Senate debates

Thursday, 25 September 2008

Voluntary Student Unionism

9:39 am

Photo of Joe LudwigJoe Ludwig (Queensland, Australian Labor Party, Manager of Government Business in the Senate) Share this | Hansard source

by leave—The government’s consultations on VSU have supported our view that this policy has had a substantial negative impact for students and the higher education sector. The Rudd government is committed to ensure that university students have access to vital campus services and amenities including child care, health care, counselling and sporting facilities as well as a democratic representation advocacy.

We have no plans to reinstate compulsory student unionism and will not be returning to the hefty upfront fees that the previous government allowed to exist at some universities. There has been a range of alternative solutions put forward by the sector but no consensus. We want to provide a sustainable and robust solution to address the ongoing costs of student services, amenities and representation. The government will of course not be rushed on this and is undertaking a proper process to ensure it gets the policy right. In the interim, we have provided some additional support for student amenities and services through the $500 million better universities renewal funding and $23.9 million in additional funding to increase child care assistance for parents who are studying at university.

Question put:

That the motion (Senator Hanson-Young’s) be agreed to.

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