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The Forum > Article Comments > The case against compulsory student unionism > Comments

The case against compulsory student unionism : Comments

By Alistair Campbell, published 16/6/2005

Alistair Campbell argues students will be better off under proposed voluntary unionism legislation.

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i heard across the grapevine that there was some liberal "branch stacking" of opinions an ideas. so here is my view. this is a article that was published in the UWS "the Onion" paper. for more VSU opinion peices and other stuff visit www.rcunderground.net. PLUG ASIDE, HERE IS THE ARTICLE:

The crime? The collection of universal student fees.
The punishment. The indirect and gradual destruction of our university.

As many students will know by now, the Howard government is imposing VSU onto all universities nation wide. Philosophically as students we all believe in our democratic rights of freedom of association. This is a philosophical stance that I doubt is not supported by any student. In the ideal world, the philosophical world this ideology is correct, true and valid.
unfortunately we DO NOT live in a ideal world. As many student studying related subjects have realized sometimes our philosophies have to be twisted, bent or adjusted to conform with reality. The Howard government has played with students philosophical positions when attempting to impose VSU. They have euphemistically called it Voluntary student unionism.

Howard has now placed students in a “check” position, Howard has placed us, the students in a catch 22.

Do we adhere to our “perfect world” philosophy, or do we mould it to fit the real world? Our options as students are either:

1) Adhere to our “perfect world” philosophy and await the expected slow death to our universities
Or
2) Change our “perfect world” stance to one that fits in to the real world and support our student unions, because anything other than full, 100% support to our student voice will lead to the inevitable destruction of our universities for future generations. As members of this society it is our duty to protect not only our educational future but the educational future of all Australians.

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Posted by WorldWide, Monday, 20 June 2005 10:35:58 PM
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As students we must realize the dollar we save today will lead to countless costs incurred for ourselves and other students in the future. The Howard government is dangling in front of us the euphemistically tagged, “VSU carrot of freedom”, if we bite it, we have our student voices cut of, and will see the bleeding of a slow death of our universities. Make no mistake about it, VSU is the destruction of a unified voice. It is the first step to the disenfranchising of our future generations. VSU will lead to a majority of full fee paying courses, the closure of courses, the cutting of funding and the destruction of funding to ALL university amenities and services. UWS courses have already been cut, UWS funding has already been slashed and UWS wide HECS has also gone up. Student unions are the only bastion of support that has hindered Brendan Nelson’s and John Howard’s full privatization of universities. What do we do? Do we adhere to our philosophical beliefs of freedom of association for all or do we modify this position to protect our futures? You will be hard pressed to find any sane, tertiary educated student who, when presented with this reality of the situation chooses option 1. for to be unmoving in your beliefs is, in this situation the most selfish position that can be taken.

With prior knowledge of Howard’s intents we should prepare ourselves and say NO! to VSU, because with VSU there is no future, except apathy and segregation.

Tomas Buratovich. UWS student.
Posted by WorldWide, Monday, 20 June 2005 10:36:54 PM
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Sorry, WorldWide, but that's a load of garbage! VSU is not a euphemism, that's exactly what it is VOLUNTARY! The article you posted hysterically postulates "the destruction of universities" under VSU but provides not a shread on evidence or information as to how/why this would be the case.

As for the argument that VSU will disenfranchise students and remove their unified voice. Here's a newsflash, students don't have a unified political voice (even though the rabid lefties in the NUS like to think that they do and claim to speak for all students)! If anything VSU will enfranchise students, no longer will the Union be able to claim to speak on behalf of all students just because they are forced to join it. No longer will students who disagree with the extreme left stance of most student Unions have to subsidise poltical campaigns put on by the NUS. Stdents are smart enough and diverse enough to have their own political views. It is inaccurate and paternalistic in the extreme to suggest that student unions are capable of representing the political views and interests of all students. Lets call a spade a spade here, the NUS is terrified of losing it's captive catchment of funds, once VSU is introduced it will become painfully clear exactly how few students it actually represnts!
Posted by Lubs, Wednesday, 22 June 2005 12:24:41 AM
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ok, how about this then (feel free to take this seriously or not, its voluntary)

how about voluntary voluntray student unionism or voluntary compulsory student unionism?

leave it up to the students within their own university to decide (i get the feeling that both sides are afraid of how they would vote)

i dont know if this is actualy a liberal party ideological stance, i thought that the liberal ideal of small government would preclude them from forcing controlling legislation on universities and would rather leave them the 'liberty' of deciding for themselves.

or mayby not, like allthings in this government pragmatism above idealism, its probably a good way of keeping any opposition disorganised in the future.

i eagerly await those VSU supporters tell us that we shouldnt be allowed to decide wether to have VSU or not.

or is it because big brother is no their side now?
Posted by its not easy being, Thursday, 23 June 2005 2:59:58 PM
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yes, its like, lets outlaw the right for student unions to democratically decide if they want sudent unionsim and then call it VSU...and they think we can't see past this pathetic card trick
Posted by Rainier, Thursday, 23 June 2005 5:16:11 PM
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if what the previous posts are proposing is for the student body of each university to vote on whether or not that uni should have VSU or not (it for all the students to vote, like a student referndum) I say go ahead! I'd bet on the fact that VSU would be voted in by students at most if not all Unis. If what you are proposing is that the UNIONS at each uni decide whether or no that uni should have VSU- how is that fair, Union office holders obviously have a vested interest.

it's no easy being and Rainer, your argument is actually inherently illogical. If you are arguing that a majority of students would vote against VSU then why is VSU a problem! if the majority of students support student unions then when VSU is introduced empirically there should be no change in the status of student unions, all it should do is allow the (according to you) minority of students who don't support student unions not to join (and not to use the services)
Posted by Lubs, Friday, 24 June 2005 11:05:25 AM
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