After a savage summer of devastating fires, universities, society and even some Australian states have recognised that the country needs a social and economic framework dedicated to the conditions of habitability - so how might the imperatives of climate change remake the social contract for universities in the 21st century?
COVID-19 has not only shown that public goods are the key to well being and health, but it has revealed that the consent of populations and their willingness to participate in collective action is just as crucial to effecting transformation as is expertise.
What does that mean for universities and their purpose in the 21st century?
What new set of obligations and expectations will students face?
And what should we be asking of our institutions as we confront the implications of climate?
These are the questions the sector should be asking as we face lengthening months and possibly years in which the world of higher education in Australia, and the lives of all those who rely on it, is likely to grow more precarious rather than less.