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Topic Date User
Damn VSU 18-Mar-2005 At 6:53:51 PM LittleJames
One of the more interesting arguments I've heard against VSU is this:

I pay compulsory tax, which is then distributed in ways that I have effectively no control over. I don't want my tax dollars funding the war in Iraq, or the maintenance of the Woomera detention centre - but I have no way of stopping that. So by Nelson's logic, I shouldn't be forced to pay tax.

Total bullshit, of course, but you see my point.

There are, undeniably, a lot of problems with the student union structure at the moment. And VSU will, in a way, fix these - in the same way that carpet-bombing your house would probably fix the mosquito buzzing around your ear. A review of current union structures with a view to more transparency and accountability would be a far more lucid approach.

While I don't subscribe to the "Politicians are oppressing unions because they're centres of non-fascist free speech!" conspiracy theories that a lot of the pinko arts students are muttering about (joke! I'm sure there are pinko engineers too), I think the drive for VSU is a fairly interesting demonstration of multi-portfolio government hypocrisy. A few months ago we were hearing horror stories from ministers about how many students suffer depression and are unable to cope with their debt - well, news for you guys, an extra $200 a year and the loss of uni counselling services is not going to help that! Not to mention the fact that the union-funded sporting clubs in particular have a large effect on the general health and wellbeing of students.

Think about this: students are already committing themselves to large HECS debts, in many cases for degrees without much hope of serious financial return (Visual Arts students, I'm looking at you). If you introduce VSU, you run the risk of making unis into significantly less pleasant and easy places to be at. This will inevitably translate into fewer and fewer students going to universities.

"Hooray!" I hear people saying. "They'll go out, get apprenticeships, and I'll finally be able to get a plumber!" But thirty years down the track, you think the economy will be in a good position because there's not enough engineers, programmers, research scientists, accountants, etc? You think the Aussie high-tech, scientific, and industrial sectors will be worth anything as they lag further and further behind the rest of the world, particularly Asian countries that actually value higher education? Think again. I hate to use a slippery-slide argument, but it bears considering.

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