Resistance!

In February last year, 39 universities signed up to “Respect. Now. Always”, a campaign to eliminate sexual assault and harassment on campus. But more than a year later, there are no new initiatives in place and students are asking why.

Federal Minister for Education and Training Simon Birmingham has outraged students with his announcement of cuts affecting higher education that will come in the federal budget on May 9. Speculation is rife about the impact the cuts could have on students.

The cuts revolve around a 7.5% increase in university fees. But the reality of the fee hike could be much worse.

In conjunction with the budget’s $2.8 billion in cuts to university funding, universities could be forced to raise student fees by a minimum of 25%.

Pepsico appears to have emerged relatively unscathed from their recent Kendall Jenner advertising debacle, despite receiving strong criticism online.

The YouTube ad featuring the popular model and reality television star was posted on April 5 and was taken down within 24 hours due to a significant backlash.

Although Pepsico has removed the original video, a repost of the ad by YouTuber, Kendall and Kylie, currently has more than 9.5 million views with a dislike rate of 83%.

As the embers cooled in the debris of US President Donald Trump’s 59 Tomahawk missiles fired at Syria, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull ordered an immigration crackdown that includes a new US-style patriot test for those seeking Australian citizenship and the scrapping of 457 foreign worker visas.

About 100 union activists and their supporters rallied and chanted outside Macquarie Tower on April 6 to support the ASU in its campaign to ensure Rape and Domestic Violence Services Australia (RDVSA) is not privatised and is given the necessary funding for its growing work load.

Natalie Lang, ASU NSW and ACT branch secretary, spoke passionately about how the union will continue to fight for funding for the specialist sexual assault and domestic violence counselling service 1800RESPECT.

News Limited’s Geelong Advertiser launched a personal attack on its front page on March 27 against local Geelong Greens secretary and activist Matt Hrkac. The front page read: “Greens red faced. Obscene rant: Party’s Geelong ‘branch secretary’ in shocking foul-mouth tirade after missing out on job”.

The Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC) was originally set up by former Prime Minister John Howard in 2005. Another former Prime Minister Tony Abbott tried but failed to reintroduce it in 2014.

It was the reason Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull called a double dissolution election last year. The result was a Senate willing to pass ABCC legislation, thanks to the likes of Pauline Hanson and Derryn Hinch who voted with the Coalition.

The so called Fair Work Commission made the decision on February 23 to cut Sunday and public holiday penalty rates, affecting nearly 500,000 workers in the retail, hospitality and fast food sectors.

The cuts to public holiday penalty rates will take effect from July 1, however it has not yet been decided when the cuts to Sunday rates will take effect.

A study by student advocacy group End Rape on Campus has revealed the systemic failure of some of Australia’s highest ranking universities to deal with rape and sexual harassment allegations.

Over the past five years, more than 500 complaints of sexual assault — including 145 complaints of rape on campus — were made to the university administrations of several high-profile universities across NSW, ACT, Victoria and WA:.

Of these allegations, End Rape on Campus reported that only six cases — just 1.2% — resulted in the expulsion of the alleged perpetrators.

This year marks 25 years of resistance to the escalating human rights abuses of Australia’s mandatory detention laws. A whole generation has now lived under this policy and are constantly exploring new and inspiring ways of rejecting it.

One area that has not been explored, at least in recent years, and that offers a lot of potential is campaigning for university campuses to become organising spaces, welcome zones and sanctuaries.

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