries. Supporting and joining the Overseas Service Bureau, later Australian Volunteers Abroad. Meeting and engaging with the first Islamic people whom we had met. Supporting women’s equality. Promoting women’s advancement in politics. Protesting to the general media. Speaking up for countless causes. Looking back, one of the only causes that never seemed to be raised was the end to the oppression of gay people through the criminal law and religious hostility. Even today, in 2020, that oppression is still going on in Australia, in the name of so-called “religious freedom”.4 Protesting against the Vietnam War. Arguing for exemption from compulsory National Service. Fighting these causes and defending the cases in the courts. Students were an awful trouble for Vice-Chancellors. But they knew and understood.
Mostly, they defended our right. When I think of the panoply of causes in which my fellow students and I were engaged back in the 1950s, 60s and 70s, I see a big change that has come about amongst Australia’s university students today.
Late last year, I was invited to speak at the 90th anniversary of the Sydney University SRC. Some of the famous participants from mid-Century were there to help celebrate the event. I dropped a clanger. I told the assembled student politicians of today that they were virtually invisible in our society. Whereas in my day they were noisy and active. We were challenging what we saw as the injustices to which older people were blind. Our views were repeated in newspapers, on the new television screens and in the streets. Where were the successors to those feisty students of yesteryear, I asked? Perhaps looking around this vast assembly, they are now university administrators, anxious for a quiet time. They were not standing up and shouting out for freedom, as we did. They were not embracing “renewal, reformation and extension”. They were not exploring freedom of the mind. University students today are deathly quiet.
"University students today are deathly quiet."
The young students told me that everything had changed since my day. Students are too busy working to pay their university fees. They are preoccupied with competition for jobs. Political campaigns are now run through social media. Crowd funding, mobile phone dialogue. As well, they explained, federal funding had been significantly cut for student unions by the abolition of compulsory union fees. Ironically, this policy was converted into federal legislation by two past presidents of the Sydney University SRC, the Honourable Tony Abbott and the Honourable Joe Hockey. It was partly repaired by another student politician of the 1980s when her brief turn in government came: The Honourable Julia Gillard. To the extent that the defunding or underfunding of student associations in Australian universities explains the great student silence of today, it is a tragedy and a bad mistake.
The investment of student union fees in the future of an ethical, political and public life in Australia was paltry in amount. The price we have paid for its abolition includes the discouraging state of party politics in Australia today. It is not by accident that cynicism has accompanied with the deliberate undermining of organised student affairs in our universities. The policy of disinvestment in student politics is repaid in dividends of disinterest in national and State politics. Many students have turned their attention from their country and the world to the narrow confines of selfish self-absorption.
"The policy of disinvestment in student politics is repaid in dividends of disinterest in national and State politics. Many students have turned their attention from their country and the world to the narrow confines of selfish self-absorption."
I urge university administrators to do what they can, within the law, to revive financial and other support for student affairs. For debating. For engagement with political issues. For exploring ethical principles. For promoting student societies. For bringing their debates out into the public domain.
Although, I never took my skills in student politics into the parliamentary domain, they certainly taught me how to identify and argue basic values. And how to speak at, and chair, meetings. I was to find that courts generally, and even the High Court of Australia, are often quite similar to SRC meetings. Issues get debated. After interminable time, they are resolved by vote. Personalities and ego matter and affect outcomes. Values count. And for all the faults of democratic societies, they are a lot better, more rational and safer, than the alternatives.
President Bacow, lamented the modern ‘cancellation’ of any views one disagrees with. Disregard for information and perspectives one distains. Shouting down, threatening and bullying opponents.
“Our students have every right to be angry about the world they will inheriting - … I would rather address their anger than bemoan their apathy… but they also have a responsibility, as educated people, to face the realities of the same world. To them, civility may feel like an antiquated notion. But it offers a well-worn path to overturning conventional wisdom and making meaningful and lasting change. The same is true of questioning institutions of government responsible for public policy and holding them – and elected officials – accountable. … I believe our future actually depends upon decency, our future depends upon civil discourse, and our future also depends upon our helping our students to understand that sometimes the best way to bring about change, especially change that is directed at the government, is to exercise their rights at the ballot box [and to serve and advance the principles of democracy]."5
By going along with the dismantlement of many of the features of student politics that were supported by the compulsory student union fee and not fighting tooth and nail against such changes twenty years ago, universities have downgraded the importance of imagining debate, discussion, resolution and civility in our society. That pays the price. This retrograde should be reversed. Australian universities should invest positively in, and promote, student self-government and societies. Here in Australia and overseas the students we attract to student activities and life today will be the community leaders of tomorrow. We need to inculcate them with the spirit of liberty in all of its manifestation.
