COUNTER-COURSE YOUR RADICAL GUIDE TO SYDNEY UNI
acknowledgement of country
Written by Indigenous Officer Akala Newman on behalf of the University of Sydney Students' Representative Council.
My name is Akala Newman and I'm a proud Wiradjuri womAn. I would like to pay my respects to the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation, upon who's ancestral stolen land the University of Sydney campus stands. I would also like to pay my respects to all Aboriginal students and staff at this University and at the SRC. The Gadigal people are the traditional custodians of this land in which they hold in perpetuity forever. It's my cultural obligation, and the obligation of all Indigenous people, to keep our stories alive, to connect place and home to our spiritual identity and self. Colonisation has separated the body from our country. Because of this Aboriginal people have been oppressed and marginalised, damaging our innate connection from land and self. We must nurture our land and be a part of this beautiful country as it was for thousands of years. We acknowledge the people of the wider Eora Nation, as the first to suffer and survive colonisation. We offer our deepest respect to the brave warriors of the Frontier Wars and all those who have died under White Supremacy defending our culture, lands and people. We extend our respect and solidarity to all those who suffer under patriarchal white supremacy and state sanctioned violence. Finally, I want to pay respect to all Aboriginal women. My sisters from the time the First Fleet came were the subject of the highest level of sexual assault and now the highest level of domestic violence in this country. Colonisation in itself was the rape of a country. This sardonic image relates to the fact that white men would rape Aboriginal women in order to wipe out an entire race with their hegemonic white supremacy. I hope and pray that all my sisters will one day be at peace. I hope and pray that one day all women will be at peace. Hold your body up because it is yours. No one else owns it and no one ever will. It is yours forever so cherish it. Despite our trauma, and despite being dehumanised in life and death, we are still here and we matter. We are resilient and we are powerful. The oldest living culture in the world, has been carried for thousands of years in the wombs and on the backs of our matriarchs. We are deadly we are fierce. We deserve a voice in a world trying to take it away from us.
letter from your prez
Welcome to the 2018 Counter-Course Handbook, the bullshit-free guide to surviving the University of Sydney. This year, the handbook was produced by your Students’ Representative Council (SRC) General Secretaries and Education Officers. In these pages you will find many articles on various SRC collectives and the histories of student resistance. As you will discover during your time at University, student unions play a crucial role in defending student rights, disseminating information, and organising resistance. In essence, the SRC is run by students, for students; and it both wants to help students at an individual level (in its casework and legal services) and at a collective level (through defending public education and resourcing student activism). There is no doubt that historically student unions have been critical to mobilising student struggles and will continue to be so into the future. Last year student protests, including the SRC Wom*n’s Collective’s anti-sexual assault protests, have been important in cohering opposition to University management’s disregard for student safety and welfare. The possibilities for significant student protest to impact the political climate are far from dead. Now more than ever we need to draw on the radical history of student organisations, which can only be strengthened by the participation of students who recognise their radical potential and fight to revive it. My challenge for you is to become a University student in the widest possible sense. University provides an almost unparalleled opportunity to become politicised and contribute to a better society through your education. Join the SRC’s collectives and embrace student activism. I wish you the best of luck for the year ahead and look forward to seeing you on the streets! - Imogen Grant, President of the 90th Student's Representative Council
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00. acknowledgement of country 01. Letter from the prez 04. map 06. surviving uni admin 07. financial help 08. health services 09. student life 10. international students' guide 11. housing guide 12. disabilities: your rights on campus 13. what is the src? 14. the src collectives 16. h ow to respond to a disclosure of sexual assault 17. support services for survivors of sexual assault 19. your uni has a radical history: a timeline 20. a fair go? the hidden injustices of australia 21. why we need fair fares: the fight for opal cards for international students 22. how students stopped the war 23. refugee organising: a brief history 25. rural students fight back 26. what's the nteu and why should you care? 28. the state of abortion 29. representation matters 30. the neoliberalisation of universities 32. on the front lines against coal 34. how chilean students fought back 36. survival day 37. faculty advice 41. contributors
Some of the things in this book might be really useful, or you might hate them. That's fine! It's important to be challenged by what you read at uni, and that doesn't just stop in class. If you have any problems with what we print please call 9327 3988. We welcome constructive criticism! Tell us we're ugly, that no one wants us to be the Prime Minister of Australia and our fiscal policy sucks. It really grinds our gears. Just remember it is 9327 3988! If we're busy on that line try 3205 9977 instead. Other things we hate being told: that we're a war criminal, we have blood on our hands and we need to end offshore detention now.
unlearn weapons research. USYDâ€™s marketing campaign is a smokescreen. USYD funds military and weapons research for the Australian Defence Force, who are currently engaged in bombing the Middle East. Join the Education Action Group today: fb/groups/usyd eag
your A-Z guide to campus A - THE SRC!
What else would be A? It's off the City Rd and down some stairs right outside the Wentworth building. Swing by to make an appointment with the caseworkers or the legal service, or just say hello.
b - Fisher coffee cart
Cheap food, don't come here on the hour though. There's a coffee rush. Also, if you're poor and vego you'll be having a spinach and feta roll here until you graduate.
c - Ralph's cafe
Pasta and lavish parmesan. They only take cash and their ATM has a $50000 fee. And warning: every college kid on campus seems to be here? We have yet to figure out why but are investigating.
D - wentworth foodcourt
Most likely you will be here a LOT throughout your degree. It will be a sad low you and I - return to. UniBros and Jewel of India are faves though and are some of the best veg on campus. The only Chinese food on campus is available here and it is very underwhelming. Sad!
E - abercrombie cafe
Sort of overpriced but pretty good food. Lines for coffee are fucked on the hour.
F - courtyard cafe
Hands down nicest cafe on campus, but a bit of a treck. Pretty great pizzas, craft beers and wine specials. They do mulled wine in winter...if you're into that.
G - hermanns
This grotty uni gem has recently been refurbished into a sterilised Tsing Tao themed bar. Fun! Cheap drinks though and nice vibes if you sit out on the lawns. Great for ingratiating yourself with the underbelly of student politics here.
H - manning bar
You will go here once, maybe twice, if unlucky for some of the USU's underwhelming, sweaty O-week parties. Then never again. Manning is dead. Rest In Peace.
I - laneway cafe
Just above Wentworth Cafe, here is Courtyard's older, shitter sister. But less of trek.
J - parma
Ugh. Eftpos minimums. Good milkshakes tho. 4
Map (incl. ibises) to scale.
k - boardwalk cafe
Does anyone go here? Literally no one I've talked to has? Seems nice I guess??
L - taste cafe
Overpriced baguettes. Breakfast menu is sick. Hang here for law school cred / to mock wanky law students.
m - wom*n's room
An autonomous space for non-cis men (people who do not identify as male and were not assigned the gender of male at birth). There's a microwave, a couch and it's where the Wom*n's Collective weekly meetings are usually held. It's on the 2nd level of Manning House.
n - queer space
An autonomous space for queer identifying folks in the Holme Building. It's sort of tricky to find. Walk across the courtyard to the left and go down some stairs. Contact the Queer Officers if you're having trouble finding it. Great place to meet fellow queers and it's where the Queer Action Collective holds its meetings.
o - ethnocultural space
On the second floor of Manning Space is an autonomous space for people of colour, Indigenous peoples and people otherwise marked/marginalised by white supremacy. The Autonomous Collective Against Racism has its meetings here.
A pI j GD
p - international students' louge (ISL)
Right above the Wentworth food court is heaven. Bean bags, comfy chairs, a lovely help desk. It's a great way to meet other international students over a game of pool.
Did I say A to Z? I meant A to like, p. Sorry! To make up for it I've starred all the best places to take a shit on campus. Hope that makes up for it.they are (in order): Courtyard toilets, abercrombie building toilets, fisher library toilets (in the upper levels) and (if you're sneaky) the catholic society's toilets. they have a 5 shower!
Academic Appeals sydney student Disability services
Discontinue not fail (DC)
If you’re confused or experiencing difficulties contact the University Helpline on 1800 SYD UNI (1800 793 864) and you should get through to a human being…eventually.
Your lecturer has the power to grant you a simple extension (up to 5 days) for assignments. Your lecturer might also be a dickhead. Ask them for a simple extension though if you need one. Some lecturers are happy to give them, others will want to see medical certificates, others will never grant them. For some faculties, like law, it's essentially impossible to get one. Sad!
