Youth Minister Kate Ellis has announced a ‘consultation’ on the impact of voluntary student unionism. There is a discussion paper available here.

With three weeks to get submissions in, it sounds like the government wants its views confirmed rather than informed. The fun here will be watching all the players in this dispute trying to come up with coherent justifications for their position.

Before the election, Labor’s then shadow education minister Stephen Smith said:

The key thing is making sure the services that have traditionally been sustained by the student groups are there for all students to enjoy into the future: childcare, sport and rec facilities and the like. ..[it is] the responsibility of the National Government and the universities to sustain those services. Those services are currently withering and dwindling on the vine. We will not allow that to occur.

But if the government isn’t offering universities any extra money, that can only be done by taking money away from education or research activities. And why should university students be entitled to childcare assistance not available to the general population? To the extent that student union provided childcare ever made sense, that was before it started raining cash on almost anyone who decided to reproduce. And will Labor’s higher education ‘revolution’ really begin on the sporting field?
Continue reading “Post-VSU”