"Australian universities should invest positively in, and promote, student self-government and societies. Here in Australia and overseas the students we attract to student activities and life today will be the community leaders of tomorrow. We need to inculcate them with the spirit of liberty in all of its manifestation."
CONTEXTUAL CHANGES: FEES AND FUNDING
There are three further thoughts that I will share, looking at your world from my long acquaintance with it as it has changed over my lifetime. I these three thoughts are inter-related.
This conference of Universities Australia is taking place at time of crisis for many, but not all, of Australia’s 39 public universities. Over the past quarter century, Australia’s universities have pursued a determined growth strategy. They have done this particularly in the context of international students. Today, international education is worth close to $40 billion a year. This makes it Australia’s fourth largest “export”, after iron ore, coal and natural gas. Coal and natural gas are looking increasingly problematic, in the light of international climate change imperatives, domestic bush fires; and community (including student) anxiety. This is one topic upon which at least some students have been summoned from the lethargy of political disengagement. That concern is likely to be enlarged.
Thinking about the impact of our export of tertiary education services, our universities now enrol about 1.5 million students in total. Of these, approximately 450,000 are international students. About one third of the international students come from China. This is an enormous change that was not even dreamt of when I walked through the gates of Sydney University in 1956.
At first, in those days of the 1950s, there were virtually no overseas students. Certainly very few who were visibly foreign. “White Australia” ensured that we were racially, and very noticeably, a monochrome and basically uniform society. After the Colombo Plan commenced in 1951, things started to change. But the change was slow, well into the 1960s. Now, no one can walk on the campus of most Australian universities without witnessing the enormous change. It is a change for the good – for us and for the international students. Any person of my age who has mixed in governmental circles in Asia, knows of the well-placed politicians, officials, judges and business people who came to Australia under Colombo Plan scholarships. Despite “White Australia”, most of them had a good experience. In part, this was because with that policy came good manners that our English colonial masters had taught us, especially when dealing with “strangers”.
Now the average Australian university enrols about 37,000 students. This is a very different world from the small university life I remember in the late 1950s to the late 1960s. Indeed, it is different again from the time I spend as Chancellor of Macquarie University from 1984-93. Internationalisation of the tertiary education sector has largely taken off in Australia since the 1990s.
With this development have come fresh dividends. We see it repeatedly if we travel, as I do, to most of the counties of Asia. For me, Asia is not, in Paul Keating’s condemnatory words, a land mass that Australians simply flew over on their way “home” to Europe. Increasingly, in Asia, we find former students, in or the families of present or former students positions of influence. This is why the growth of internationalisation is both an exciting challenge and an obligation for our country.
"This is why the growth of internationalisation is both an exciting challenge and an obligation for our country."
Generally speaking, Australia and its universities have risen to this challenge. But not always. Surveys that are now available allow us to see to responses assessing student experience in Australian universities . Mostly these indicate positive experiences and good memories. Sometimes, however, we have failed miserably to respond to their challenges.
Everyone here present will remember the young Indian student in Melbourne who was murdered whilst working at a late-night convenience store. Following his death police, doubtless defensively, issued ill-advised public statements. Before they could have investigated the incident properly, they announced that the murder was unconnected with the victim’s race or origins. They suggested that it could have happened to anyone. This was most unconvincing to students and parents in India. I can tell you that because every year I go to India several times. People talked endlessly of that case. The police officials should have responded with the strongest assertions that if the victim had been killed for any reason to do with his race, this was something that would shock the conscience of Australia. It would demand condign punishment. In today’s world of digital media and social networks, the way we respond to problems for the student base overseas resonates throughout countries from which we derive our students. University personnel, from chancellors and vice-chancellors down, need advice and training about the sensitivities they should show when any problems arise in our catchment area. It is not just a matter of conducting sparkling graduations overseas or press releases. It is a matter of playing seriously to the advantage that Australia offers in hosting such large numbers of international students. That we are a safe country. That we are a parliamentary democracy. That we observe the rule of law. That our police are not corrupted. And that we have learned from our past. We need to change the image and actuality of our racism and to be as sensitive about it as are the places from which our international students derive.