Academic Appeals allow you to appeal decisions made by the university: from everything from an assessment mark to rejecting a special considerations application. There are three stages: Informal, Faculty or Academic Panel and finally University. Informal Appeal: raise your concern with the teacher or administrator that made the decision, and talk to them about their decision. Faculty or Academic Panel Appeal: If you’re not happy with that you’re entitled to appeal to the Faculty or Academic Panel and (if you’re still not happy) to the University. University Appeal: These can get more complicated, and what you require depends on what you’re appealing and the faculty you’re appealing to. Best let someone guide you through. The SRC Caseworker service are old hands at this so let them help you out. Beware it can take months to get an outcome at this level of appeal. If you have an ongoing issue that affects your academic performance and/or ability to complete assessments then you should register with Disability Services. This can provide you with accommodations in your studies such as later exams and reduced workloads. 1. Login into the University’s Disability Services to register. 2. Part of this registration will involve getting supporting documents completed recently by your treating health professional. 3. When you’ve got these, the supporting documents can be uploaded to your online registration or emailed to email@example.com. 4. The last step is to contact disability services and set up your meeting, which should take about an hour. We hear they’re pretty nice. You can contact them on +61 2 8627 8422 or to firstname.lastname@example.org. Flick to page 12 to read more about the Disabilities Collective. It supports students with disabilities and lobbies for their rights.
Discontinuing a unit has different effects depending on when you discontinue. At some points, discontinuing a unit has no effect, at others it will show up permanently on your academic record. Withdrawing before the census date (that’s March 31 for Semester 1 and August 31 in Semester 2): The course does not show up on your record, and you do not pay anything for the course. International students will need to apply for a fee refund. Discontinuing before the end of week 7: You will have a Discontinue Not Fail (DC) on your record. No reasons are needed but you will have to pay for the course, unless a significant event outside of your control occurred between the census date and the end of week 7. Discontinue after week 7: Here it gets tricky! This is possible only if you were unable to reasonably attempt your studies due to extraordinary circumstances beyond your control. There are slightly different policies from each faculty on DCs. Talk to the SRC Caseworker service to figure out the process.
If you have a short-term illness, unexpected primary carer responsibilities, injury, or experience a natural disaster or the death of a friend/family member and it has signficantly impacted your ability your performance in an assessment or exam you may be eligible for special considerations. You will need to provide evidence of what happened and how it has affected you with official documents in English. You'll need to apply through the online portal ( just Google "Special Considerations USYD") to find it. If it relates to a missed day or assessment you have 3 working days to lodge your application. If it was an exam, you have 14 days from the time your timetable was released or 3 working days from the exam (if the circumstance didn't exist at the time of timetable publication).
by nina dillon britton and the caseworker service
how to SURVIVe UNI ADMIN
Sydney Student is the central student administration system, where you will have enrolled for your units. It's also where you apply for enrolment variations, Special Permission, course transfers, credit applications, discontinuation from your degree and Summer School.
the most important thing in this book is this: there are times where you will screw up, get sick or fail. UNI ADMIN CAN SUCK AND When fighting with admin gets too much, please, please, contact the src caseworkers. they're experienced and they have your back. call 9660 5222 or email email@example.com to see them.
by nina dillon britton and the caseworker service
WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU'RE SHORT OF $$$$$$$$ Centrelink: What is it and how do i get it
Applying for Centrelink payments Full-time students twenty-five years or older should apply for Austudy. Under twenty-five should apply for Youth Allowance.
Bursaries are made available by the University for full-time students who are experiencing financial difficulty in order to pay for essential services.
You will stay on this payment even after you turn twenty-five if you keep studying your degree. Lodge an intention to claim with the Centrelink call centre (132 490) - keep in mind wait times can take forever - or you can go to their website. If you speak to someone on the phone, ask them for a receipt number for the conversation.
You apply through the Sydney Student website by clicking on ‘My finances’, ‘Scholarships, prizes, bursaries and loans’, then ‘Apply for financial support’ or call the Scholarships and Financial Support Service for more information on 8627 8112. Bursaries are unfortunately not available to international students. They do not need to be repaid. Do apply for this if you need it.
Maximum payable on Austudy and Youth Allowance The maximum payment if you live away from the parental home is about $4435 per fortnight, plus rent assistance of at most $130, $88 if you live in a sharehouse (which obviously only applies if you're renting from someone other than your parents). To get Austudy or Youth Allowance you must "qualify" and then be "payable" each fortnight.The amount payable depends on any income test reductions. Which income test applies will depend on whether you are 'independent' or not, or have a partner. How to qualify You qualify if you satisfy ALL of the following conditions: • "Australian resident" for two years or more and in Australia when you claim; and • Studying an "Approved Course" (which most courses at University of Sydney are); and • Studying "full-time" - usually a minimum of 18 credit points per semester; and • Making "satisfactory progress" (you have not exceeded the minimum time it takes to complete your current course, plus one semester). Dependent or independent, parental income Being 'independent' for Centrelink means your parents' income is not assessed in determining your eligibility. If you are 22 or older, you are automatically assumed independent. The other main ways to be considered independent are: • that it is "unreasonable to live at home" due to extreme circumstances, including physical, emotional or sexual violence; or • If you are from a very remote community, previous income may also be considered; • If you are married or in a marriage-like relationship. Parental income over $52 706 per year may start to reduce your Youth Allowance. Parental income over $150 000 per year (or less) may render you ineligible. Trouble? Talk to the SRC caseworkers, the campus experts on Centrelink matters.
There are also advertised bursaries available for students that meet a variety of criteria. See the University’s Scholarships and Financial support page for more details. There are two offered to first year students for $1000 and $2000 (!!). Check those out!
Interest-free loans The SRC offers interest-free emergency loans of up to $50. Great if you can’t quite make rent, buy lunch or get the train home. Interest-free loans are also offered by the University to students in the final 2 years of a degree in the Faculty of Dentistry, Health Sciences, Pharmacy, Sydney Medical School or Sydney School of Veterinary Science. They’re available if you can’t repay a loan before graduation. These are available to international students. You will need to repay them.
Money saving checklist 1. Apply for a low-income health card (available for domestic students who earn less than $546 a week) on MyGov.com. This gives you access to cheaper medicine, bigger refunds for medical costs when you reach the Medicare Safety Net. 2. Take advantage of the discounts and free services the Clubs and Societies of the USU provides. 3. Try and only go to bulk-billing medical practices. his is covered on Medicare and Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC). For example: the University Health Service in the Wentworth building. 4. Dentists are expensive but very important!! Talk to the SRC Caseworker service about free dental services you can access. 5. Check out the Newtown Neighbourhood Centre's website for where you can score groceries cheaper. 5. Overthrow capitalism, seize the means of production.
general secretary Nina Dillon Britton on how to look after your health on the cheap.
mental health Resources NSW Mental Health Crisis Line provides support for people in mental health crises. Call 1800 011 511 to speak to someone. Headspace Headspace is a national youth health organisation which provides mental health, GP and sexual health services. Centres are found throughout Sydney, but the closest one to the Darlington/Camperdown campus is a short walk away at Level 2, 97 Church Street, Camperdown. Call 9114 4100, email firstname.lastname@example.org or come in person to set up an appointment. Counselling and Psychological Services (CAPS) CAPs is a free counselling and psychological service provided by the University. It has limited capacity though, which means it can sometimes only offer limited sessions. Ask how many sessions are available for you. In many cases they will not provide documentation for things like Special Consideration. They may be able to refer you to other services based on your needs. Call 8627 8433, 8627 8437 or email caps. email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org (if you're a Cumbo student) to set up an appointment or get more information. The Psychology Clinic at The University of Sydney (Level 2 M02F 94 Mallett St Camperdown NSW 2050) Phone: 9114 4343 The clinic offers a broad range of clinical psychology services to the general community at low cost. Treatment and (psychometric) assessments are undertaken by trainee Clinical Psychologists under the supervision of highly experienced Clinical Psychologists and Clinical Neuropsychologists who are specialists in their area. They can be helpful for issues such as learning disorders too. Disabilities Services is available for people with mental health disorders that affect their studies. See page 6 for more. Access for International Students Many international students do not know that OSHC will also cover some specialist services such as Counsellors from outside the University. If you wish to see a psychologist outside the University you pay the cost upfront, and then your OSHC will reimburse you for most of the fee (around 85%). For example, many psychologists charge between $140-260 upfront, but with your OSHC reimbursement you would only pay $50 or less ‘out of pocket’. This is called a ‘gap’ fee. Feeling anxiety, depression, and loneliness could be seen as a legitimate illness so seek help. To access a counsellor, you can contact them directly and let them know you are an international student. If you need a referral, speak with a general practitioner (GP) about options in your area. You can also speak with the SRC Caseworkers if you are not sure about how to see a counsellor. Leichhardt Women’s Community Health Centre (55 Thornley Street) Phone: 9560 3011 They provide low cost and affordable medical, counselling and allied and complementary health care and education. 8 08
Mental Health Care Plans
To be able to see a psychologist you must have a Mental Health Care Plan (MHCP) from a GP. To get this, your GP will need to complete a mental health assessment - often a short questionnaire - and prepare a Mental Health Treatment Plan before referring you to a psychologist. Treatment plans are available for patients with widely varying types mental health disorders and levels of severity. Make sure to book a longer appointment with your GP to be able to do this.
