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Kemp needs to come clean on VSU



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MEDIA RELEASE

8 April 1998

J j . A U S T R A L IA „/■-

Mark Latham

• Shadow Minister for Education & Youth Affairs

• Member for Werriwa

KEMP NEEDS TO COME CLEAN ON VSU

The Shadow Minister for Education and Youth Affairs, Mark Latham, today called on Dr David Kemp to be honest and up-front with students over his plan to introduce a national system of voluntary student unionism.

“The Minister has sent Departmental officials to universities in at least two States researching this issue. He has received legal advice on the subject, paid for by the Australian taxpayer, which he now refuses to release (see attached answer from Senate Estimates hearings).

“There is no doubt that Dr Kemp has an ideological fixation about student unionism. He wants to replicate at the national level the type of legislation restricting funds to student S unions introduced by the Victorian and Western Australian Coalition Governments.

“The Australian Vice-Chancellors’ Committee has put on record its belief that participation by students in a range of diverse groups such as faculty associations, debating groups and political clubs is beneficial.

“The AVCC representative told a Senate committee in 1996: ‘In every university there are essential services and facilities that are provided for students and they are important to both the social and cultural life o f the universities ... Provision o f these services is not cheap. It is right and proper that the student body, which is the direct beneficiary, should pay for them. ’

“Obviously student unionism is a critical part of campus culture and activities in Australia. It also helps to deal with the free-rider problem in accessing university services, as well as build social capital among students.

“Dr Kemp on this matter is being no more honest or frank with university students than Peter Reith has been on the waterfront. Government by stealth is not good for the relationship between the Commonwealth and Australia’s 630,000 university students”

Contact: Mark Latham 0419 616 987 or (02) 6277 4606 Φ

Parliament House S (02) 6277 4606 Fax (02) 6277 8460 Electorate 8 (02) 4628 3377 Fax (02) 4628 3610 Other Home (02) 4628 8711 Mobile 0419 616 987

EMPLOYMENT, EDUCATION, TRAINING AND YOUTH AFFAIRS

SENATE LEGISLATION COMMITTEE 1997-98 ADDITIONAL ESTIMATES SUPPLEMENTARY HEARING - QUESTIONS ON NOTICE

Programme: 2 - Higher Education 2.1 - Higher Education System

DEETYA Question No. 691/705

Senator Carr asked on 27 February 1998, EE&T Hansard page 128

Question:

Refers to^ Question No 986

(a) Can the Minister please provide the Committee with a copy of the legal advice received from the Attorney General’s office in late 1997, regarding voluntary student unionism that was referred to in the answer to Senate question No 986?

(b) What are the Government’s current plans with regard to the introduction of voluntary student unionism at a national level?

Answer:

(a) The advice received from the Attorney Generals regarding voluntary student unionism is subject to a claim of legal professional privilege, I am not able to provide a copy of this advice as, in my opinion, it would not be in the public interest to do so.

(ib) The Government’s higher education election policy stated that it did not support compulsory student unionism.

In accordance with that policy the Government is considering possible options to prevent compulsory membership of student unions.