Oct 14, 2005

VSU Delayed: Minister’s Boyhood Dream Shattered by Barnaby

VSU DELAYED: Minister’s Boyhood Dream Shattered by Barnaby

MEDIA RELEASE – ANTHOY ALBANESE MP 14 October 2005

The Howard government has been forced to delay its Voluntary Student Unionism legislation due to opposition within its own ranks.

Minister Nelson’s extreme attacks on student services have been stifled by Senator Barnaby Joyce and his National Party colleagues.

It is time the Minister listened to reason rather than pandering to the fringe and extreme elements within his own party and withdraw this legislation.

The delay of this legislation is an enormous victory for university students. This is a victory for student organisations, regional communities, sporting groups and for the arts community.

VSU would destroy student organisations and leave campuses across the country with a crippling $161 million black hole.

VSU would destroy our universities, international reputation and competitiveness.

VSU would destroy our universities ability to market themselves to international students. The vibrant campus culture and saleable extracurricular activities currently available on Australian campuses would simply no longer exist under VSU.

VSU is not about choice – it actually takes choices away.

This government is obsessed with silencing activity by community organisations. The Minster’s ideological obsession with VSU is just another example of the government seeking to silence its dissenters.

Student organisations are not replaceable. Universities are unable to provide students with essential independent advocacy and advice.

The minister should withdraw this legislation.