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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 4 Hansard (21 April) . . Page.. 1110 ..

MR HUMPHRIES: No. I think there is a very important case for making things compulsory where there is a demonstrated benefit to everybody. If I do not pay rates or taxes, can I be stopped from driving my car on the road? Clearly I cannot. Can I be stopped from being picked up by an ambulance after being knocked over by a car? Clearly I cannot. But there is a difference with universities and services in those places. Why should those services not be provided to people on the basis that they pay for the services voluntarily?

If I am a student at a university and I want to belong to an organisation, voluntary student unionism requires me to be persuaded that the organisation has such a high quality of service that I am going to make the choice to join it because I want to get the services it offers. Let me put what Mr Corbell put in another way. Mr Speaker, why should we not say to students that the services they are getting in a university are services of a high order, a high quality, that they are services which are very effective and do important things for students, and give those students the choice as to whether they wish to purchase those services? Mr Speaker, I think that that is an effective kind of choice to offer.

If, for example, someone were to come up to Mr Corbell in Gungahlin and say, "Mr Corbell, your suburb doesn't have a health centre, it doesn't have a swimming pool and it doesn't have various other services that we think are important to have in Gungahlin. We require you to pay a fee towards those services - whether you use them is quite immaterial - and we are then going to provide those services for you in that suburb" - - -

Mr Corbell: I do that at the moment.

MR HUMPHRIES: No, that does not happen.

Mr Corbell: I pay for services in Gungahlin which I don't use.

MR HUMPHRIES: Mr Corbell already pays his rates. He already pays his taxes. This is on top of his rates and taxes. He is paying his rates and taxes, just as the university student is already paying his fees to the university for the provision of his degree. To go back to the analogy I was just using, we have here the householder in a particular suburb of Canberra who is told that he has to put forward money for providing in his locality a service which he may not use, which might be very badly run, which could be tremendously rorted and be a rip-off, but which he has no choice in providing because someone deems that particular householders in this area must be members of this organisation and provide services through the levying of a compulsory fee on these people.

We would say that that is nonsense. There should be no reason why people should be forced in those circumstances to pay that kind of fee. Yet when they are university students, placed in the context of a tertiary institution, we take a different approach. We say that these people should be required to pay a fee, even if they do not use the service, even if they have a very low opinion of the quality of the service and, because of the

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