With both major parties talking up the need for Australia to make an economic transition, the new campaign makes the point squarely that a strong university sector is needed to achieve it.
It stresses the indispensable role that universities play in people’s day-to-day lives, by telling the stories of university graduates and university research breakthroughs that save lives, create new businesses, and generate economic growth for Australia.
The new campaign will be launched today at the FUTUREPROOF 2016 conference in Sydney by Universities Australia Chair Professor Barney Glover.
In his speech, Professor Glover will note that “the task (of economic transition) simply cannot be achieved without a strong university sector; one that produces a highly skilled workforce and generates new jobs and new industries to replace the ones that are disappearing.
“Some may assume that we are relaunching this campaign now because we aim to influence or sway voters or the election outcome. We are not.
“This may be a campaign in an election, but it is not an election campaign.
“Rather, we want to remind Australians – and all candidates and political parties – of the enormous contribution that universities make to almost every aspect of Australia’s economic and social wellbeing.”
Professor Glover will note that many Australians would know that Australia’s university researchers and graduates were responsible for inventions such as the Cochlear implant, contributed to the development of wifi at CSIRO, and developed the ground-breaking cervical cancer vaccine, Gardasil.
‘But what may not be so top of mind is how a high-quality university system touches their lives in so many other ways,” he will say.
“The highly-skilled teachers in their child’s primary school classroom? Educated at a university. The doctor who treats their elderly parent? Educated at a university. The engineer who designed the bridge they drive over safely every day. The forensic scientist who helps solve crimes and makes their communities safer. The IT programmers who engineered the technology in their smartphone. The people who designed banking security systems to keep their money safe. The people who came up with GPS, who keep planes in the sky, and the plant scientists who are developing more drought-resistant crops. All university educated.’
Starting today with national newspaper advertising, the campaign underscores the fact that universities are essential for Australia’s potential to really take off. TV and digital advertising will follow.
The first phase of the non-partisan Keep it Clever campaign was launched in April 2014.
Supporters can sign the Keep it Clever petition at keepitclever.com.au and follow the campaign via the hashtag #keepitclever.