Posted to the Herald’s letters page on Thursday.

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Thursday’s editorial on the budget and tertiary education overlooked a serious point. The estimated $304 million annual harvest will be divided up among the universities at the government’s discretion.

Under past Ministers such as Nelson and Kemp, funding for tertiary programs have gradually moved from quality research in worthy areas, such as the anthropological and linguistic documentation of Australian and international cultures, an area in which I am heavily involved, towards those areas that are ‘commercially applicable’, those that generate immediate monetary return for their investment.

I would think that if the Howard government were re-elected later this year, we may see this trend continue with a further bias towards, say, pharmaceutical research and development, which would ordinarily be privately sponsored, at the expense of programs that are vitally important, yet are not immediately profitable.

In an era that is witnessing the most rapid loss of indigenous language and culture, among other areas, than any other time in history, I seriously question whether this is the right way to go.

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I haven’t attempted writing to the Herald in a while, and when I do they rarely get published. Then, if they do, they’re usually edited for space constraints. But since 300 editorial staff have gone on an indefinitely long strike over the sacking of 35 people as of today, editing letters may not be their priority right now.

<update>
It got in. Yay.
</update>