Don't have a GP? The University Health Service provides free health care services. Google Sydney Uni Health Services to book an appointment online. It is free for everyone, including international students. Alternatively the Newtown Neighbourhood Centre has a list of bulk billing (free) GPs in the area or Google "bulk billing GP Newtown" to find some in the area. Speaking of the Newtown Neighbourhood Centre, it has the best set around of online resources about services for people in need (including those in need of emergency accommodation or a free meal) . Google their information-sheets.
The Mental Health Care Plan will allow you to receive 10 individual sessions with a psychologist in a calendar year and claim a Medicare rebate for them. How much visiting a psychologist will differ depending on session length and the rate they charge. You will always be able to claim back part of what you pay though Medicare and if you see a bulk billing psychologist you will pay nothing.
low income healthcare card
Apply for a low-income health card (available for domestic students who earn less than $546 a week) on MyGov.com. This gives you access to cheaper medicine, bigger refunds for medical costs when you reach the Medicare Safety Net. To check if you're eligible check out humanservices. gov.au website. If you're not you might be eligible for a Health Care Card (note this is not available if you're on Austudy or Youth Allowance).
Sexual health / reproductive health services
Royal Prince Alfred Sexual Health (16 Marsden St, Camperdown) Phone: 9515 1200 Super close to uni ( just get a bus down Parramatta Road), RPA Sexual Health provides contraception advice, testing treatment and counselling for sexually transmitted infections, including HIV. It also provides specific services for gay men and sex workers, as well as a needle and syringe program and sexual health advice for people who inject drugs. Free interpreters are available. You don't need a Medicare card or a referral from a doctor and it is entirely free for everyone. Family Planning Ashfield (328 - 336 Liverpool Road Ashfield) Phone: 8752 4300 or you can request an appointment online A short walk from Ashfield station, Family Planning Ashfield provides advice and services regarding contraception, testing and treatment of STIs, pregnancy, cervical cancer screening and management of menstrual and gynaecological issues. It can give advice on terminating pregnancies, though does not perform surgical terminations itself (see page 28, "The State of Abortion" for more information). Sessions are bulk-billed for students.
general secretary nina dillon britton is really in with the youths and knows what they like. with thanks to the rest of the of the src office bearers and councillors.
further afield The Standard Bowl A free-entry club in the heart of Oxford St where few still exist. Lines can get sort of long though, and it is within the lockout zone, so beware. Upside: it has a bowling rink (hence the name).
Goros Fun cocktails, karaoke and near Central station so you can get home easy. What more do you want? Smoking Panda Near Town Hall, somehow escaped the lock out laws. Don't go here sober. GiRLTHING Sydney's biggest queer-femme party happens monthly with great all-femme DJ lineups. It's often at the Landsdowne so it's walking distance from Sydney too! Heaps Gay This queer party is one of Sydney's biggest. Watch out for their annual street party too.
• • • • • • • •
cheap eats (All on King St - Where else would you go?) •
• • • • • • • • • • • •
Happy Chef: good/great Chinese food, depending on who you ask. Super cheap. Thai La-Ong: OK Thai (despite others who disagree!) and the regular haunt of a number of clubs and societies. The Debating Society's socials are often here, so if you hear faux-witty white people making jokes, turn around and leave. Lentil as Anything: Pay what you want/can vegan joint. Hard to get a seat at dinner but easier at lunch. Don't be the dickhead who pays nothing unless you really can't pay. Pastizzis: Primarily sells its namesake food for $3-$4. Don't bother with anything else on the menu. Vina Vegetarian Eatery: In the middle of stretch of vegan places, this stands out...for costing less. The Italian Bowl: Its prices have come up under new management since it's famous $10 a bowl but the pasta is still good (and only $14) and the portions are very generous. Dean's Diner: simple sandwhiches and burgers straight off the grill. Vego/vegan options too. Newtown Hotel: $4 pizzas for students. Pho 268: Great pho. Super cheap. Charles Thai: Huge lunch specials for $7.90. Bourke St Bakery: Great baked goods, given away on the cheap at the end of the day. VegSoc: $5 lunches on campus on Tuesday and Wednesday. Find them on Facebook to see where they are each week. Sushi Train (there are a few a block from Newtown Station): If you can restrain yourself, a pretty affordable option.
coffee • •
Hand Craft Specialty Coffee: Allegedly the best coffee on King. I don't drink coffee so verify yourself. 212 Blu and Lil 212: Ok so apparently this is the best coffee on King St? It all tastes like bitter water to me so it's up to you, dear reader, to decide.
drinks • • • • •
Earl's Juke Joint: Disguised as an old butcher and $4 beers, this bar will say to the friends you bring here: I know how to drink alcohol in an only mildly pretentious and gimmicky way. The Royal: $12 student jugs and $10 steaks. Legend has it that if you tell the staff you're do Agriculture there's a secret burger you can get? If you're an Agriculture and can verify this can you please email email@example.com for a prize.* The Landsdowne: Great gigs, often free/cheap. Sweet drinks deals and a legendary pizza. Lord Gladstone: Rowdy Redfern place with great wings and outside the lockout zone. No one seems to dance here though. Sad! Forest Lodge Hotel: $11 student jugs and $10 student pizzas/lunches. You can book out the back area for free for events.
places it's only acceptable to go to in 1st year
The Sheaf (Double Bay) - Go on a Wednesday (or a "Shwednesday" - I know, shudder)) and the place is packed with first years from eastern suburbs private schools. Which is fun...for a very limited time. See also: Greenwood Thursdays (North Sydney), World Bar Wednesdays (Kings Cross). USU O-Week Parties - Cheap beer, lots of other first years, everyone here uses too much tongue, you will be given glowsticks and get very sweaty. Unless you're aactually a first year or a board director (or seeking to be one) don't risk your social cred here. Scary Canary (CBD) - Wet T-shirt competitions and all their drinks are like blue? Geordie Shore visited here. I rest my case. Kuletos (Newtown) - You definitely will go to Kuletos after first year, but always with a sense of shame. 2 for 1 cocktail happy hour is a pull though. First Year Camps - After first year you'll only go if you're (1) on the executive of a faculty society (acceptable) or (2) have volunteered (unacceptable - why waste your weekend handing condoms out to horny teens?) The Ivy (CBD) - Expensive, packed, very over-hyped and terrible for your clout. Anywhere with a professional photographer - You will spend the next day untagging yourself in all the photos because you look sweaty and you forgot to use primer so all your makeup was on your neck by the end of the night. Is this just a list of places I'm personally embarassed that I went to in 1st year? - Yes, yes it is. 9 *No prize, I just need to know.
Knightess: The Wom*n's Collective's annual party. 2017.
Frankie's Pizza by the Slice This free-entry bar in the CBD serves cheapish beer, cheap pizza and delicious apple vodkas. Go through to the back though, and DJs or live bands will be playing rock greats. Find your way to the secret gin bar to impress your mates.
international students' guide The University of Sydney is a multi-cultural and inclusive university. There are more than 10,000 international students from 152 countries studying here. As an international student, you, are going to make a great contribution to the diversity of the campus. The University also provides many opportunities for international students to enrich their campus life experience and increase their involvement of students’ community. It’s quite exciting to be an international student and studying abroad in a foreign country. It will be an unforgettable and unique experience in your life. However, it is also a challenge for you to live in a new place and engage in the community here. For example, many international students face legal issues about renting and full wage payment. When these issues arise for you, your rights or interests may be violated due to the unfamiliarity with the legal system in Australia. In addition, some international students may have language or cultural barriers, which lead to the lack of involvement in local communities. So, how do you protect your rights?
yi man, international students' officer mia gao and general secretary yuxuan yang on how to survive uni as an international student. translator: jacky he.
