Thursday, March 17

Let's talk about VSU...

... let's talk about you and me.
Let's talk about all the good things,
and the bad things,
that may be...

For those of you who aren't presently a university student, and for those of you who are, and are sadly unaware, the Federal Government announced yesterday the introduction of legislation which will see the end of enforced student unionism.

Student UNIONISM you say? UNIONS? Aren't they the same organisations which see hard working upper middle class small business owners forced to the wall with their militant tactics and protectionist practices that are prohibitive to honest business-people making a fair living?

Ahhh, no. Unions, as you would ordinarily know them, have fuck all to do with the provision of services at a university. I really wonder if this issue would gain any traction in the wider community is student unions weren't called student unions.

The bottom line is that a student union is effectively a collective pool of money, compulsorally contributed to by students of universities. At my university, a fulltime student pays $360 up front (less if you aren't fulltime), which is aptly called a "General Service Fee" - it's a FEE that covers GENERAL SERVICES.

This money is used to fund a raft of services within the university, including, but not limited to: child care, free legal advice, counseling, free accountancy, careers advice, financial assistance, indigenous and ethnic assistance, gymnasiums, clubs and societies, accommodation, student advocacy, and so on...

I want to make my position on this issue clear. I agree, that in all likelihood,
there are misused and misplaced funds within a "Student Union." That goes with every bureaucratic organisation . . . especially governments. One thing is certain, the removal of compulsory contribution to services by students will ensure services which currently, rightfully, assist students to study - will go.

In June the Liberal Federal Government takes control of both houses of parliament, this allows them to design and pass any law they choose, directly exercising the mandate the people of Australia gave them.

Mandate. He he he.

Federal Education, Science, and Training Minister Brendan Nelson released a statement yesterday announcing the new legislation. Let's take a look at the gem it contained...

Nelson: "This is the 21st Century. Union membership should be voluntary and services should not be propped up by the compulsory appropriation of students’ hard earned money...Why is it that a single mother training to be a nurse should pay for the canoeing or mountaineering club when all she wants is a degree?"

Schweeet. Does this mean that I can also opt out of contributing, via my taxes, to vote buying programs such as $600 family assistance grant which turns up...right before a federal election? Does this mean that I can choose not to have my taxes spent on any number of Federal programs which I consider to be needless?

The introduction of Voluntary Student Unionism (VSU) will mean that I don't have to pay $360 at the start of 2006. That's $360 on top of school books, on top of a parking permit, on of everything. I'd LOVE to not have to cough up $360 at the one time of the year that every major bill I have comes at the same time. This is precisely why the majority of students won't pay a voluntary fee.

None of this argument takes HECS into account, which the Federal Government increased by 25% this year. Thanks guys! Oh wait, how much did pay Federal Education, Science, and Training Minister Brendan Nelson pay for his university education?


Nelson, on the John Laws Program today: "Well this is absolutely outrageous. In fact this is the current law at the moment. In fact I had this experience in my Fourth Year of my Medical Degree where I had three part time jobs and I remember going to the Registrar’s office at Flinders in Adelaide and saying “well I don’t want to pay this."

Dude! You never paid a cent for your education asshole!

Anyway, the bottom line is that the VSU race is run, it's over. Student politics, led by random forgettable student presidents, will once again prove itself to the proverbial tits on a bull it has always been.


We're screwed. VSU is here to stay.


Blogger nicole said...

VSU sux.

4:33 PM  

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