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Thursday, 26 November 2015
Page: 9091

Senator RYAN (VictoriaAssistant Cabinet Secretary) (12:05): Mr Deputy President, I seek leave to make a short statement.

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Leave is granted for one minute.

Senator RYAN: The coalition strongly opposed Labor's repeal of the voluntary student unionism laws passed under the Howard government. For many Liberals, guaranteeing students the basic right to freely associate and ensure they are not forced to join or contribute funds to an organisation merely because they are enrolled students has been a lifelong principle.

While the motivation behind this motion is commendable, it does not reflect the key principle of ensuring freedom of association for all students at all times. This motion supports creating the illusion of voluntary student unionism through the use of campus or institution-wide ballots. However, compelling all students to join and fund an organisation by a ballot of their peers is just as illegitimate on campus as if it happened in a workplace or anywhere else in our community.