悉尼大学是一所有多元文化和包容性的大学。这里 有来自152个国家的10000多名留学生。作为一名国 际学生，我们为校园的多样性做出巨大的贡献。学 校还给我们提供了很多丰富学校生活，加强校园融 入的机会。 以一名留学生的身份到国外留学是件非常有趣的 事。这将是你一生中独特而难忘的经历。但与此同 时，这也是一个巨大的挑战：你来到一个新地方， 融入一个新社会。例如，许多留学生面临租房和工 资支付的法律问题。当你处理这些问题的时候，由 于对澳大利亚法律制度的不熟悉，你的权利或利益 可能受到侵犯。此外，由于一些或多或少的语言障 碍或文化差异，导致我们国际生很难完全融入当地 群体。 那么在遇到上述问题的时候，谁来帮助我们维护自 己的权益呢？
The University of Sydney Students’ Representative Council, established in 1929, represents all undergraduate students at the University. Its purpose is to protect the basic rights of Sydney University students during their daily lives and study. 33 councillors are elected to the council each year.
悉尼大学学生议会，成立于1929年，是由悉尼大学 在读本科学生组成的议会组织，作用于维护悉尼大 学学生生活学习中的基本权益。议会的学生议员由 在校本科生每年投票选出，一共33人。
The SRC provides a wide variety of services for students at the University of Sydney. For instance: • SRC Caseworker Help: SRC caseworkers are professional and experienced staff who can assist undergraduate students at the University of Sydney with issues that affect them, such as dealing with the University administration or tenancy problems, by providing independent advice, advocacy and support. • SRC Legal Service: Provides free legal advice and representation on most legal matters including immigration advice. • SRC Publications: The SRC publishes a weekly newspaper, Honi Soit, as well as other student publications such as Counter-Course (what you’re reading now!) and Growing Strong, the Wom*n’s Collective's Handbook.
SRC面对悉大学生提供了多项服务，例如： • "SRC Caseworker Help" -通过提供独立的建 议，倡导和支持，帮助学生解决问题。 • "SRC Legal Service" -为大多数法律事务提供法 律咨询和代表，包括移民咨询。 • "SRC Publications" - SRC出版全国唯一的校 报“Honi Soit” 这些项目都是免费的，同学们可以随时与SRC取得 联系，享受以上的服务。
These services are free, and students can receive the services above through getting in contact with the SRC.
Some of the fantastic international student councillors and office bearers at the SRC. 10
katie thorburn explains how to survive housing in sydney
Your guide to housing in sydney
Housing whilst being a student can be a complete nightmare, but do not despair! There are affordable options, you do have rights and there are people who can help you. Student housing is big business. Places such as Urban Nest and UniLodge are on the rise and corner students who aren’t aware of other options. Colleges at USyd are also very unaffordable. Whilst student accommodation services may seem like the ‘done thing’ they can cost up to $600 a week which is a complete rip-off. The cheapest options, which are shared bedrooms start at a ridiculous $350 a week also. There are cheaper - and better value - options. These options include STUCCO, which is a student co-operative living arrangement for 40 USyd students located close to Camperdown campus on the edge of Newtown and Redfern, and another popular option is share-housing. STUCCO started in 1992 as a co-operative living arrangement and is several apartments each with about five bedrooms. The rent is a mere $90 a week, however, STUCCO also requires residents to be on various working groups which ensure the running of the co-operative. It is also only for permanent residents of Australia and full-time students. It may not be suitable for those who don’t like living with many people, as there are about 40 people you’d be living with. To apply, google STUCCO and fill out the application form. Another great thing about STUCCO is that it has emergency housing for those who need it, keep that in mind in case you’re in a pickle. Share-housing can be established by yourself, or you could join an existing share-house. There are groups on Facebook where you can find posts looking for housemates or where you can post in search of housemates. One such example that is good for USyd Camperdown campus accessible options is ‘Sydney Inner West Housemates’. With share-housing, atop of rent there will usually be bills for gas, electricity, water and internet (unless you find a place where these things are included in the rent) keep that in mind in terms of needing to set these up, and also as additional bills you’ll need to account for in your budgeting. Another expense you most likely will come across is money for a bond. Bonds are usually four weeks rent and you should get this back at the end of your lease - unless money is taken out for repairs. Hot tip: trying looking further afield than just Newtown, because rent drops significantly as you move further from University. As with most things to do with Uni, the SRC has caseworkers who can help you if things go wrong! If you’re having a tenancy issue, come speak to the caseworkers at the SRC who have a wealth of knowledge, and can do a range of things to help.
know your options
• • • •
• • • • •
Read this before you move in Your landlord needs to give you a heads up before they visit and if they don’t give you one you don’t have to let them in. You have the right to have urgent repairs fixed by your landlord, such as broken hot water, serious leaks or blocked toilets. Your landlord may not discriminate or charge you more based on your sex, race, disabilities or parental status. When your landlord has violated your tenancy rights, and you have made them aware of this, you have the right to take them to the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT). The SRC’s legal service is here to help if you want to pursue legal action against your landlord, or to let you know about more of your rights as a tenant. Don't sign any contracts before you've seen the place and expected it thoroughly, and read what you're signing. Always get receipts for the bond/deposit and any other payments you make. Know your responsibilities. Make a condition report when you move in and when you move out - record all contents and damage in writing and take photos. Your landlord/agent must deposit the bond with NSW Fair Trading. This ensures everything is above board and the landlord must apply for the bond at the end of the lease if they believe money needs to be taken out. Ensure you apply for your bond back at the end of your lease by filling in a ‘Claim for Refund of Bond Money’ form (from Fair Trading). You have a responsibility to keep the premises in clean and well-looked after conditions. However, ‘fair wear and tear’ is to be expected and you cannot have money taken from your bond if the condition of the property only has minor damage. You can be served with a four week notice of eviction in time with the end of your lease. If this is unsuitable timing for you can go to tribunal to buy some extra time
Unsure about anything? See the SRC legal service. Call 9660 5222 to make an appointment.
Cost p/week (approx)
Affordable housing, fun vibes.
Very hard to get into due to limited spots.
Bursaries and academic support available, "strong community culture."
Very expensive, there can be dark side though to a "strong commuity culture" - see the Broderick Commission, coverage of sexual assault and bullying culture.
$397 - $687 per week, which includes three meals per day.
Some affordable options when compared to Student Housing or Residential Colleges.
Less than stellar rooms. Not great value for money.
$205 - $431.
Student Housing (e.g. Iglu)
Generally good facilities, rooms on the larger side, some share-house experience.
Very overpriced. All rooms are part of share apartments.
$350 - $620.
The classic "uni experience," a pretty affordable option.
Cockroaches, no one puts the toilet seat down, argments over doing the dishes. But maybe that's just my place. I live with 5 men. Help.
Ranges heaps. Some good value rooms to be found. $150-$350.
Expensive. Who will help you out when you're out of toilet paper.
$350 - $570.
Your own place (1 No fights about who does the dishes. bedroom apartment)
Robin Eames, one of the src's disabilities officers, explains your rights on campus.
Disabilities on campus: your rights
Resources SRC Disabilities Collective The Disabilities Collective is an autonomous collective for disabled undergraduate students. Contact the 2018 officebearers at firstname.lastname@example.org. edu.au, or check out the Facebook page at facebook. com/USYDdisabilities.carers/ and Twitter at twitter. com/USYDdis. Caregivers Network The Caregivers Network is an initiative for students who provide substantial informal caregiving support to friends or family members who are disabled. Contact the Disabilities Officebearers for more information at email@example.com. Disability Services Disability Services is the main point of contact for accessing disability accommodations during your study. Some of the accommodations they can arrange include: • Assessment and exam adjustments, including extra time, smaller exam rooms, use of a computer • Timetable adjustments, including making sure that your lectures are close together, close to bus stops, or held in buildings that are wheelchair accessible or have hearing loop equipment • Alternative formatting • Access to assistive technology • Lecture support • Library services Contact Disability Services: Phone: +61 2 8627 5067 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Address: Level 5 Jane Foss Russell Building G02 (lift access) See page 6 for more details. SUPRA Equity Network The Sydney University Postgraduate Representative Association currently has six equity networks, one of which is the Network for Students Living with a Disability. Contact them at email@example.com.
Disability Inclusion Week Every year the University hosts a Disability Inclusion Week, featuring workshops, accessibility initiatives, social events, lectures, lunches, and more. Last year the theme was “Inclusion begins with me.” 12
As defined by the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities, disability refers to “long-term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairments which in interaction with various barriers may hinder their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others." This includes people with mental, chronic, or terminal illnesses; people who are neurodivergent; and people who are d/Deaf or hard of hearing, regardless of whether they identify as disabled or as having a disability. 20% of people living in Australia are disabled. This figure is higher in groups with intersecting marginalised identities, due to factors such as lack of access to healthcare, socioeconomic conditions, and intergenerational trauma. In Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities the figure is 50%. LGBTIAQ+ people also experience disproportionate levels of disability.
