The internationalisation of Australian higher education during the 1980s was largely a response to what was perceived as an economic imperative: the need to create an export culture. As a policy initiative, the response has been remarkably successful with Australian higher education institutions attracting a significant number of overseas students, particularly from the Asian region. Yet this economic policy context has often obscured the necessity to provide for overseas students in a way that is consistent with the liberal democratic values that are so much part of the culture of Australian universities. This paper argues that those values should be reasserted so that overseas students are regarded not so much as the end products of a business transaction but as individuals with real needs and concerns that must be addressed. Copyright © 1995 Taylor & Francis.