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Government to legislate for voluntary student unionism.

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Media Release

The Hon Dr David Kemp, MP

Minister for Education, Training and Youth Affairs



21 December 1998

The Government will introduce legislation in 1999 to guarantee freedom of association on Australia’s university campuses, the Minister for Education, Training and Youth Affairs, Dr David Kemp announced today.

"All citizens, including students, should be free to choose whether or not they belong to an association," said Dr Kemp.

"University students on most Australian campuses are currently required to join student associations whether they want to or not. The Government will legislate to ensure that all students have the same freedoms on campus that they have off campus," said Dr Kemp.

The legislation will ensure that university students have the right to choose whether they wish to join a student association and pay union fees. Universities will be able to levy fees directly related to the provision of educational services.

"The legislation will give students more freedom to choose how they use their money. Some students may decide that they are better off investing more in their education than spending compulsorily on the student association," said Dr Kemp.

University Unions or Guilds that require compulsory membership currently charge annual fees ranging from around $180 to $350.

Voluntary membership of student unions will see student associations become more dynamic and responsive to the needs of students.

The Government’s voluntary student unionism legislation will honour a long standing Coalition commitment, most recently made during the 1998 election.

For further information: Samantha Herron 02 6277 7460 or 0412 639 754