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Senate Committee overwhelmed by anti-VSU submissions.

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Senate Committee Overwhelmed

by Anti-VSU Submissions


“Community feeling against the Howard Government’s attempts to destroy student unions has swamped the Senate Educa tion Committee with more than 243 submissions, the vast majority of which are opposed to the Government’s position,” according to Shadow Education Minister, Michael Lee.


“Submissions have come in from all over the country from students,  and even the Malaysian Deputy High Commissioner, vice-chancellors, union managers, university sporting groups, campus clubs and debate supposedly about free speech, the Government controlled committee only allowed 12 groups to be heard at the committee’s only hearing today.


“So far in this debate a huge array of Australians have spoken out against the Government’s voluntary student unionism (VSU) legislation, including:

• at least four federal Coalition backbenchers — Bob Katter, Joanna Gash, Kay Hull and Ian Macfarlane;

•  the Liberal members of the Tasmanian Legislative Assembly;

• the NSW Young Liberals;

• Sir Gerard Brennan, former Chief Justice of the High Court of Australia; and

• the Australian Vice-Chancellors’ Committee,


“Despite this weight of criticism Mr Howard has shown no sign of understanding or caring about the damage his vindictive and destructive legislation would do.


“I hope the intervention of Test Cricket great, Geoff Lawson, may finally get the Prime Minister’s attention.


Mr Lawson told a press conference today that, “There are lots of our current Olympians who have gone through university programs ... or are using the facilities of the universities ... and those facilities just wouldn’t be there if these fees weren’t paid in the past. That’s the kind of issues we’re talking about ... Someone like Michael Slater is another UNSW person who can’t be here because he’s off playing cricket overseas, and Mark Taylor’s another guy who’s gone through that institution, paid his university fees, and benefited from those things.”


7 May 1999


Contact: Michael Lee 02 6277 4221 Parliament House, 0417 277 477 Mobile