correspondent fletcher o’leary
You, as a human being, are entitled to fulfil your potential. And it is the responsibility of the Government to provide all the support it can for this.
that. Free education was fought for, and it was won, and then it was defended from the Government that first used the term ‘Razor Gang’ to describe its budget committee, the Fraser Government. HECS was opposed by massive student demonstrations and occupations when it was first proposed: thousands upon thousands of students marching down King William to demand that education remain free. HECS increases were opposed across the country. At the University of Adelaide, the University Council that voted to approve the increases could not meet on University grounds: it simply was not safe for them. The reason why there is a glass security door inside the Wills Building? Student occupations became too much of a hazard. Over at the University of South Australia, a single vote on their council approved their fee hike after passionate opposition from the Student President, and the combined student body. Remember that these things are not etched in stone. You can shape the future.
Dare to Struggle, Dare to Win. If you don’t fight, you lose. Want to get more involved? Come along to a meeting, join a protest, get angry and get involved! How about you email the ViceChancellor to tell him that you, a fellow scholar and member of the community, want the University of Adelaide to stand up for equal access to higher education? Students have been meeting on a regular basis to discuss education and possible campaigns against the proposed budget cuts. Lucy Small-Pearce is the Student Representative Council President. Get in contact with her at firstname.lastname@example.org to stay in the loop. Be sure to ‘Like’ the National Union of Students Facebook page to find out about national campaigns by visiting www.facebook.com/ NationalUnionofStudentsAU.
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Chilean Students Win Free Education When Pinochet and the military junta took control of Chile in 1973, killing and torturing thousands of their enemies, they set about instituting one of the first – and harshest – neoliberal regimes ever seen. University education was largely privatised, and the remaining public universities starved of funding. Alongside this, Pinochet’s campaign against the poor – violent attacks and ‘disappearing’ any who challenged working conditions – kept wages as low as possible. This has led to one of the most unequal societies in the world. The wealthy could pay for the best education at private institutions while the poor had no access to support. Chilean students organised against this – first at a few universities and then across the entire country, with hundreds of thousands taking to the street to demand free and equitable education by 2011. In the 2013 Presidential Election, the Socialist Party coalition won decisively on a platform of free and equitable university education within six years.
Quebec Student Strikes The students of Quebec have a long history of defending the right to equitable education – holding strikes every five to six years and winning the majority of disputes with the Government. Up until 1990, Quebec students paid $540 in tuition a year. Since then, various Governments have increased it. In 2011, the Liberal Government announced another fee hike. Student strikes were organised on campuses throughout the province. The Provincial Government passed legislation severely restricting the right to protest, and there were numerous instances of police violence against student strikers. At the 2013 Quebec election, the nationalist Parti Quebecois won government on a pledge of freezing tuition.