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Voluntary Student Union Bill/Act

Discussion in 'General Motorcycling Discussion' started by mjt57, Dec 11, 2005.

  1. I've been reading about the VSU bill that was passed in Federal Parliament this week. I've also been reading various forums and what I would probably describe as the polarised views of the bill and what it will or won't do for students.

    I know that there are a few uni students here, former uni students and some such as Moike, Stewey T and Tony E who work at the various campuses. So, from your guys' perspective, is this a good or bad thing? Are SUs vehicles to push either left wing or right wing ideologies, or do they provide genuine and useful student services? Or are they a combination of all things?

  2. I know i got very very cheap dental service and from what I understand welfare and childminding facilities were a few of the services provided at a minimum fee for students directly because of the union fees.
    It has nothing to do with politics and more to do with looking after student needs.
    This was at LaTrobe university.
    Student unions were always democratically elected anyways.
  3. is uni disney land or is a part of the education system that is supposed to be educating youth to join the real world?

    union fees arent compulsary in the real world.
    I dont and wont belong to a union (ANF or HACSU)
    as my unions are only there to support the upper escilon on nursing and dont give a rats about registered Nurses (Div 2) , but will sure go out of there way for Nurse Unit mangers and management.

    10 years ago roughly these unions tried to disband Div 2 Registered Nurses and wanted to Place pCA's ( personal care assistants ) into Hospitals.

    They will never get my support until they look after the working class.
  4. I think that the real issue was the word "Union".

    The fees were more like a form of social security tax. They went to providing services that all students could benefit from. In principle it really isn't any different to what the governments do. They "tax" you, and provide services in return.

    Now where it gets gnarly is when we starting talking about corruption. For sure, there have been corrupt student union governing bodies. When I went to the University of Melbourne, at the time, we had one of the most corrupt student union bodies in the University's history running the show. These guys were taking student funded junkets, catching not just taxis, but limosine taxis 3kms down the road to eat out at expensive restaurants.

    When the feds came in (has to be federal police because universities are federal institutions) they got word and were literally caught with their hands in the paper shredders trying to get rid of the evidence.

    Okay, so that's a clearly bad side to it, but corruption is an issue in government too. We all know that it is.

    The real question is whether or not the benefits are seen to be getting to the students, and on the whole in my experience, they were. Not all uni students come from wealthy families with money coming out their arses. The student union fees went to assisting those who truly needed a hand, and overall went into the betterment of our society. Poorer students have trouble affording the basic services, and food, required to sustain themselves through university. When they graduate though, they typically go into higher paying jobs than average, and contribute immensely more to the public taxation purse, rather than struggling to the point of dropping out, and never realising their potential.

    At its heart, this bill is really about communal socialism vs user-pays capitalism. The liberal party has shown where they would like to take this country. Power to the rich, screw the poor. The universities will, and in a sense always have since they are the breeding grounds of many of our politicians, serve as a microcosmic social experiment to larger plans.
  5. Student unions have nothing to do with employee unions. Totally different animal.

    Student unions are there to provide services to students.

    As Cathar noted the word "Union" is working against them.

    The modern "liberal" party has always opossed student unions, because they believe it is a starting point for Labour polititions.

    The banning has nothing to do with anthing they say, rather it is purley political.
  6. excuse me, but at sydney uni i paid $535 a year for smoething i did not get anything out of. i agree with it being voluntary.......
  7. Compulsory unionism, even if the organisation distances itself from the obvious conotations of the word, is not legal in this country, and the Universities have been flouting this situation for far too long.
    The Government is happy to fund student facilities for those who wish to use them, but it is not happy to have every student, regardless of means or political persuasion, forced to pay into a compulsory union, whose actions and disbursement of the money is not open and transparent, and is always directed into opposition to democracy, no matter what the persuasion of the Government of the day.
  8. Never bought food at the cafeteria?
    Never attended any on campus functions (movies, concerts, etc)?
    Never visited a subsidised doctor/dentist?
    Never played any sports on campus, attended a gym, or engaged in any sporting activity?
    Never used the student union funded casual library?
    Never used a bike rack?
    Never sat on any of the chairs and tables around the student union building?

