Archive for December 17th, 2010

DEEWR gaffe in incoming government brief

Perhaps because departments know that incoming government briefs are subject to FoI they are mostly pretty uninteresting. DEEWR’s is largely a bland summary of current policy.

But there was one small gaffe that amused me. Among the ‘fronts’ on which the Department is promising ‘effort’:

‘drafting and introducing legislation to enable compulsory student union fees’

The government’s language has otherwise emphasised student ‘services’ and ‘amenities’ rather than student unions. In introducing the latest bill to Parliament, Peter Garrett said:

Let me be clear—the bill is not a return to compulsory student unionism.

The truth is somewhere in between. Under the bill, there need not be a student union. But there is nothing stopping a university from funding one, and in draft guidelines there are requirements that there be democratically elected student representatives, that universities provide resources to these representatives, and consult them on use of the amenities fee.
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Out of the incoming government brief, the media picked up on a point I made back in August , that there would be a $20 billion plus price tag to the Green promise to abolish student tuition fees and write of the HELP debt. Fortunately this insanity will be ignored by the ALP.