Your rights as a disabled student
The Disability Discrimination Act 1992 and the Disability Standards for Education 2005 (the Standards) enshrine in law the right of disabled students to access education and training ‘on the same basis’ as non-disabled students. The Standards apply to education providers. Universities can meet their obligations under the Standards by giving consideration to ‘reasonable adjustments’ to ensure that students with disability are provided with opportunities to participate in education and training on the same basis as students without disability. You have the right to: • use an assistive device or mobility aid • be accompanied by a carer, interpreter, reader or assistant • be accompanied by a guide or hearing dog or other trained assistant animal • access reasonable adjustments for lectures, tutorials, and assessments so that you are not disadvantaged by your disability • access lecture materials in a format that you can understand • seek redress for abuse or harassment on the basis of disability Unfortunately, many people are unaware of the DDA, and violations of the DDA are difficult to prosecute. Unlike other anti-discrimination legislation, the DDA has a clause for “unjustifiable hardship”, meaning that people and companies can be given an exception to discriminate in cases where not discriminating would result in “unjustifiable hardship”, such as high expense. Heritage-listed buildings are also granted exceptions to the law. If you experience ableist discrimination at the University of Sydney, you may find it useful to consult with the SRC legal service, which provides students with free legal advice, representation in court where relevant, and a referral service. The Disabilities Collective protesting the Manus Camps, 2017.
University of Sydney Union Mental Awareness and Health Society MAHSoc aims to generate greater awareness of mental health on campus and emphasise the importance of simple conversations and constantly checking in on one another. You can find them on Facebook under MAHSoc.
What is disability?
what is the students' representative council? We're the union that represents all undergraduate students at the University of Sydney. We provide a free casework and legal service, lobby the University for better conditions for staff and students, publish the prestigious student newspaper Honi Soit and convene a number of collectives that bring students together on the basis of their identity or the issues they care about (turn the page to read more about them).
how do you contact us? To meet with the a caseworker or lawyer call: 9660 5222 Email the Legal Service: firstname.lastname@example.org Email the Casework Service: email@example.com See our website: srcusyd.net.au To contact student office bearers check out the website, all our emails are there. Have something important to share? Tell our President: firstname.lastname@example.org
Where are we? The SRC is below the Wentworth Building on City Rd located down some stairs. If you have mobility issues are have trouble finding it call us at 9660 5222.
caseworker and legal service
Students are represented within the SRC in three ways: SRC councillors, the president and elected officers. 33 councillors and the President of the SRC are elected directly by students at elections in Semester 2. The SRC council meets monthly to pass motions. There is also an Executive that meets more often to pass budget requests. The SRC Council elects different office bearers to do different roles from General Secretaries (...me) to Directors of Student Publications. Check out the SRC website to see what sort of office bearers exist and how to contact them.
By nina Dillon britton
The SRC is entirely independent of the University. We are partially funded by the Student Services and Ammenities Fee (SSAF) for which students pay $147 each semester. It is collected by the University and split up between us and several other student organisations. We're independent so we can fight for you against University management when they do things that aren't in your interests. The University of Sydney Union (USU) If you picked up this copy of Counter-Course at O-Week you will have come in contact with the USU. The USU is a different student organisation that convenes the clubs and societies on campus, as well as food and drink outlets. The National Union of Students (NUS) The SRC is affiliated to the NUS, an umbrella organisation that represents the interests and rights of student interests throughout Australia. We are distinct from it though. Representatives for Sydney University are elected at the same time as other SRC elections.
SRC caseworkers are profesWhat is sional and experienced staff who assist undergraduate students at the University of Sydney through providing independent advice, advocacy and support. Their service is FREE (FREE!!), independent and confidential. The SRC also has free solicitors and a registered migration agent. They can help with: • Centrelink • Special Considerations • Academic Appeals • Show Cause
council, president what we're not and elected officers The University
• Plagiarism Allegations • Tenancy Problems • Immigration Law • Criminal matters
From that time SRC solicitor Thomas McLoughlin, working pro-bono, took the Department of Immigration to the High Court to fight for a refugee's rights and won. Photo: Thomas Joyner for Honi Soit. 2016. The High Court order!
Honi Soit is a student newspaper produced by 10 editors elected every year at the same time as other SRC elections. It's available weekly around campus for free and all it's artwork and articles are done by students (this could be you!).
They put together Australia's only weekly student newspaper. They look after the legacy of the oldest student newspaper in Australia (see below, the first edition in 1929). Interested in reporting for Honi Soit? Email email@example.com or (if you're still at O-Week) go visit their stall! Pick up their newspaper around campus or check out the website (honisoit.com) to keep up with the latest student news. The first cover of Honi Soit, 1929 vs Honi Soit in 2017.
collectives The SRC convenes groups of students that form around issues or identities - these are collectives! they're some of the best ways to learn about things you care about and meet some new m8s. Wom*n's Collective (WoCO)
education action group (EAG)
environment collective (enviro)
The University of Sydney Wom*n's Collective (or WOCO, for short) is your place for intersectional feminist activism, education and support on campus. WOCO is an autonomous collective. So if you don’t identify as a man, and hate the patriarchy, welcome aboard.
The Education Action Group is a campus-based collective of activists. We are primarily focused on organising the fight for free education and mobilising against government and localised attacks. We believe that education should be a right, not a privilege for only those who can afford it. This perspective informs much of our work and leads us to other areas of activism.
The Enviro Collective at Sydney is a group of students committed to grassroots organising to protect the diverse ecosystems of this continent. As a part of the Australian Students Environment Network (ASEN) we organise on and off campus to fight destruction and exploitation of the environment. We also love going for bushwalks together and having community dinners.
WOCO organises around issues central to wom*n, such as reproductive rights, sexual assault on campus, and more. We run reading groups, attend rallies together, and hold weekly meetings either in the Wom*n’s Room in Manning, or the Wom*n’s office in the SRC building. We also print two publications yearly: Growing Strong and Wom*n’s Honi. Everything you see and read in these publications is put together by the collective. 2018 is going to be an exciting and productive year for us. In particular, we’re going to continue the fight against sexual assault on campus, mobilise around sexual harassment in workplaces, and try and implement safe access zones around abortion clinics in NSW. We’d love for you to get involved and share your ideas. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or shoot us a message on on our Facebook page ‘The University Of Sydney Women’s Collective’.
The Turnbull government continues to try to cut education funding and make students pay more whilst worsening the quality of our education. On March 21 we will be speaking out on campus for free education and against the government attacks - please join us! This year, the EAG has resolved to take up a range of issues, particularly focusing on anti racist activism. As the far right continues to grow in influence around the world, Islamophobia intensifies and outrageous injustice inflicted upon indigenous people and refugees continues, it has never been a more important time to be an anti racist activist. We meet regularly throughout the semester! Join our Facebook group to get involved: https://www.facebook. com/groups/usydeag/ or contact Lily or Lara, the Education officers at email@example.com.
We empower students to take direct action against logging of old growth forest and opposing the expansion of mining around Australia. On campus, we run workshops and discussion groups about environmental justice, and are committed to exposing the corrupt ties between our university and the fossil fuel industry. We’re an open and welcoming group that runs skill-shares between old and new members to collectively increase our knowledge and power. We believe in anti-hierarchical organising and aim to be anti-capitalist and anticolonial in our approach. We are for climate justice and stand in solidarity with the Indigenous people of this land and with each other. To contact us, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Autonomous collective against racism (acar)
The Autonomous Collective Against Racism (ACAR) is an SRC collective that provides an inclusive safe space with an activist dynamic and support system for those who identify as a ‘person of colour,’ Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander, and/or feel marked or marginalised by white supremacy. We aim to foster a warm, supportive and proactive group to address issues of racism, both within the University and beyond, in our greater communities. Through weekly meetings and the creation of events and projects for both collective members and the wider university community, we hope to open and further discussion and awareness about experiences and issues surrounding racism and white supremacy. ACAR continues to promote and ensure the representation of people of colour and our multitude of experiences through a variety of initiatives over the year. There is also an autonomous Ethnocultural Space in Manning House. For more information email email@example.com. edu.au
Queer action collective (quac)
The USYD Queer Action Collective is a politically active collective which runs campaigns against all kinds of oppression linked to the discrimination of LGBTQ+ people. We hold weekly meetings during which we collectively decide what campaign to run or be a part of, such as the marriage quality campaign, the Manus refugee crisis and the sexual assault campaign. For more info email queer. firstname.lastname@example.org.
disabilities collective & caregivers network
In 2018 the Disabilities & Carers Collective is splitting into the Disabilities Collective and the Caregivers Network. The Disabilities Collective is an autonomous collective for undergraduate students who have a disability, defined by the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities as “long-term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairments which in interaction with various barriers may hinder their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others." This includes people with mental, chronic, or terminal illnesses; people who are neurodivergent; and people who are d/Deaf or hard of hearing, regardless of whether they identify as disabled or as having a disability. The Caregivers Network is an initiative for students who provide substantial informal caregiving support to friends or family members who are disabled. If you’d like to get involved in activism, social events, Disability Inclusion Week, and more, get in touch! You can find our public Facebook page at facebook.com/USYDdisabilities.carers/ and our Twitter at twitter.com/USYDdis. Contact the 2018 OBs Mollie, Ren, and Robin at disabilities.officers@src. usyd.edu.au to be added to either of our secret Facebook groups, or to be added to our mailing list.
