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SCU Response to Voluntary Student Unionism Legislation

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Published
16 March 2005
Federal legislation to prevent compulsory student unionism at Australian universities was disappointing and ignored recommendations from peak bodies involved in the higher education sector, the Vice-Chancellor at Southern Cross University, Professor Paul Clark said today.

Under the legislation proposed by the Federal Education Minister Brendan Nelson and introduced to Federal Parliament today, universities would face large fines if they endeavoured to circumvent the ban on compulsory student union fees.

“The introduction of this legislation is disappointing given advice from the Australian Vice-Chancellors Committee and the National Union of Students, with both organisations steadfastly opposing such a move,” Professor Clark said.

At the heart of the issue is the range of services supported by student union fees.

“At Southern Cross University, services contribute to the quality of life for students, the quality of the learning experience and they also provide a source of employment which is very important to students at a regional university”, said Professor Clark.

Services as diverse as student accident insurance, the safety shuttle bus, childcare subsidies, cultural and sporting clubs, student advocacy, are all supported by student union fees.

If the legislation is adopted, then changes would take effect next year.

For further information, contact Brigid Veale Media Liaison Officer on 66593006 mobile 0439 680748.

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