"In today’s world of digital media and social networks, the way we respond to problems for the student base overseas resonates throughout countries from which we derive our students."
All this said, it is worth acknowledging that part of the economic rationale that drives the conduct of Australian universities today undoubtedly derives from a relentless effort to attract international students. Doing so will clearly supplement our university budgets. Moreover, attracting such students will be the pathway to securing improved rankings on international league tables, including the Times Higher Education and other like rankings. These rankings focus heavily on research output. Unfortunately, they give little emphasis to teaching, learning and what I have called “the student experience”. The importance of these additional factors is explained in the book by Chris Brink, The Soul of a University: Why Excellence is Not Enough.6 Most Australian universities openly admit that the way they make up for the shortfalls in government funding of research is now by recruiting international students. And then by using their tuition fees to invest in research. Or in campus building programs. To build laboratories and research institutes. Unfortunately, in their scramble for growth, it seems highly likely that, in many cases, the investment of Australian universities on the teaching side of their mission has not kept pace with their pursuit of research excellence. The reasons are understandable. But the policy needs to adapt to our market.
"Unfortunately, in their scramble for growth, it seems highly likely that, in many cases, the investment of Australian universities on the teaching side of their mission has not kept pace with their pursuit of research excellence. The reasons are understandable. But the policy needs to adapt to our market."
I am not decrying research. Far from it. The notion of combining research excellence with teaching in disciplines related to the research is that the scholar will then be able to communicate the detail, and some of the passion, that comes from the research. Just as the leading QCs did in low budget legal education in my youth. Those old style lecturer advocates made even procedural law interesting by telling their wide-eyed students of the actual court cases they had argued before horrible judges over the intricacies of procedural law. Scarcely the same thing as scientific research. But the closest that lawyers got to the real world.
The concept of combining research and teaching was established by Humboldt University and other great German institutions. But whilst advanced research can inform great teaching, this does not necessarily happen. Doing research is not sufficient. In the Australian context, with a large and still growing sector of paying international students, there is evidence that suggests that the nexus between good research and good teaching is very problematic. The federal Department of Education keeps track of data on teaching, learning and the student experience. It does so by way of public websites.7 Sometimes the most highly ranked and prestigious universities, with fine research programs, perform relatively poorly in terms of student satisfaction, good teaching and the “student experience”. This also needs to change.
"Sometimes the most highly ranked and prestigious universities, with fine research programs, perform relatively poorly in terms of student satisfaction, good teaching and the “student experience”. This also needs to change."
Professor Glyn Davis in his book, The Australian Idea of a University,8 criticised what he saw as the large-scale uniformity of Australia’s universities, modelled on the “London Metropolitan Model”. This brought forth howls of protest that I am not competent to judge. However, the general point is worth considering. If Australia is now in a market to attract international students, improving teaching and enhancing access to the full “student experience” may not only be advantageous in the context of the shared messaging of the digital world. It may also provide fresh attractions to our universities that have not yet been fully tapped.
Hon Justice Kirby speaking amongst other thoughtful topics on the role of Universities to stimulate freedom internationally and the importance of the student experience in the wider sense. #uaconf2020 pic.twitter.com/BNtzs58It6— Sarah R-T (@rtsarahj) February 26, 2020
CHANGES: CORONAVIRUS EPIDEMIC
It would be impossible to engage with the university sector in Australia at this time ignoring the impact on students, families and universities themselves of the COVID-19, the novel coronavirus that has fallen with special ferocity on international students from China. Given that they have become one third of our international intake, the short and long-term consequences of this disaster and the impact on our student cohort, cannot be underestimated.