The Indigenous Collective is proud to hold well over 300 undergraduate students from The Block to remote Western Australia and up to the Torres Strait. This year, we again want to focus on community and building a stronger student body of culturally engaged Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders. Regular Koori Lunches and many other events will occur throughout the year as we look forward to building the mob. Advocacy is a large part of our duties as SRC office bearers, and we will always help in promoting Indigenous issues, in particular those directly effecting students on campus. We are so thankful of all the ongoing help by the staff members of Mana Yura, the University’s Indigenous student support services team. In particular the team can help with student housing, scholarship assistance, tutoring assistance and everything in between. We are looking forward to a big 2018, and for more Indigenous inclusion at the University. Our email is email@example.com.
international students' collective
The International Student's Collective aims to fight for the rights of international students and help international students' make connections with one another in their home-away-fromhome. Email international.officers@ src.usyd.edu.au or join the USYD International Students' Collective on Facebook for more information. 15
How to respond to a disclosure of sexual assault When someone says they have been sexually assaulted, the first response can define their healing process and greatly impact them following their assault. Your role as a supporter is critical. A response which is supportive, non-blaming and compassionate will help the person feel like they have chosen the right person to speak with. to be the person someone chooses to tell the most awful story of their life is a very honourable place to be. it is also a place of great responsibility. Below are some examples of important things to do and say to someone who tells you they have been sexually assaulted. three key things to say:
this is heard as:
• I'm sorry for what happened.
• I believe you.
• What happened ws a crime.
• This is not your fault
• I will do what i can to help.
• You are not alone.
Do: • • • • •
Listen to the story. Let them express how they feel. Let them cry. Encourage them. Not worry if parts of the story don't add up. • Tell them you are sorry for what happened • Explain what you can do.
• Tell them what to do or try to take over. • Ask them "why" questions: why they were there, why they trusted them. Why questions are blame questions. • Get angry on their behald. They already have enough to deal with without worrying about you. • Assume you know how they feel. Everyone experiences sexual assault differently.
if the sexual assault was recent:
• Consider options for preserving forensic evidence. • Help the person to access counselling and medical services. • Assist them to consider reporting to police.
The decision about what to do is always with the person who has experienced sexual assault.
All information provided is from Rape and Domestic Violence Services Australia. Call the NSW Rape Crisis Hotline at 1800 424 017 to have direct access to trauma specialist councillors from R&DVSA. 16 Artwork by Amelia Mertha.
katie thorburn on accessing the support services available for survivors of sexual assault.
support for survivors of sexual assault
Resources SRC Caseworker and Legal Service Whether you need help making a report to the University or reporting to the police, the SRC Caseworker and Legal Service can help you. Call 9660 5222 to make an appointment. Royal Prince Alfred Hospital Sexual Assault Counselling Service Located at RPA Hospital which is just one street away from main, Darlington/Camperdown, campus. Their service is free and they offer unlimited sessions. They can also help you through the process of accessing victim’s compensation. Their contact number is 9515 9040 or 9515 6111 (24 hrs). Rape and Domestic Violence Services Australia (RDVSA) RDVSA provides free crisis counselling over the phone through the NSW Rape Crisis Line (1800 424 017). 1800 SYD HLP (1800 793 457) This phone line links you up with a number of University services such as security and complaints mechanisms. This may be useful in reporting sexual assault and harassment. We have very little information on how satisfied users are with their experience. Student Liaison Officers A new University service, the Student Liaison Officers are RDVSA counsellors that will be helping survivors access external and internal support and provide incidental counselling. As this is a new service we do not know how satisfied users are with the service. Sex Worker Outreach Project (SWOP) SWOP's mission is to improve the health of all sex workers in NSW and to improve the protection of their human rights. Sex workers can find it difficult in reporting and accessing services regarding sexual assault support. Look at SWOP's website for support services at swop.org.au. Wom*n's Collective The Wom*n's Collective organises to fight for the rights of sexaul assault survivors and to get better services provided by both the government and the University. See page 14 for more information.
You can find more information and start the process by Googling recognition payments, and SARO NSW Police.
You deserve money. You won’t get as much as you deserve, nor equivalent to the devastation that sexual assault creates, however, you can get some compensation. It’s called “recognition payment”. As a primary victim of an act of violence you are eligible to apply for a lump sum as an acknowledgement of the trauma you have suffered. As a victim of sexual assault and/or domestic violence you can claim up to 10 years from the offence, and victims who were under the age of 18 years have no time limit to apply. The amount you can receive is based on the nature of the offence. For sexual assault involving serious bodily injury, involving multiple offenders or the use of a weapon, or patterns of sexual or indecent assault such as multiple incidences over a period of time by the same offender you can receive $10 000. An incident of sexual assault, an attempted sexual assault involving serious bodily injury, grievous bodily harm or the pattern of physical assault of a child can receive $5 000. For indecent assault, or attempted sexual assault involving violence can receive $1 500. In order to claim you will need to file a police report or a report from a government agency such as FACS (Family and Community Services) or NSW Housing AND a medical, dental or counseling report corroborating that you have been injured. As for the police report, you can now file a SARO – Sexual Assault Reporting Option – which is an online form (you can also neatly hand write it and send it via mail or email). This is for if you decide you wish not to report formally to the police. The questionnaire contains a series of questions to ascertain specific information about the offence. There is a section where you can provide a summary in your own words about what happened. Completing a SARO means a formal investigation won’t take place, however, you can always start one by contacting your nearest Police Station; completing SARO does not negate a formal investigation later on. Completing the form may be difficult as you are being asked to recount, in some detail, what happened. You may wish to have a support person with you, or contact a counselling service to support you. It is recommended that you complete the form in a place you feel safe and have some privacy. Whatever you decide to do, know that I hear you, I see you, I believe you and you are courageous and brave whatever you do. Students protest the results of the 2017 Australian Human Rights Commission report that found astonishing levels of sexual assault and harassment on campus. Photo: Green Left Weekly 17
sydney university students have a proud history of fighting for what's right. Learn what people here are fighting for now and what the people before them fought for.
your uni has a radical history march 1960
Following the Sharpeville massacre in South Africa, over 1000 students demonstrated in Sydney against apartheid.
lily campbell on an early history of activism at Sydney university.
july 1964 Students protested discrimination in Australia against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples.
september 1964 Student Action for Aborigines (SAFA) was formed by Sydney University student, Arrente man and Aboriginal activist, Charles Perkins, along with a group of committed students at the University of Sydney.
SAFA and the Freedom Rides bus. University of Sydney archives.
february 1965 march 1968 Fifty students were abused and arrested by police at a demonstration at Martin Place against the Vietnam War.
SAFA organised a bus tour they called the "Freedom Rides" to desegregate rural NSW. Calling attention to the poor state of Aboriginal health, education and housing.
march 1969 An anti-conscription march was held at Orientation Week, drawing hundreds of protestors.
april-may 1969 Students protested, via sit in, the presence of the Sydney University Regiment on campus.
october 1969 Several hundred anti-conscriptionists occupied the main quadrangle overnight.
may 1970 20,000 people assembled in Sydney, while 10,000 marched up Broadway from the University of Sydney protesting the Vietnam War.
1973 The Economic Department saw progressive staff members such as Ted Wheelwright and students work to create a separate Political Economic Department.
august 1973 A month-long staff strike occurs over the University's refusal to allow the creation of a Women's Studies course in the Philosophy Department. Given students' participation in the Women's Liberation movement, it was not surprising that they began demanding university courses relevant to their interests. The power of the staff strike paired with the student campaign for a women's studies course won, and the University was forced to back down. This led to what is now the Department of Gender and Culture Studies.
march 1974 Students were able to make Political Economy a 2-year course through coordinated strikes.
march 1975 Students organised a sit-in at the Vice-Chancellor's office and the University was eventually forced to allow the creation of the political economy department.
july 1975 Students protested discrimination in Australia against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples. Political economy students posing during a protest outside the Quadrangle, 1975. University of Sydney Archives.
