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OnDitmagazine ― Features

has also thrown his weight behind the Save Union Hall campaign. The man is looking for re-election on March 20 and since leaving the Democrats, he’s been jumping on the bandwagon of any community campaign who’ll take his calls. Fact is, the Save Union Hall lobby might pack a bigger punch than the Australian Democrats put together, but that’s not saying much at all. On January 18, the Adelaide City Council’s Development and Assessment Panel voted unanimously rejected a report recommending the Hall’s demolition. This doesn’t actually mean anything, as the development doesn’t need local government consent. If Adelaide City Council has such an obsession with performance spaces, then why doesn’t it build its own? On November 7, in his regular column in the Sunday Mail, Peter Goers wrote this about me: “Recently, a prominent student unionist at Adelaide University pledged to do nothing to help save Union Hall from the bulldozer. This great advocate of progress described me as "having a bourgeois preoccupation with heritage".” I stand by that statement. Because, in all of this petty drama, there is a distinct absence of what is in the best interest of students. While some get caught up in the debate of how old is old enough that you can’t fart near a building, I care far more about the fact that Little Theatre’s lighting rig is not OH&S compliant. After 18 months of asking the University when they were going to fix it, in December of last year I was told they were getting a quote. Every student performance I have ever seen has been in that space. More than that, while I respect that Scott Theatre needs to be used as an interim lecture theatre during the Union Hall demolition, I would call on the Vice Chancellor to make a commitment to the University community that Scott will be returned as a performance space once the development is complete. The University have been deliberately vague on this issue, because while they say that it will be used for performances, they seem to be referring to evening performances. For any theatre groups and particularly music students,

the real issue is being able to use it for daytime rehearsals. There seems to be a distinct lack of student focus in the Save Union Hall’s campaign.

M

y big question for all of the Save the Union Hall folk is, if you’re so pro-campus culture, where were you when voluntary student unionism saw the Adelaide University Union’s income go from about 4.5 million to $500,000 overnight? This had a far more devastating impact on the support, financial and otherwise, that went to a variety of student groups. And where have you been for the past 12 years while student income support has got progressively worse, which means that 80% of students are working part time or more? If you truly want a vibrant university theatre culture, then students need the time to get involved in either attending or performing, but with many struggling on income far below the Henderson Poverty Line, this is almost impossible. The heart and soul of any university is its students – any changes to the campus should have that at their core. This development will see more space for the students of the University of Adelaide and that is an outcome which has my support.

Editors' note: Peter Goers has said to On Dit that Lavinia misunderstood him. He has nothing against Malaysians, but rather, “[has] concerns about foreign students. Not if but when I have a quadruple bypass, the first question I would ask of the foreign doctor is, 'Did you pay to go to the University of Adelaide?' The fact is, most foreign students who are paying for an education in SA, they may not be good enough to get into their own universities." Peter Goers considered the conversation he had with Lavinia to be private, and did not name Lavinia when he recounted a part of it in his Sunday Mail column.

about the writer

Lavinia Emmett-Grey was Adelaide University Union President from 2008-2009. She is currently the undergraduate student representative on University Council.

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On Dit Magazine: Volume 78, Issue 1  

On Dit Magazine is a fortnightly Australian student magazine with an emphasis on exceptional writing, photography, and illustration.

On Dit Magazine: Volume 78, Issue 1  

On Dit Magazine is a fortnightly Australian student magazine with an emphasis on exceptional writing, photography, and illustration.