    Sure. One can go through University and totally avoid the benefits and services that the student union fees provide, however sometimes people can also be quite oblivious to the services that they are using, without even realising it.
  9. Not only that, but nice compassion for your less fortunate fellow students. Tax is compulsory because it benefits society as a whole. Student Union fees are the same thing. One day you might need them, often you will only use a portion, but they are there for everybody’s benefit no matter what circumstances they are in.
  10. The unions were their own worst enemy - for every campus service people could name, you can throw back examples of waste, corruption and political lobbying. The Melb Uni union (which oversaw a budget of $9 million from fees) paid for protestors to go to detention centres, published anti-govt literature etc. As a student, the compulsory fee was a huge expense to me at the start of the year, piled on top of books etc.

    Like any sort of socialised system, the food they provided was also complete garbage. The "subsidised" canteen lost money for years, until they ripped it out and allowed small business in - result - same prices, better food etc.
  11. Agree SilverFox, the Melb Unit student union, as I said, was a pretty corrupt organisation, a veritable bed of cronyism and nepotism.

    The corruption and waste are the worst aspects of it, but again, this is true of most any governing body. For the ruling federal party to tear down one system for its faults, while presiding over the same faults themselves, smacks of political hypocrisy.

    The services they do provide are essential for many students though. Where does the money come from now? Who is now responsible for governing the funds?
  12. None of that alters the fact that it is illegal to force workers in any environment into union membership as a compuslory condition of employment. The dismantling of this anomoly and the supply of cash subsidies to universities to fund essential services breaks the blackmailing nexus between services and the power of the union, which many students found and find offensive, not just one who've posted in this thread.
  13. I guess we'll all just have to see how the new system pans out then.

    I saw both the good sides and definitely was not blind to the bad sides with the old system. Call me a fence sitter if you will. Every system has two sides.

    Only time will tell whether or not the rhetoric is fulfilled.
  14. I haven't seen the text of the Bill (now Act) but I know there is "transition" funding in place. Being administered by a non-partisan body (i.e. what the public service is supposed to be) would be the best option.

    It is similar to when Kennett abolished many of the local councils and replaced them with executive bodies. Some people were so much happier with the service provided that they voted to keep the bodies in place rather than go back to petty council corruption and politics.

    Some of the services may be necessary, others are just further subsidies for already wealthy students. A good example is sporting clubs. Many other local sporting clubs manage to survive on fund raising, subscription etc - what makes uni clubs so special that they need every other student (including the poor ones) to subsidies their club? You want to play cricket? Good luck and have fun, but don't expect me to pay for it - I am busy working and studying.

    (Edit - just to be clear, I certainly wasn't trying to have a go at anyone in this thread in my last paragraph, just speaking rhetorically)
  15. I've worked as a computer hardware supplier to a major Uni and my observation was that when they wanted something, they always had the money for it. When many of my customers were making do in private enterprise with computers and peripherals that were 4 - 6 years old, the uni was already onto its second generation of LCD monitors and colour laser printers.......
  16. I don't have a problem with student unions, they do provide some valuable services - however some of the money does get misspent so contributions should be voluntary and information on just where the money goes should be made available. I was fine with paying to support services for students, even those I didn't use, but I did object to my money being used to support protests (especially if they conflicted with my own views) and providing the head of the union with exclusive use of a new car (which included private use).
  18. Student unions do provide valuable services to students and to enhance university life.

    Its been a long time since I was at uni but I did use some of the services... some examples.

    I didn't live on campus I used to eat lunch at the canteen (for less than the local take away food places).

    We used to play table tennis on the tables in the recreation area next to the canteen (sometimes one needs some stress relief from studying, and it was cheaper than going to the pub... try slamming a ping pong ball sometime if you don't believe me).

    Lots of the outside tables and chairs (good for studying at for us non resident students, good for eating at on those days I brought lunch).

    Extra funding for the library was provided (again very useful for all).

    Sure I didn't use everything... but just what the food and tables/chairs and libary services got me was worth more than what I paid in student union fees.

    I suppose we had a less corrupt student union than it seems Melbourne's was!

    Who would provide funding for these sorts of things otherwise? The government certainly aren't going to increase funding to match the loss of this revenue stream.

    And yes I can understand where people are complaining about calling it a 'union'... and to be honest it's probably a poor choice of naming.
  19. So what do you think about the nurse union who did this

    "the ad shows nurses as "sex objects, rather than highly educated, skilled professionals" and that nurses "including the 8% who are male" will find it offensive."

    the outfit got banned :(
  20. Actually, yes they are, that was part of the legislation that was passed, I believe the figure is $80 million. The claim that this is well short of what the union was getting is balanced by the fact that much of that money was being spent IN ALL UNIS on frivolous, and perhaps it could even be said, seditious projects, such as funding protestors to camp out at Pine Gap and destroy perimeter fences and assault police.