University of Sydney staff, student groups and alumni voiced their opposition to the government’s proposed education reforms at a Sydney Town Hall meeting on August 25. Twenty-six speakers addressed the proposed fee deregulation. University of Sydney Union board director Edward McMahon put forward an informal motion calling on all university bodies to campaign against deregulation. “These cuts and reforms are being inflicted, ironically, upon my generation by the people who benefited from the more enlightened education policies of yesteryear,” McMahon said.
Progressive activists are concerned about reported unprincipled deal-making in the upcoming elections for the new University of Sydney Student Representative Council. The Sydney University student newspaper Honi Soit reported the Socialist Alternative Sydney University club had decided to support the ALP presidential candidate over the activist Grassroots presidential candidate in the upcoming elections.
The Students for Women Only Services Group held a vigil in Sydney on July 24 to protest against the recent decision to defund specialist women’s and children’s refuge centres in NSW. The vigil was attended by about 300 people. Speakers included Asian Australian Alliance convener Daphne Lowe Kelley, United Muslim Women Association CEO Maha Abdo, NSW Greens MLC Mehreen Faruqi and Labor MLC Sophie Cotsis.
The Feminist Collective and newly-formed group the No Shelter Collective held a meeting at the Newtown Neighbourhood Centre on July 16 to address the NSW state government’s plans to defund key women and children’s refuges across the state. About 130 people came to hear about government plans to defund around 80 specialist refuges, which could potentially force many women and children’s refuges to shut down, or be handed over to be run by private organisations. Many women’s refuges have already been shut down or are under the process of being handed over.