Page 3286 - Week 09 - Tuesday, 18 August 2009

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Even just yesterday a friend told me that they were now in favour of VSU because the university world did not fall apart as the Labor stooges warned that it would in 2005. Labor had used scare tactics to warn people about the tragedies that would come in post-VSU. Well, they did not eventuate and many people that perhaps were somewhat sceptical have appreciated the freedom and extra money they have enjoyed over recent years and are now advocates of VSU.

Good student services not only survived but thrive under VSU because they are popular with students. The only services provided by compulsory student unionism are those popular with student union leaders. It is a Young Labor and Labor students’ slush fund.

There are numerous examples of extravagant and reckless spending and corruption under the old regime of compulsory student unionism. There was, for example, the effigy of the then Prime Minister, John Howard, at the ANU market day in 2004 for anyone who wanted to take a hit. In Victoria there was the “Bomb the White House” stickers produced at Monash University. They are just a couple of examples of the many distasteful political acts of Labor student hacks funded by compulsory student union revenue.

In addition to the inequity to local students, a growing number of part time and external students in Australia who do not even get the opportunity to use union services are severely affected. It is nonsensical that they are charged for these services. Students must balance the demands of buying text books, paying for rent, paying for food, parking, et cetera. A new tax that goes towards sporting, cultural, welfare or so-called advocacy would do nothing to help students meet these basic essential needs.

Senator Fielding is absolutely right when he says the bill is morally flawed because it removes a person’s right to choose and it is a tax on the poor. I congratulate him and other senators for voting down this legislation. I would like to congratulate Alex Butterworth, the newly elected president of the Australian Liberal Students Federation. Alex coordinated a national campaign of Liberal students to stop this tax. New and innovative campaign methods through the website meant that students from around Australia were able to contact senators and voice the concerns they held about the Rudd government’s proposal.

New media, including Facebook and Twitter, will enable more and more people to re-engage in politics and have their opinion heard. Students, especially in this uncertain economic environment, where job security is lessened and costs are increasing, do not need another tax to pay. The Senate was right to reject the proposed legislation in what is a victory for students in Canberra and across Australia.

The Assembly adjourned at 6.21 pm.

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