Education minister Daniel Tehan's university course hikes, funding cuts and attempts to gouge students must be stopped, writes Leo Crnogorcevic.
Fee deregulation will be resurrected this year. This gives education activists that general zombie-slayer feeling any sane human gets from fighting a piece of legislation you thought you had killed already. Last year, fee deregulation was booted out of the Senate, with student boots doing most of the kicking. But it doesn’t want to die and is set to return to parliament, presumably with enough amendments to appeal to the biggest fence sitters.
The University of New South Wales acting vice chancellor Iain Martin cancelled a Town Hall meeting on September 3, organised to brief staff on the University’s response to proposed fee deregulation. UNSW students had planned to protest their exclusion from the meeting. In cancelling the meeting, Martin told staff: “We have been advised this morning by police and security that the meeting was being targeted by protest groups, which we understand were predominately external to UNSW. Our advice is that the intention was to disrupt the Town Hall.”
University of Western Sydney, Bankstown campus. Student protest against course cuts A student general meeting was held at the Bankstown campus of the University of Western Sydney on October 8, as part of the student campaign against the federal government’s $2.7 billion funding cuts to universities across Australia. About 40 students and staff attended, with many speaking out about the impact the cuts will have on their education.
Around Australia, proponents of neoliberalism have led attacks on tertiary education an ideological onslaught against the idea of well-funded public education. In July, Fred Hilmer, vice-chancellor of UNSW and chair of the Group of 8 Universities, a coalition of university managements, called for total fee deregulation and “cutting red tape”.
More than 100 students from the University of Tasmania attended a forum on October 16 to question university administrators over plans to restructure the Faculty of Arts. It was organised by students of the university in response to disquiet over potential changes to degree structures and curricula. This came just a week after the faculty dean, Professor Susan Dodds, announced that the existing 10 departments would be amalgamated into three bigger entities.
At first glance, you might have mistaken London’s packed streets on November 10 for a Mardi Gras carnival. There young faces and large grins, combined with incessant whistle-blowing, trumpet-blasting and drum-beating. All mixed together to form the din of student protest. The noise took shape and all of a sudden burst from the centre of the crowd, picked up by everyone else: “No ifs, no buts, no education cuts” — the main chants of the 50,000 students marching forward from Westminster to the destination of the Milbank headquarters of the Conservative Party.
Out-of-favour Manchester United star Wayne Rooney must look in the papers every morning and think: “How does [Liberal Democrat MP and business secretary in the Tory-Lib Dem coalition] Vince Cable get away with it? “Just like me, a year ago he was a national hero, the embodiment of hope, and now he’s a bumbling fool and revealed as a cheat. But he's allowed to carry on as he pleases and isn’t even substituted. “I want a transfer to the Liberal Democrats.”