Students want a fighting union

October 23, 1996

By Ruth Ratcliffe

BRISBANE — In recent elections at the University of Queensland, Voice, the Whitlam Institute team, won control of the student union from the incumbent Liberal team.

Other tickets included Kathy Newnam and Ruth Ratcliffe on the Resistance ticket; the Labor right's Your Own Union (YOU) ticket; Direction (Liberal Party); The Socialists (Socialist Worker Club); and Change.

The results indicate that students are very concerned about education cuts. The Voice ticket won in part because it made vague noises in opposition to the cuts and was visible at education rallies. YOU and Change received relatively few votes and the Liberals received their lowest vote since the late 1980s.

The overwhelming rejection of clearly right-wing tickets, and groups that aren't prepared to tackle education issues at a national level (Change), reveals that students want a union that actively fights attacks on education.

Voice appears to support "accessible education", but have yet to prove their commitment to campaigning for free tertiary education. Newnam said, "the election results reveal that students are very aware of and understand the need for an organised, mass campaign. Resistance hopes that Voice will take up the fight."

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