A Fair go?
emelia bode looks at australia's hidden injustices.
n Australia the motto of the ‘fair go’ is lauded over the land, yet the truth is anything but. Since this country was established by colonial settlers, the land has been awash with blood and inequality. Refugees are tortured in offshore gulags, denied safety after fleeing from war zones. All the while, ordinary people face economic injustice and a punitive, diminished welfare system.
This country has been built on the back of genocide. From the moment the British flag was raised, brutal colonial war was waged. The British, in their aim to establish capitalism in Australia, did not hold back from even the most abhorrent violence, in attempt to stem the brave resistance of Indigenous people and justify the lie of ‘terra nullius’. State repression towards Aboriginal people morphed but only escalated in the 20th century, as if the first 100 years of invasion weren’t bad enough. The policy for the newly federated government had shifted from open genocide to assimilation, in the hopes that we would die out, and that those children born with a lighter complexion could be “saved” and “reintegrated” into white society. This led to a ramping up of the Stolen Generations, the project of stealing Aboriginal children from their families which destroyed the lives of countless Aboriginal families. Until 1967 Aboriginal people were classified not as human beings, but as flora and fauna.
torture. It was Kevin Rudd who first said that no man, woman or child who fled persecution by boat would ever be settled in Australia. For the refugees and migrants who are brought to Australia, life is made very difficult. There are almost 400 refugees in Australia with temporary visas. Peter Dutton has recently cut welfare for these individuals by $200, proclaiming that the Australian tax payer and government will not fund their living conditions. Women who wear the hijab, or other face veil, and those with Arabic names are often rejected from any stable or well-paying means of employment. Many require welfare payments in order to survive, where they suffer not only the demonization as ‘dole bludgers’ but also having their pay docked, restricted and delayed by the government if they do not attend ‘job active’ meetings with Centrelink. It is not just migrants who face this injustice, but all the most vulnerable, poorest people in society. It’s no coincidence that racism and sexism flourishes while unions lay weak. Racism goes hand in hand with class warfare, in order to divide and rule and distract workers from their real enemies, bosses and governments. Strike days have nose dived from 6.3 million in 1974 to a mere 148,000 work days lost. While unions lie somewhat dormant, bosses and governments are on the offensive, cutting wages and gutting the welfare system.
"there is a urgent need for a revived union movement to fight against injustice"
In 2018, one in four Indigenous Australians are likely to be jailed for minor offences, where they represent more than 24% of the prison population. Aboriginal children, as well, face being uprooted from their homes and culture at higher rates than ever before. This is a continuation of the policy of assimilation and intense state paternalism. Economic injustice is extreme - as of 2016 56 per cent of Indigenous households had incomes less than US$420 per week. Most recently, in the face of continuous state-led violence, the Liberal party has introduced cashless welfare cards. These cards, first administered in remote indigenous communities, severely limit the freedom of recipients, as the cards can only be used to purchase ‘necessities’.
In the past, unions have fought for economic and civil rights such as: the 8-hour day, equal pay, land rights, desegregation, maternity leave, LGBTI rights, sick leave, penalty rates, meal breaks and better working conditions. Radical campaigns of the 60s and 70s were led by unions in Australia, such as the fight against conscription, for free education, the protection of ‘draft dodgers’, against the Vietnam War and against South African apartheid. This was because workers recognised that an attack on any of the oppressed is an attack on all of us. Today, unions are generally reluctant to take up these issues. With inequality and oppression rife in society, there is a urgent need for a revived union movement to fight against injustice. As a student union, we should always support the struggles of workers and the oppressed, in the fight for a genuinely just and equal society.
The intense racism carried out by the Australian state extends furthermore to migrants, particularly Muslims, Arabs and refugees. Both parties of government have a long history of creating a hype of fear to justify their murderous and cruel policies of denying and locking up asylum seekers and demonising migrants. In 2017, 600 male refugees on Manus Island were forcibly removed and sent to another, less-funded camp. These men were cruelly beaten, starved and denied medical assistance, told, yet again, that they will never see Australian soil. Peter Dutton consistently justifies his fascistic actions by claiming that refugees are terrorists, dole bludgers and a danger to Australian values, amongst other slurs. While the Greens have actively spoken out against this racism, the ALP are as complicit as the Liberals in this 20
Staff and students strike for better working conditions in 2017 with Scabby the Rat. Photo: Nicholas Bonyhady for Honi Soit.
Zixiao Chen on why international students shouldn't be paying more for public transport. translator: jacky he.
why we need fair fares
n NSW, full-time university students enjoy into ‘they are never short of money.’ We all come travel concessions, but international stu- from different backgrounds, and starting a life in dents are excluded. As early as July 1989, a strange country is by no means an easy task for the NSW Government stopped issuing many of us – especially when facing rampant exconcession cards to international stu- ploitation in the workplace, poor living conditions dents, after which the half-fare concession and an outrageously expensive rental market. became a privilege exclusively reserved for More importantly, a student’s right to travel conceslocal students. In 2006, the Sydney Universi- sion derives not from whether they could afford their ty Postgraduate Representative Association living, but from their status as a (SUPRA) and a group full-time university student who of international stu- "International students paying is not yet financially independdents took the matfull university fees does not ent. Try to think of universal sufter to the courts. The frage - one has the right to vote NSW Government’s translate into: they are never not because he or she is rich or response was to pass noble, but by virtue of his citizenshort of money." the Transport Adminship of a state. It’s not about fightistration Amendment ing for some extra money to spend. It’s about fight(Travel Concession) Bill 2006, making it le- ing for a right that’s always been rightfully ours. gally justified to continue the discrimination. While the government justifies discrimination by This move has saved the Government at saying we could afford the full fare of everything, least $13 million every year, but is by defini- domestic students are offered concession retion in breach of international students’ equal gardless of their family income. What’s more rights. The former NSW Deputy Premier in- ironic than a government trying to use double sists that the government must ‘target its con- standard to serve the interest of all, as it claims? cession resources to those it considers most in need’, and that international students who Legally, the current policy is in direct violation of the Rapay $40,000 per year for their degrees must cial Discrimination Act 1975 (Cth), as ruled by the NSW be deemed ineligible because ‘they have al- Administrative Decisions Tribunal in 2006. This means ready indicated to the Federal Government, what the government has been doing could be illegal. in obtaining a student visa, that they are fully International students, a community that has been self-sufficient and able to meet their own liv- constantly contributing to the diversity and prosing expenses while in Australia’ (NSW Leg- perity of this great State, stand for equality and islative Assembly Hansard, 6 June 2006). fair treatment for all. We demand the NSW Government extend transport concessions to all Mr Watkins’ statement is not backed by com- full-time international students and we act now. mon sense or logic. International students paying full university fees does not translate 在新南威尔士州，高等院校在读学生依法享受半价乘车优惠。然而在1989年7月，新州政府决定停 止给国际学生更换新的优惠证，其后国际生再无优惠，半价乘车成为本地学生的特权。2006年， 在新州行政仲裁庭(NSW Administrative Decisions Tribunal)提出反对意见后，任副州长迅速起草 法案，通过专门立法，将这一不平等政策写入法案，即《交通管理（公交优惠）修正案 2006 》 (Transport Administration Amendment (Travel Concession) Bill 2006). 这一举措能每年给政府“节省”至少一千三百万澳元开支，却违背了法律赋予每一个人的平等的 权利。新州交通部认为优惠资源必须有针对性，而全额自费的留学生因为在申请签证时已经表明 自己将负担在澳洲的生活开销，故不应当在优惠的考虑范围内。 这套逻辑不仅说不通，而且不合法。学生自费留学，并不代表“不差钱“。虽然留学生中一部分 人的确家境优越，但物力维艰，每个人的背景各不相同。更重要的是，”权利“二字的含义不在 于一个人能不能“付得起”，而在于他/她的大学生身份。正如一个人的选举权来源于他/她的公 民身份，而非家世背景、贫富贵贱，一个全日制大学生享有公交优惠的权利，是因为他/她尚未经 济独立。本地学生一律享受补贴，政府从不过问贫富贵贱。为何到了国际学生，就变成了“付不 付得起”的问题？ 以“学生签证即表示自给自足”的理由剥夺国际生的这项权利，实则混淆视听。政府如此从国 际学生身上谋利，违反了澳大利亚《种族歧视法案（联邦）1975》(Racial Discrimination Act 1975 (Cth))。 路只有靠自己争取才会有。正缘于此，我们作为一支强有力的悉尼大学留学生代表，郑重呼吁新 州政府恢复国际学生的交通优惠，让平等之光照在国际学生这个为这座城市做出了巨大贡献的群 体中来。
how students stopped the war 22
" Across the world, students spearheaded the movement that shifted public opinion, and eventually brought the war machine to a halt. " jack mansell on a history of radical activism at sydney university.
