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Senator slams Labor student fees.



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Senator the Hon Ian Macdonald Parliamentary Secretary for Northern Australia Liberal Senator for Queensland

MEDIA RELEASE

SENATOR SLAMS LABOR STUDENT FEES

Opposition Spokesman for Northern Australia, Senator Ian Macdonald, has condemned the Rudd Government’s plans to introduce service fees for university students, and called it unionisation by stealth.

“Compulsory student union fees were abolished by the previous Coalition Government, on the principal that no one should be forced to belong to an organisation and that no one should have to pay fees for services that they either didn’t use, or that weren’t being provided in the first place,” Senator Macdonald said.

“The truth is, Student Unions have often been breeding grounds for left-wing politicians.”

“When students were no longer forced to subsidise the activities of a handful of radical student politicians and the unions had to actually offer services if they wanted students to join, many of the unions crumbled because they didn’t actually provide any useful services.”

“Now Labor wants to force students to once again fund their political activities,” Senator Macdonald said.

“Labor is living in the past. The days when students spent all their time at a university campus are gone. In a vast area like Northern Australia, many students study via distance education or work full time and study part-time. Fifteen per cent of James Cook University’s students study remotely. They may rarely if ever step foot on the campus.”

“Even those who do attend the campus, access services and join sporting and other clubs in the wider community. They don’t need or want the university campus to be the sole focus of their lives.”

“This $250 fee to subsidise aspiring Labor politicians hurts those who can least afford to pay it. It is compulsory unionism by stealth,” Senator Macdonald said.

ENDS

4 November 2008

Media Contact: Troy Reeves (07) 4771 3066 BH 0427 960 255 AH