The review process
In 2008, the Australian Government accepted the Review of Australian Higher Education (the Bradley Review). The Bradley Review recommended that the Australian Government regularly review the effectiveness of measures to improve higher education access and outcomes for Indigenous people in consultation with the Indigenous Higher Education Advisory Council (IHEAC).
To this end, the Australian Government established the Review of Higher Education Access and Outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People, announced on 14 April 2011.
The review panel
The review was led by a panel chaired by Professor Larissa Behrendt, Professor of Law and Director of Research at the Jumbunna Indigenous House of Learning at the University of Technology, Sydney. The other members of the panel were:
- Professor Steven Larkin, IHEAC Chair, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Indigenous Leadership, Charles Darwin University
- Mr Robert Griew, Associate Secretary, Department of Industry, Innovation, Science, Research and Tertiary Education
- Ms Patricia Kelly, Deputy Secretary, Department of Industry, Innovation, Science, Research and Tertiary Education.
At the beginning of the review, Mr Griew was an Associate Secretary of the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations ( DEEWR) while Ms Kelly was a Deputy Secretary of the Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research ( DIISR). Mr Griew’s portfolio was subsequently separated from DEEWR and merged into the newly formed Department of Industry, Innovation, Science, Research and Tertiary Education ( DIISRTE) in a machinery of government change that was announced on 12 December 2011 and established on 15 December 2011.
The Panel was supported by staff and a secretariat from the Department of Industry, Innovation, Science, Research and Tertiary Education.
The Review Panel commissioned several research papers. These are listed in Appendix 5.
The Review Panel conducted national consultations with a range of stakeholders. The Chair visited 39 universities and had several meetings with other key stakeholders. Senior departmental staff went to New Zealand and visited universities and government agencies. Secretariat staff also recorded student interviews, quotes from which intersperse this report. A list of universities consulted is provided in Appendix 4.
The Panel was also informed by three additional consultation processes. An initial roundtable was held with a selection of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander academics on 24 May 2011 to explore the issue of ‘Indigenous Knowledges’ and to set a vision for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander participation in higher education. Key thinkers were brought together in Canberra on 29 August 2011 to explore innovative and pragmatic solutions to enhance Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders’ access, participation, retention and success within the higher education sector through to employment and career options. A series of consultations with peak bodies and community organisations was conducted on behalf of the Review Panel by Indigenous communications consultants Cox Inall Ridgeway. A list of attendees to these consultations is provided at Appendix 4.
IHEAC also invited Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander holders of PhD degrees to a forum that informed IHEAC’s contribution to the Review. This forum was called the ‘Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Academic Doctors’ Forum’ and was held in Canberra on 7–8 November 2011.
On 19 September 2011, the Panel released its Context paper and call for submissions and an accompanying commissioned research paper, Background paper on Indigenous Australian higher education: trends, initiatives and policy implications by Ekaterina Pechenkina and Professor Ian Anderson, to assist parties who were interested in lodging a submission to the Review. The context paper canvassed key issues the Review Panel investigated and provided key statistics relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in higher education. The background paper provided a further overview of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander participation in higher education.
The period for making submissions formally closed on 18 November 2011.
Seventy-five submissions were received:
- 3 submissions were from Australian Government agencies.
- 4 submissions were from state or territory government agencies.
- 23 submissions were from organisations.
- 21 submissions were from private individuals.
- 17 submissions were from universities.
- 7 submissions were from university bodies.
A list of all submissions is provided at Appendix 3.