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Tuesday, 18 May 1993
Page: 790

(Question No. 114)

Senator Tierney asked the Minister representing the Minister for Employment, Education and Training, upon notice, on 11 May 1993:

  With reference to an answer to a question without notice asked by Senator Tierney (Senate Hansard, 8 October 1992, p1429) which states that `The [evaluation] panel had many problems with the University Partnerships proposals. . . but encouraged them to talk with Monash University to see if they could resolve some of the differences between consortium partners in the interest of achieving the best possible national result':

  (1) Is the Minister referring to `consortium partners' within the Monash-led consortium, or is the Minister suggesting that `consortium partners' means the University Partnerships (UP) bid and the Monash-led bid; if so, does this mean that the UP bid had already been rejected; if not, does this mean that the panel expected the two rival bids to offer a joint proposal; and (b) if the panel expected a joint proposal, in what form was this expectation conveyed to the rival consortiums.

  (2) Did the original bid from the Monash consortium propose that Monash University have absolute control over the Open Learning Initiative.

  (3) When did Monash University agree to the current proposed composition of the nine member board of the Open Learning Initiative.

Senator Robert Ray —The Minister for Employment, Education and Training has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

  (1) The evaluation panel was advised that on the final day for lodgement of expressions of interest, a number of universities which had been involved in the Monash University bid asked University Partnerships Pty Ltd to put forward a separate bid on their behalf. The panel was advised that this action was taken because some differences of view had developed among the parties. The panel took the view that as a number of universities were members of both bids, it should provide representatives of the two bids, submitted by University Partnerships Pty Ltd and Monash University, with the opportunity to resolve the differences of views that had emerged. The panel therefore separately

suggested to representatives of each of the two bids that they hold further discussions.

  In the event the panel was advised that they were not able to resolve all of their differences of views and no further consideration was given to the possibility of a single proposal.

  (2) No.

  (3) Monash University accepted a conditional invitation to establish the Open Learning Initiative on 23 September 1992. At that time, Monash proposed to increase the number of board members from nine, as proposed in the conditional invitation, to eleven in order to increase the number of universities represented to five (including Monash). That proposal was formalised in the agreement between the Commonwealth and the Open Learning Agency of Australia Pty Ltd signed on 18 January 1993.