Page 809 - Week 02 - Thursday, 12 February 2009
they needed rather than subsidise such poor and distasteful politics. There are many examples from around the country of rorts in university unions that are far too numerous to mention now.
If we entrust young adults to make informed choices about their education, it is both paternalistic and ridiculous to force them to pay money to an organisation that provides services they do not use or, worse, uses funds to engage in political activity they do not agree with. I am not suggesting that students should not express political views, nor am I saying that there is not a demand for some services on campus. What I am saying is that political views are best expressed through freedom of association, and student services are best provided through demand of responsive organisations.
Despite promising before the 2007 federal election not to reintroduce compulsory student unionism, in a pattern all too familiar for the federal Labor government, they have backflipped. Julia Gillard post election said:
We are a government that delivers what we promised. We are delivering our election commitments and in this area we said that there would not be a return to compulsory student unionism.
It is another on the long list of broken Rudd promises. Yesterday, the federal Minister for Youth moved legislation in the House of Representatives that would allow universities from 1 July 2009 to set a compulsory fee capped at a maximum of $250 indexed annually for the provision of so-called student services. It is a Young Labor slush fund in everything but name.
It does not matter if students cannot afford the charge; it does not matter if students use the services or not; it does not matter if they do not subscribe to Labor ideology. This is a tax for one and all. This is what ALP solidarity is all about. If the federal government gets its way, this will be the final year that students will not be charged unfair student taxes. I encourage all those concerned about this unfair tax to visit www.stopstudenttaxes.com and sign their online petition and join the online groups rallying against the tax. I encourage everyone to write to senators urging them to support freedom of association.
National Multicultural Festival
MR DOSZPOT (Brindabella) (5:07): I rise this evening in the adjournment debate to praise the organisation of the multicultural festival gala dinner, which was held last night at the Hellenic Club. Sam Wong and members of the Canberra Multicultural Community Forum were the driving force behind the event, and I would like to offer them my congratulations. I am sure that if Mr Hargreaves were here he would agree with me that last night—he was resplendent in his red bow tie—would also congratulate the CMFC. I must also make mention of my colleagues who were able to give up their time and attend last night’s event—Mr Seselja and Mr Coe. I thank you both for sharing in this wonderful evening.
The theme of last night’s event was red hot Latin nights. As this suggests, there was a distinct South American flavour to the entertainment and dress code. I would like to