Originally published in ABC The Drum on October 15, 2014


By the shrill sound of things, you’d be forgiven for thinking the Australian National University (ANU) had sent its teaching staff on a paid trip to blockade the Pilliga.

Jamie Briggs, Minister for Infrastructure, attacked ANU for “damaging” job creation.

Christopher Pyne, Minister for Education, called the university “bizarre”.

Joe Hockey made similar intonations, questioning if ANU in fact knew what it is that is helping to “drive the Australian economy”.

Never mind, Mr Briggs, that more Australians are employed in sports and recreation than in coal mining. Never mind, Mr Hockey, that all the royalties, and all the tax, from all the mining companies, in all the country, merely make up about 5 per cent of governments’ revenue.

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