Ex-Democrat Senator Jack Evans ..opposed by university student guild

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Ex-Senator's problems
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Published by REFORMERS' CLUB, 10 Broome Street, South Perth, Western Australia, 6151;

(EX-SENATOR JACK EVANS, AN AUSTRALIAN DEMOCRAT LEADER IN WESTERN AUSTRALIA AT SUCCESSFUL 1997 FEDERAL ELECTION, AND ONE OF THE ASPECTS OF HIS PAST, INVESTIGATED BY STUDENTSí GUILD, MURDOCH UNIVERSITY, PERTH, WESTERN AUSTRALIA)

Murdoch Meteor, 1988 [month to be supplied later]

On the 15th of June, 1988 a two-page document was handed in to the Guild at Murdoch. The person who presented this document claimed that it had been removed, that week, from a bulletin board at "Australian Business College", 111 St George's Tce, Perth. The front page of this paper is reproduced here. You will note that the qualifications for entry to Murdoch University are given as:

As no-one in the Guild had ever heard of A.B.C., however, the regulations governing entry to Murdoch are clear (and spelled out on pages of the University Handbook and Calendar) we decided that a bit of investigative journalism was called for.

SILENCE PLEASE
No-one at the Guild had much experience in investigative journalism, however, we thought that the best way to find out about the AB.C. and whether the misrepresentation of Murdoch had had any effect was to go and speak to the students enrolled there.

We were confronted by a wall of silence. Everyone seemed too scared to speak. Students who say "1 can't say anything, ask someone else" arouse a great deal of interest. Students are much better known for saying lots, and the opportunity to get quoted in the media brings the average student out of the woodwork faster than pre-released exam questions.

One word that did catch our ears was "deportation". Now we (like you, no doubt) thought that deportation was the realm of the Government. Specifically the Department of Immigration. However, all the students we saw at A.B.C. were full fee-paying overseas students so we decided to press on. The picture we began to build up was not a pretty one. It involved allegations of threats and intimidation to hide what were serious claims of misrepresentation that in our opinion amounted to a rip-off of a small group of people who had little or no protection under Australian law (or the law of anyone else for that matter).

CLICK here for photostat of:
Australian Business College, accreditation of courses,
for both Curtin and Murdoch Universities; 42 Kb
SPEAK SOFTLY
To gain the confidence of the A.B.C. students, we had to guarantee their anonymity. In return, we were supplied with sworn statements which supported the allegations which had been made. All the accusations which follow were made in statements sworn before a J.P. or witnessed by at least one prominent member of the community. We do not say they are true, truth is decided by a jury. However, the major complaints were attested to by all the students who made statements.

PROMISES, PROMISES
All the students reported that they were recruited, in Asia, by representatives of a company called "Inter-Ed". These representatives claimed to be the agents for "Australian Business College", located in Perth with affiliate colleges in Sydney and Melbourne. The minimum cost for any course was $A4950.00, however, a lot was promised for this money.

The following are common complaints that are included in an internal government department report on the A.BC. This document has not been made public. The bold type in the following are direct quotes from this document and the section that follows is based on the declarations of the students whose signed depositions we managed to collect, and our own investigations.

1) The various diploma courses are recognised by Australian, U.K. and U.S.A. Universities

Problems of Australian Business College advertising_ Problems of the Evans advertising of the 1980s

Diploma and degree courses which are recognised by universities are recognised publicly in the regulations of the university. Neither of the two universities in Perth and neither of the two Colleges of Advanced Education in Perth include an A.BC. diploma as being included in their entrance requirements. We did not check outside of Perth, we considered it an unnecessary expense. The statement made is quite simply UNTRUE.

2) Some courses and subjects entitle students to exemptions in further tertiary courses.

