STUDENTS UNCOVER UNTRUE ADVERTISING
(EX-SENATOR JACK EVANS, AN AUSTRALIAN DEMOCRAT LEADER IN WESTERN AUSTRALIA AT
SUCCESSFUL 1997 FEDERAL ELECTION, AND ONE OF THE ASPECTS OF HIS PAST,
INVESTIGATED BY STUDENTSí GUILD, MURDOCH UNIVERSITY, PERTH, WESTERN AUSTRALIA)
Murdoch Meteor, 1988 [month to be supplied later]
On the 15th of June, 1988 a two-page document was handed in to the Guild at Murdoch. The person who presented this document claimed that it had been
removed, that week, from a bulletin board at "Australian Business College", 111
St George's Tce, Perth. The front page of this paper is reproduced here. You
will note that the qualifications for entry to Murdoch University are given as:
• ABC. Diploma
As no-one in the Guild had ever heard of A.B.C., however, the regulations
governing entry to Murdoch are clear (and spelled out on pages of the University
Handbook and Calendar) we decided that a bit of investigative journalism was
• Demonstrated fluency in English
No-one at the Guild had much experience in investigative
journalism, however, we thought that the best way to find out about the A.B.C.
and whether the misrepresentation of Murdoch had had any effect was to go and
speak to the students enrolled there.
We were confronted by a wall of silence. Everyone seemed too scared to speak.
Students who say "1 can't say anything, ask someone else" arouse a great deal of
interest. Students are much better known for saying lots, and the opportunity to
get quoted in the media brings the average student out of the woodwork faster
than pre-released exam questions.
One word that did catch our ears was "deportation". Now we (like you, no
doubt) thought that deportation was the realm of the Government. Specifically
the Department of Immigration. However, all the students we saw at A.B.C. were
full fee-paying overseas students so we decided to press on. The picture we
began to build up was not a pretty one. It involved allegations of threats and
intimidation to hide what were serious claims of misrepresentation that in our
opinion amounted to a rip-off of a small group of people who had little or no
protection under Australian law (or the law of anyone else for that matter).
To gain the confidence of the
A.B.C. students, we had to guarantee their anonymity. In return, we were
supplied with sworn statements which supported the allegations which had been
made. All the accusations which follow were made in statements sworn before a
J.P. or witnessed by at least one prominent member of the community. We do not
say they are true, truth is decided by a jury. However, the major complaints
were attested to by all the students who made statements.
All the students reported that they were recruited, in
Asia, by representatives of a company called "Inter-Ed". These representatives
claimed to be the agents for "Australian Business College", located in Perth
with affiliate colleges in Sydney and Melbourne. The minimum cost for any course
was $A4950.00, however, a lot was promised for this money.
The following are common complaints that are included in an internal
government department report on the A.B.C. This document has not been made
public. The bold type in the following are direct quotes from this document and
the section that follows is based on the declarations of the students whose
signed depositions we managed to collect, and our own investigations.
1) The various diploma courses are recognised by Australian, U.K. and U.S.A.
Problems of the Evans advertising of the 1980s
Diploma and degree courses which are recognised by
universities are recognised publicly in the regulations of the university.
Neither of the two universities in Perth and neither of the two Colleges of
Advanced Education in Perth include an A.B.C. diploma as being included in their
entrance requirements. We did not check outside of Perth, we considered it an
unnecessary expense. The statement made is quite simply UNTRUE.
2) Some courses and subjects entitle students to exemptions in further tertiary courses.
The students allege that they were informed that on completion of their A.B.C. diploma they would receive four credit points at an Australian
university. The A.B.C. had actually asked for such exemptions for their students
from Murdoch. The reply (dated 1lth June, 1987) from Murdoch includes the
statement: "We would not be prepared to award any credit or exemptions towards
any of the university's degrees to graduates of the College". After the A.B.C.
approached one of our professors in a bit of backdoor lobbying, the university
responded with a similar statement.
3) Facilities on Campus
a) Library b) Common Room c) Sports Ground d) Accommodation -- student hostel
-- Including meals.
Specifically, the students claim that they were shown photographs which were said to be of the "Campus" of A.B.C. They claim that on arrival in Perth they recognised:
a) The library to be the Alexander Turnbull Library. b) The sports ground to be the W.A.C.A. c) The 'walkways' to be the Hay Street Mall.
The picture of the main campus shows a multi-storey building. The reality is that A.B.C. leases three* floors of the National Mutual Building. [* two floors was the correct number -- Reformers' Club]
4. Employment. Assistance will be given by the College for students to find employment. They can earn $8 per hour weekdays; $24 per hour, weekends.
You can make up your own mind about the wage rates. If you do know of reputable businesses offering part-time weekend work paying $24.00 per hour,
can you please let the Guild know. The students further allege that when they
approached the college in Perth they were informed "we are not an employment
agency", and no help was provided.
The students claim that when they were recruited they were informed that four computer languages were taught a) basic, b) fortran c) Cobol d) Pascal. On arrival in Perth they discovered that only Basic was taught. In Asia they claim that they were informed that they could readily transfer from Perth to Sydney to Melbourne and that "it is a good way to see the country". When they attempted to transfer to Sydney to take other computer courses they were informed that there was a transfer fee of $1200.00. (They claim that they discovered subsequently that the desired courses were not available at Sydney either.)
WHY THE SILENCE
If the following allegations are true then they amount to the most damning of all the statements.
The students claim that when they became aware that what they were promised was not what they were going to get, they attempted to approach
ex-Democrat Senator Jack Evans who heads the College. Most claimed that they
were unable to see Jack personally or Sue Watson (the registrar) to voice their
They claim that they were subsequently contacted and informed that if there were any complaints they would be considered troublemakers and expelled from the College (without any refunds). This would render their student visa invalid and
they would be deported. If these allegations are true they represent a gross
misuse of the system which was designed to educate -- not enforce silence.
Problems of Australian Business College
The saddest aspect of all this is
that the very large majority of the students had qualifications sufficient for
them to enter one of the four tertiary institutions in W.A. Many have now done
Belatedly, the Government is introducing controls (see box). In the
meantime the reputation of Australia has been subject to attack and the
reputation of our own institution has been used for financial gain by a business
whose activities are at best questionable.
P.S. Full credit must go to our University who, when informed of the claimed links, immediately took action. The thanks of the students and potential
students of A.B.C. go out to the only body concerned in these allegations that
has acted promptly to ensure that integrity is maintained.
During the politically "heady" days of the late '60s and early '70s Australia saw the birth of a new political party. Formed by Senator Don Chipp after he left the inner circles of the Liberal Party, the Democrats promised to take the
centre ground in Australian politics.
In W.A. the loudest spokesperson for the fledgling party was Jack Evans. Jack stumped the state calling at every opportunity that the Democrats would "Keep the bastards honest". The cry was heard and Jack found himself Senator Jack
Evans, Democrat Senator for Western Australia.
Copyright © 1988, 1997 of original material reserved by the owner/s.
Problems of the Evans advertising of the 1980s
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