Who do The NUS represent? It’s not me

belmonteThis past week I had the ‘honour’ of attending the National Conference of the National Union of Students (NUS)—the self-appointed ‘peak body’ of tertiary students.

Following this conference, one thing is very clear: the NUS does not represent the interests of students. It is insular, illiberal, and irrelevant to students. As a result, it is dying.

The NUS is nothing more than a training ground of hard-core Labor -Left student politicians. Some of whom have been attending the conference for almost a decade. These people purport to represent a majority of students from their campus. In reality, it is doubtful whether most students are even aware that an election had taken place.

Most delegates will one day ascend to the inner circle of trade unions and the Labor Party. Like the Labor Party, NUS is divided into heavily mechanised factions where individuals have little autonomy. It is disappointing that within this system delegates are deprived of the opportunity to fulfil their primary purpose for which they were elected: to represent the students of their university campus; and instead are expected to toe the factional line, often on motions that are of little relevance to the mainstream student population.

Factional bosses seize hundreds of votes as proxies. Those who vote against their faction on any motion are subject to a tirade of verbal abuse, physical threat, and even expulsion.

Come voting time for office bearers and executive positions, many delegates are again denied their own vote and these same factional bosses fill in thousands of ballot papers. The process is unrepresentative, and wholly undemocratic. Shady backroom deals between factions are the norm for national positions.

This behaviour may sound shocking, but unfortunately it is what we have come to expect of the Labor Union movement, even one run by and purporting to represent the interest of all students.

What was truly shocking was just how illiberal and bigoted these self-styled progressives could be to opposing ideas. The reality they live in is a different one to you and I. It is a reality where all whites are racist, all men are rapists, and all Jews are Nazi’s. These were just some of the disgusting and bigoted themes to be debated during the conference to almost unanimous agreement. Continue reading

“National” Union of Students: A National Disgrace

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University of Western Australia Student Rebecca Lawrence discusses how the Australian National Union of Students fails students – and is in the process of destroying itself:

I have always been outspoken about my views on the National Union of Students. The organisation is neither national nor united, and certainly doesn’t represent the best interests of students. It is no secret that I, along with most ordinary students in this country, believe that university student unionists have no right pay tens of thousands of other students’ dollars to the NUS every year in affiliation fees, much less pay for their own flights and accommodation on junkets several times a year. Yet, year after year, our voices go seemingly unheard and the NUS marches forward, as deaf to the concerns of ordinary students as ever, just as lefty-charged and anti-democracy as its predecessor was until the day it died (the Australian Union of Students, which dissolved under the leadership of 1983 President Julia Gillard due to uncontrollable levels of debt, disunity and corruption).

Or does it? Despite what one would expect from a NATIONAL Union of Students, the NUS only managed to achieve an affiliation rate of around 50% this year – of Australia’s 39 universities, only 20 affiliated to NUS in 2014 (not one university in Queensland affiliated). As the NUS’ income is almost solely dependent upon the money it collects in affiliation fees, this meant that the Union racked up a deficit of over $95,000 over the last 12 months. A leaked audit shows that the deficit over the last three years amounted to $366,360. Unsurprising as this is (the Union is run by Labor students), this fact should come as a grave concern to all students, who are forced to pay for the NUS’ spending through their compulsory student union fees (the Student Services and Amenities Fee, or SSAF – around $280 per year, per student). Continue reading