Page 1171 - Week 04 - Thursday, 17 March 2005

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . .

MR SPEAKER: Continue, Ms Gallagher.

MS GALLAGHER: Thank you, Mr Speaker. We all know what Mrs Dunne thinks about student unions. We have heard quite a lot about her performance at ANU recently. You have been quite clear, Mrs Dunne, about your feelings about student unions. From what I understand, they were offensive. It is no wonder you do not want to hear the answer to the question. You want to waste my time.

The types of programs under threat because of voluntary student union legislation include:

access to assistance with academic appeals;

advocacy against imposition of fees and charges by university administrations;

welfare services;

cost of textbooks and second-hand textbook sales;

employment services;

free legal advice;

sports facilities, such as gym membership and university games.

I know that Mr Pratt and Mr Stefaniak could not possibly support games. They support compulsory physical education. Other programs under threat include:

support for equity and anti-discrimination services;

subsidised food;

support for student clubs and societies;

cultural events like campus o-weeks, band nights and festivals; and

funding for international student support and cultural events.

The vice-chancellors are saying that this attack on student unions threatens the $6 billion international student industry in Australia. I know that Mr Mulcahy will be trotting up to Parliament House to argue against that aspect of this legislation.

Dr Nelson has used the Western Australian experience. He says, “Look, this happened in WA and everything was all right.” Last night, on the 7.30 Report, he said, “The experience in Western Australia, where voluntary student unionism like this was introduced in 1994, was that these services not only survived, in many cases they actually flourished.”

If we look at Curtin University, Edith Cowan University, Murdoch University and the University of Western Australia, every aspect of their student services was reduced or discontinued. These services included a program of cultural events, women’s rooms, weekly campus newsletters, a women’s department, an environment department—surely Mrs Dunne would not support the scrapping of an environment department—a disabled students department—I know that is close to Mrs Burke’s heart; she would not support that—and a sexuality department. We all know those opposite would be supportive of seeing a sexuality department continue. Other services to go included sport, library, subsidised catering on campus—

MR SPEAKER: The minister’s time has expired.

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . .