“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