In the wake of the National Union of Students' national education conference, held at the University of Sydney on June 30-July 2, student activists around the country have called for rallies to be held in mid August to protest the Coalition government's attacks on affordable tertiary education.
The proposed rallies will have a strong anti-Howard theme to them, aiming to mobilise students in the lead-up to the federal election. Students will be rallying to demand the repeal of the Nelson legislation and the funding of "books not bombs".
The rallies will help to keep education issues in the media spotlight during the federal election campaign.
In NSW, rallies are planned for August 18, with on-campus rallies to take place at universities in the morning. The rally at Sydney University will have particular significance, given the recent decision by the university administration to stop accepting undergraduate enrolments for nursing and eventually shut down the entire faculty.
In Perth, there will also be an action on August 18. Students will meet outside Menzies House, the state Liberal Party headquarters. This will be less than a week before the University of Western Australia senate meets to decide on whether to allow domestic full-fee-paying places.
In Brisbane, the biggest cross-campus education meeting this year has initiated a central rally for August 19. In Victoria, there will also be rallies on August 19. The central rally will be at the State Library in the centre of Melbourne.
[Alexis Vassiley is an activist in the WA Cross Campus Education Network and the University of Western Australia Education Action Network.]
From Green Left Weekly, August 4, 2004.
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