(Image: Private Media)

However much Australia may fall short in key departments of almost everything, surely no one can doubt our vigour and willingness to destroy our university system. This is an Australian success story!

Applying the same ingenuity by which earlier generations silted our rivers, dispersed our topsoil and annihilated our fauna, a generation of right-wing politicians and activists -- working as a team with vice-chancellors, managers, consultants and compliant underlings -- are hacking away at the trunk and roots of a system we built up only in the past half-century or so.

Were it a passage of play in a Sims world, it would be intriguing to watch. In real life, it's a tragedy -- but instructive in showing that while the right is the main author of Australian universities' demise, the left has assisted it in myriad ways.