According to Salvatore Babones, across all Australia’s higher education institutions, including universities, Chinese students account for 37.3% of international students. They are more than 10% of all students, including school and language. These figures count only the students who are actual residents of “mainland” China. They do not include students from Hong Kong or Chinese students’ resident in Australia because they are citizens or have long-standing student visas.9 So large have these cohorts because that a recent ABC Four Corners documentary described them as “Australia’s international student ‘cash cow’”. On top of sensitive controversies concerning Chinese Government and student reactions to comments perceived to be hostile to the government of the PRC, now comes a different and very human crisis. The way that China and we ourselves handle that crisis will be remembered for decades. It is a far bigger potential challenge for us than the case of the murder of an Indian student that brought thousands of protesters onto the streets of Melbourne. According to commentators with access to the data, there are now more than 100,000 students stuck in China who had intended studying in Australia this academic year. As each day passes, it becomes increasingly unlikely that they will be allowed to travel to Australia in time to start the 2020 academic year and to catch up with lost lectures and course requirements.10
Because the flow of students on education visas represents “one of the largest education flows the world has ever seen”11 two issues demand immediate attention. The first is whether, given the dependence of Australia’s universities on the continuance of the flow, more should have been done to anticipate the problem such as has now occurred. And if so, what that could have been. This criticism of universities strikes me as relying on 20/20 rear vision. True it is, we had the earlier HIV and Ebola epidemics and the more comparable SARS epidemic. But none of these could reasonably have given rise to the expectation of the global catastrophe that is unfolding with COVID-19. Media may have exaggerated this epidemic. Governments may have pandered to media fears. The sight of many thousands of citizens wearing largely ineffective facemasks in Asia shows the fear that is increasingly gripping the international community. Even President Xi has appeared on television and at public meetings wearing a mask.
Secondly, regulations restricting travel are not only or even mainly the business of universities. The Chinese Government and the Australian Government have imposed their own restrictions. The multiple effect of these restrictions on individual students and their families is escalating, especially for students who are part way through their degree course and incapable of securing alternative funding in case of delay. The impact of the epidemic on Australian broader university communities (accommodation, employment, shops and civil societies) is profound. So is the effect on associated tourism, banking, commerce, travel and reunions.
Various options need urgently to be explored, where this has not already been done. They include delivering online courses and lectures by Skype; designing and providing bridging courses and intensive “catch-up” courses once student flows resume; and amending semester and administrative arrangements. It would not hurt if Australian politicians could tear themselves away with their recent obsession with protecting religious beliefs over the reality of LGBT minorities so as to express concern and solidarity with our international students from China and other countries. We must make it clear that we are concerned and aware that they are hurting as Professor Deborah Terry has done today. And that we are willing to help.
"It would not hurt if Australian politicians could tear themselves away with their recent obsession with protecting religious beliefs over the reality of LGBT minorities so as to express concern and solidarity with our international students from China and other countries."
After a tsunami, John Howard made a dramatic, and huge gift to the Indonesian people as an act of spontaneous friendship from the Australian people. Even if it was only done as a contribution to stabilise a vital long-term investment, it could be timely for the Australian Government to announce a special ‘student support fund’ of millions of dollars to be applied for online. And online facilities for the easy extension of student visas and message of friendship and concern from the Australian people to the people of China. I believe that Australian people understand the huge impact of this epidemic on our international students – not as an economic resource only. But as a human catastrophe.
Michael Kirby: "I urge university administrators to do what they can, within the law, to revive financial and other support for student affairs." #uaconf2020— Jack Goodman (@jackaroo2000) February 25, 2020
CHANGE: THE GLOBAL DIMENSION
The third idea arises from the role of universities to stimulate and promote “freedom” (as President Bacow proposed) on the international stage.
A number of participants in past conferences have told me that the address they remember best was the candid talk by the former United States Ambassador to Australia, Jeffrey Bleich gave in March 2017. In this address he spoke of the unexpected victory in the United States Presidential election of Donald Trump and the negative consequences this had presented to the rules based international system; as to decency and civility in politics; respect for minorities and vulnerable people; and responding wisely to the fear of the young that their jobs will be taken by machines and that their thinking activity at work will be replaced by artificial intelligence.
These concerns have become much larger since 2017. One of my challenging tasks after leaving office in the High Court of Australia was to chair the United Nations Commission of Inquiry that investigated crimes against humanity in North Korea.12 Follow up has been discouraging.
