May 19th 2018


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Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY The real cost of institutionalised child care

EDITORIAL AGL dismisses $250m bid for Liddell Power Station

GENDER POLITICS As Queensland transgenders birth certificates, 300 women quit UK Labour Party

CANBERRA OBSERVED No pressure on Malcolm to call election this year

NATIONAL AFFAIRS Can Greens regenerate, or are they mulch?

POLITICS Conservative shift in the Victorian Liberal Party

OPINION No fairytale ending from the Land of a Fair Go

LAW REFORM The Nordic Model: proven to curtail sex trafficking

NATIONAL AFFAIRS Committal hearing dismisses main serious charges against Cardinal Pell

GENDER AND ETHICS Transgenderism and the dissolution of identity

PHILOSOPHY The supercharged cheetah

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS One Belt, One Road: China's new empire

HUMOUR

MUSIC Business as usual: The sweet tinkle of falling coins

CINEMA Avengers: Last Flag Flying and Infinity War

BOOK REVIEW A hungry beast that ate up 4 million lives

BOOK REVIEW Skewed analysis of republic in crisis

POETRY

LETTERS

CANBERRA OBSERVED Bill Shorten's Budget-Reply speech: for what ails you

FOREIGN AFFAIRS Behind the U.S.-North Korea rapprochement

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OPINION
No fairytale ending from the Land of a Fair Go


by Helen Jurcevic OAM

News Weekly, May 19, 2018

Maria and Ivan (not their real names) are living in Melbourne in their 11th year of trauma.

Migrants who arrived in Australia in 2007, they came to create a new life for themselves. Their intentions were to further their studies and build on their previous degree training, so they were granted student visas.

Maria achieved an outstanding level of qualifications with her double Masters Degrees from Deakin University. She was gainfully employed as a counselor, thus contributing to the fabric of her new country.

At the same time Ivan enrolled at Deakin University and completed his Masters Degree and then gained a CPA Diploma. He too has been gainfully employed. Both he and Maria are paying taxes as law-abiding citizens.

Maria transferred onto a 485 Visa after completing her studies (this included her husband and family), however this type of visa was to expire (being a temporary visa).

More higher-degree studies

Being left without visa status and in danger of deportation, Maria undertook one final course of study, sitting the IELTS test, passing well, to enable her to take on another university course. She recently graduated from Melbourne University with her third Masters Degree. A highly accomplished couple with their children in tow, they were looking forward to a life with great hope and a bright future and opportunities for their children.

So, why are they both, with their children, suffering trauma? In a word, IELTS.

Both Maria and Ivan have been compelled to undertake the International English Language Tests (IELTS) on a regular basis in order to maintain their visa status.

Of course it is important to have English language competence, and testing is an obvious means to ensure such a competence. However, in this case, IELTS is effectively thwarting such competence, not enhancing it, and making money in the process!

The Government has outsourced this program to private enterprise. But, why outsource such a lucrative business when there is a Department of Education that could administer the testing of migrants and the fees paid for testing would go into government coffers?

The trauma-producing results from IELTS programs have been caused by a failure to reach the required scores pertinent to your points score and your age, with this happening multiple times in this case for a couple with extremely high levels of academic achievements. How can a candidate, with three Masters Degrees from Deakin and Melbourne universities, who worked in a professional capacity in industry, fail an English test in conversation firstly, then score full marks in conversation in a second attempt but fail writing in that second sitting? How can her husband Ivan, with a Masters Degree and a CPA Diploma fail the ILETS testing 10 times?

On goes the trauma

The trauma of continuing failure and the resultant depression is exacting a severe toll on this young family. Their hard-earned income has been used on testing fees for IELTS ($330 per test) over the years. These people contributed to the profit earnings of IELTS Pty Ltd of more than $66 million in the first six months of 2012 (Financial Review). Interestingly, IDP Education (co-owners of IELTS) listed on the Melbourne Stock Exchange over a year ago and its share price has doubled since then.

A disconcerting factor in this saga is the apparent inconsistency in administration and standards. When Maria and Ivan were sitting for the IELTS test with the aim of gaining their initial student visas, they passed all four bands with ease on their first attempt.

When the same students, years later, after completing their intense studies, sit the IELTS test required for a Permanent Resident Visa, they fail and are deemed no longer competent in tests they have passed well previously!

Seemingly, it is appropriate to encourage full fee-paying candidates to enroll in expensive university courses, and boost a major sector of the Australian economy, the business of education, but inappropriate to accept the resultant same graduates into the country.

Use, discard, repeat

Without an IELTS pass result, this family faces deportation. They have worked and studied successfully, paid their taxes and yet were afforded no government benefits, for example, a Medicare card. This appears to be of no avail. They have been wrung out and squeezed to support the Australian economy and will possibly now be discarded and deported.

In the meantime the suffering continues for Maria and Ivan and their children, along with countless others. And they are just two of the several thousand people who have suffered this humiliation.

This desperate uncertainty is destroying their lives and is most evident on the worried face of their eldest son Peter, who frequently asks: “Will I have to leave my school and friends? Why can’t we stay?”

Maria, Ivan and their children do not deserve this shabby treatment. No one does in the Land of a Fair Go.




























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