Media Comment to the Guardian Australia

Media Comment to the Guardian Australia

Author: Stuart Andrews

Date: 17 November 2021

Commentary provided by Stuart Andrews to the Guardian Australia on 17 November 2021 regarding casualisation in the higher education sector.

Casual staff are an integral and very important component of any university workforce. Many have intermittent or short-term employment, they don’t have an ongoing regular pattern of hours, and don’t fit the profile for permanent jobs. The vast majority of the university casual staff workforce therefore don’t qualify for conversion to permanency under the Fair Work Act. This is not surprising, given that a lot of casual work is provided by universities to their PhD students, to other students undertaking degree courses, and many professionals who have principal employment elsewhere. We expected, as did the unions, that only a small minority of university casual staff would qualify for conversion under these rules. This will be a matter that is further explored in bargaining with the unions which is currently underway in many universities across the country.

Quoted in the Guardian Australia article titled: Australia’s universities converting as little as 1% of casual staff to permanent despite labour law change published on 18 November 2021 and available online:


The Australian Higher Education Industrial Association is the employer association for the higher education sector, registered under the Federal Fair Work (Registered Organisations) Act 2009. Our membership currently comprises 32 universities.

AHEIA provides a range of learning and development services, including a suite of workplace relations training programs, leadership development programs and wellbeing programs specifically designed for university staff. The Association designs bespoke and customised programs for ‘in-house’ delivery as well as offering training workshops throughout the year in all mainland State capital cities.