Unfortunately, the portrait of the international scene, painted by the former Ambassador in 2017 has become worse by 2020, not better. Britain has voted to leave the European Union and will soon do so. Poland, Hungary and other states of Eastern Europe are retreating from the rule of law. The Philippines boasts of killing large numbers of its citizens by extra-judicial process. Even our own Prime Minister has spoken trenchantly of the United Nations and disparagingly of its officers. Most dangerously, from the perspective or Korea is the steady, inexorable retreat of the United States from multiple treaties, negotiated by President Trump’s predecessors back to President Regan for the reduction, non-proliferation and destruction of nuclear weapons. If global warming is a global issue, nuclear weapons constitute our greatest existential challenge. It behoves university scholars to speak up and explain that nuclear weapons are not just large bombs.
This makes the way forward predicted by Ambassador Bleich as relevant today as when he presented it to this conference 3 years ago:
“The only antidote for this impulse to divide and exclude, to isolate, to create barriers, and to resist the future is this. We need to rethink education to help address the things that [are important in] all our democracies. And we must put our best minds to work to offer a vision of the future in this new economy that works for everyone. … People need a purpose, … and the most prized roles for human beings will be things that only human beings can do. So as you begin this important work, consider this as a model for the university of the future. …”13
Such, then, these are the puzzles and paradoxes of the contemporary Australian university:14
Children of Oxford, Cambridge and Harvard in liberal education; yet modelled on the more pragmatic downmarket London Metropolitan tradition;
Citadels of liberty as Barcow has demanded; yet with intensely practical work to do, requiring discipline and rigour;
Home to scholars and original thinkers; yet a big business with imperatives of teaching well and ensuring the broader engagement with students;
Offering world class education products; but with enhanced needs to positively open up more opportunities for the “full student experience”;
A major national economic player overtaking coal as an export earner; yet more than a ‘cash cow’, for that complacent outlook would be full of danger to fail;
Facing a major economic crisis with novel coronavirus; yet bound to a highly personal and pastoral relationship with students who are hurting and whose pain we must visibly share and provide a buffer for; and
A vital local player for endless job preparation; but players on the international stage on charting the future of work and humanity and ensuring that there is a future for humanity with attention to global issues.
If, as in Turandot, these riddles can be resolved, future generations, in Australia and beyond, will be as grateful to our universities, as I am. If not, a mighty opportunity will be lost.
I close as I began, invoking the spirals of the great Vice Chancellors of the past, whose legacy we enlarge and expand.
* Chancellor Emeritus of Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia. Former Chancellor of Macquarie University (1984-93); Deputy Chancellor of the University of Newcastle (NSW) (1979-83); Fellow of the Senate of the University of Sydney (1966-69). The author acknowledges materials provided by Universities Australia; Professor S. Bruce Dowton (Vice-Chancellor, Macquarie University) and Mr Jack Goodman (President, Friends of Libraries Australia).
 Address at Emmanuel College, Cambridge University, by President Larry Bacow of Harvard University: available https://www.harvard.edu/president/speech/2020/gomes-lecture-research-university-contentious-times.
 Bacow, ibid, 4.
 Loc cit, 5.
 See e.g. Religious Discrimination Bill 2019 (Cth).
 Bacow, above n.1, 7.
 See C.G. Brink, The Soul of a University: Why Excellence is not Enough, Bristol University Press (2018).
 Called Quilt or Compar ED.
 G. Davis, The Australian Idea of a University (Melbourne Uni Press, 2017), 39.
 S. Babones, “Update on Chinese Student Numbers at Australia’s G8 Universities” available https://salvatorebabones.com/update-on-chines-student-numbers-at-australias-g8-universities/
 Roman Pilipey, “The Coronavirus Outbreak is the Biggest Crisis to Hit International Education”, available https://theconverstation.com/the-coronavirus-outbreak-is-the-biggest-crisis-ever-to-hit-international-education-131138.
 Ambassador Jeffrey Bleich, Keynote address Higher Education Conference, Universities Australia, available: https://www.universitiesaustralia.edu.au/media-item/higher-education-conference-keynote-address-ambassador-ret-jeff-bleich (3 March 2017).
 See the Global Universities Council, meeting, Hamburg, Germany, June 2019 on the future of universities in society from a global perspective: https://www.guc-hamburg.de/en/press/news/20190621-video-maasen.html per Professor Peter Maasen.