The students allege that they were informed that on completion of their A.B.C. diploma they would receive four credit points at an Australian university. The A.B.C. had actually asked for such exemptions for their students from Murdoch. The reply (dated 1lth June, 1987) from Murdoch includes the statement: "We would not be prepared to award any credit or exemptions towards any of the university's degrees to graduates of the College". After the AB.C. approached one of our professors in a bit of backdoor lobbying, the university responded with a similar statement.

3) Facilities on Campus

a) Library b) Common Room c) Sports Ground d) Accommodation -- student hostel -- Including meals.

Specifically, the students claim that they were shown photographs which were said to be of the "Campus" of A.B.C. They claim that on arrival in Perth they recognised:

a) The library to be the Alexander Turnbull Library. b) The sports ground to be the W.A.C.A. c) The 'walkways' to be the Hay Street Mall.

The picture of the main campus shows a multi-storey building. The reality is that A.B.C. leases three* floors of the National Mutual Building.   [* two floors was the correct number--Reformers' Club]

4. Employment. Assistance will be given by the College for students to find employment. They can earn $8 per hour weekdays; $24 per hour, weekends.

You can make up your own mind about the wage rates. If you do know of reputable businesses offering part-time weekend work paying $24..00 per hour, can you please let the Guild know. The students further allege that when they approached the college in Perth they were informed "we are not an employment agency", and no help was provided.

CLICK here for photostat of:
Australian Business College,
1988 term dates and course fees; 39 Kb
COURSES OFFERED
The students claim that when they were recruited they were informed that four computer languages were taught a) basic, b) fortran c) Cobol d) Pascal. On arrival in Perth they discovered that only Basic was taught. In Asia they claim that they were informed that they could readily transfer from Perth to Sydney to Melbourne and that "it is a good way to see the country". When they attempted to transfer to Sydney to take other computer courses they were informed that there was a transfer fee of $1200.00. (They claim that they discovered subsequently that the desired courses were not available at Sydney either.)

WHY THE SILENCE
If the following allegations are true then they amount to the most damning of all the statements. The students claim that when they became aware that what they were promised was not what they were going to get, they attempted to approach ex-Democrat Senator Jack Evans who heads the College. Most claimed that they were unable to see Jack personally or Sue Watson (the registrar) to voice their dissatisfaction.

They claim that they were subsequently contacted and informed that if there were any complaints they would be considered troublemakers and expelled from the College (without any refunds). This would render their student visa invalid and they would be deported. If these allegations are true they represent a gross misuse of the system which was designed to educate -- not enforce silence.

Problems of Australian Business College advertising _Problems of the Evans advertising of the 1980s

SAD CONCLUSION
The saddest aspect of all this is that the very large majority of the students had qualifications sufficient for them to enter one of the four tertiary institutions in W.A. Many have now done so.

Belatedly, the Government is introducing controls (see box). In the meantime the reputation of Australia has been subject to attack and the reputation of our own institution has been used for financial gain by a business whose activities are at best questionable.

P.S. Full credit must go to our University who, when informed of the claimed links, immediately took action. The thanks of the students and potential students of A.B.C. go out to the only body concerned in these allegations that has acted promptly to ensure that integrity is maintained.

During the politically "heady" days of the late '60s and early '70s Australia saw the birth of a new political party. Formed by Senator Don Chipp after he left the inner circles of the Liberal Party, the Democrats promised to take the centre ground in Australian politics.

In W.A. the loudest spokesperson for the fledgling party was Jack Evans. Jack stumped the state calling at every opportunity that the Democrats would "Keep the bastards honest". The cry was heard and Jack found himself Senator Jack Evans, Democrat Senator for Western Australia.

That's history.

CLICK here for photostat of:
"Crackdown in abuses in overseas student program,"
newspaper article, by Donald Greenlees; 69 Kb

(THE END)


Copyright © 1988, 1997 of original material reserved by the owner/s. Ordinary city scenes were supposedly parts of the College campus

Problems of Australian Business College advertising_ Problems of the Evans advertising of the 1980s

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Jack Evans and the overseas students_ Jack Evans and the overseas students

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