tudent unionism has achieved many victories over the last 50 years, including the recent defeats of Abbott’s $100,000 degrees, and Turnbull’s $2.8 billion cut in 2014 and 2017 respectively. Perhaps the most significant of its achievements though, is the mass movement against the Vietnam War during the late 1960s and early 1970s. In many ways, the pitched battle against the Vietnam War defined an era of student radicalism, both in Australia, and across the world. War in Vietnam was not always unpopular, even amongst the more progressive milieu of students. In 1966, the year that US President Lyndon B. Johnson visited to consolidate Australia’s commitment to the war, an Honi Soit poll indicated that 68 percent of students supported sending troops to Vietnam. And yet, little over three years later, in August 1969, the anti-war side recorded its first majority in a nationwide poll. Across the world, students spearheaded the movement that shifted public opinion, and eventually brought the war machine to a halt. The campaign was an emphatic demonstration of the social and political power of students. In the context of a rising wave of industrial militancy, and social upheaval against racism and women’s oppression, the movement against the Vietnam War imbued a generation of student activists with the politics and determination to fight against all the world’s barbarism and injustices. Public opposition to the war had origins in the labour movement, who had a longstanding tradition of fighting against conscription. As early as 1965, both the Waterside Workers’ Federation and the Building Workers’ Industrial Union had condemned the war. Under Arthur Calwell, the ALP opposed the war, however their stance softened with the ascension of pro-war Gough Whitlam A Vietnam Moratorium demonstration on the front lawn in 1971.
to the party leadership in 1967. Resistance came to national attention in electrifying fashion, when 10,000 protesters blocked LBJ’s motorcade during his visit to Sydney in October 1966 – the impact was such that no sitting US President dared visit for 25 years. In addition to the US President, university students confronted politicians and bigwigs at every opportunity. In July 1968, Sydney University students swamped Australian PM John Gorton. At May Day the following year, NSW Governor Sir Roden Cutler was pelted with tomatoes by angry students during a military parade by the Sydney University Regiment. Mobbing politicians has become a distinct tradition of student activism; recently Scott Morrison, Simon Birmingham, Julie Bishop, and other LNP stooges have been heckled and hassled during the successful campaign against higher education cuts. The Australian ruling class was terrified that the rising wave of radicalism amongst Australian students would reach the heights of rebellion seen in France during May 1968, when student protests ignited the largest general strike in French history. Gorton
responded with increased state repression and police brutality, including the attempted arrest of student activist John Percy for publishing a pamphlet called How Not to Join the Army, urging students to resist conscription. Percy was heroically given refuge by the UNSW SRC, and managed to avoid arrest (on this occasion). Gorton’s hard-line approach enraged students, leading to a series of violent confrontations across the country, particularly in Canberra, where anti-protest laws were enacted to repress students at ANU. International events, including the American anti-war and civil rights movements, the Prague Spring, and the May days in France, stimulated great confidence and enthusiasm amongst activists in Australia. With the tide of public opinion turning in 1969, the protest movement against the war escalated dramatically. The year began at Sydney University with a demonstration of 1,000 students in O-week. In November, the Vietnam Moratorium Campaign had been established to emulate the mass protests in the US. The Vietnam Moratorium marches were the pinnacle of the anti-war movement, and served to solidify public opposition towards the war. The first Moratorium was the largest anti-war protest in Australian history at the time, surpassing the anti-conscription marches during 1916 and 1917. On May 8, 1970, hundreds of thousands marched against the Vietnam War, including around 50,000 in Sydney. Of the Sydney marchers, 10,000 were university students who had gathered on Eastern Avenue, chanting “1, 2, 3, 4, we don’t want your fucking war”, and “How many kids have you killed today?”. Only a month after the third Moratorium march in June 1971, PM Billy McMahon announced the withdrawal of all Australian combat troops. The campaign had decisively changed public opinion and forced the government to accept its key demand. Under the threat of mass rebellion within the army, and the similar political toxicity of the war at home, the US announced its withdrawal in January 1973. The anti-war movement had dealt a fatal blow to the military campaign in Vietnam, and the Viet Cong declared victory in 1975. Mass activism against the Vietnam War taught students and ordinary people how to fight. In the ensuing years, students and striking workers at Sydney University won Women’s Studies and Political Economy courses, contributed to the fight for Aboriginal rights and against apartheid. The world is still in constant turmoil. The victories that we have won are under constant attack. Racism, war, inequality, and sexism are still rife today. We have many lessons to learn from the generations that have preceded us about the role students can play in politics. There has never been a more urgent need for a revival of mass struggle like that against the Vietnam War. In the face of all the ongoing injustices and barbarism of the world, the only option is to fight back.
A notice for the Moratorium printed in Honi Soit, 1971.
hen you take a look at the current state of refugee affairs in Australia it can be incredibly overwhelming to think about how we can actually make any positive changes. You may have thought along the lines of: how is going to a protest going to get people out of detention? Or, how is signing a petition going to improve the lives of refugees? Your scepticism is completely understandable, but I’m here to tell you these actions do create change. Because it has been done before. 18 years ago, amidst an atmosphere of public distain towards refugees, figures such as Pauline Hanson were able to force their way into positions of power. This spelt disaster for those seeking asylum in Australia. The late 90’s saw the implementation of Temporary Protection Visas by immigration minister Philip Ruddock, expansion of detention centres and the opening of Woomera detention centre in November 1999. The situation for those seeking asylum in Australia worsened in September 2001, with the implementation of “The Pacific Solution”. This ‘solution’ saw that, instead of being allowed to reach mainland Australia, all unauthorised asylum seekers were to be sent to detention centres in the Pacific Islands. Following a series of tragic events resulting in the death of asylum seekers, public distain for the treatment of asylum seekers began to grow. In July 2002 the UN Report on Mandatory Detention was released, outlining the injustice and suffering being caused through the Australian government’s policies.
queer officer Jazzlyn Breen reminds us of the importance of activism and how the refugee movement closed the offshore processing centres in the past.
slowly gained union support. Leaflets explaining the horrific conditions and situation for refugees aimed at swaying public and union support were circulated to help the movement gain traction. Public speeches from union members and eventually members of the Labor party spoke out against the treatment of refugees. Even hunger strikes and snap actions by activists had an influence in making change. Eventually the combination of these direct actions, the spread of information and union pressure wore down the Liberal government and created positive changes. Public pressure and the union movement was able to break Labor’s support for offshore processing. With the bipartisan support for offshore processing broken, Nauru was closed with the election of Rudd.
'Eventually the combination of these direct actions, the spread of information and union pressure wore down the Liberal government and created positive changes.'
In response to the government's treatment of people seeking asylum in Australia, Refugee Action Collectives (RAC) began to pop up all around the country. The actions these groups took in connection with the unions and the larger public were ultimately successful in helping to close detention centres and improve the lives of asylum seekers. But how did they do this? The short answer to this complicated question is that people power and unions forced the government to change their policies. The details are more complicated, however, it is overwhelmingly clear that the actions of activists played an vital role in creating positive change.
So, what exactly changed through these actions?
Multiple detention centres were closed, including Curtin detention centre in August 2002, Woomera in April 2003, Port Hedland in June 2004, Baxter in August 2007 and the last refugees left Nauru in February 2008. Temporary protection Visas were removed under the Rudd government in 2008. However, many of these changes have been undone, such as the re-introduction of TVPs in 2013 and the reopening of many detention centres. It’s important to note that before the above positive changes occurred, John Howard had the same rhetoric as Turnbull saying “refugees will never step foot on Australian soil, they have to go elsewhere” – but other countries were not prepared to take on what was seen as Australia’s responsibility. In 2005 almost everyone on Nauru was brought here to mainland Australia, with whole families still living here today. If the policies of the Howard government were able to be changed despite this disheartening rhetoric, the current Turnbull government can also be forced to change. Looking at the past we can see that activism has a massive impact on the decisions of the government. A shift in public opinion needs to be followed up by mass public action forcing the government to change their policies towards refugees.
As the public became more aware of the realities faced by asylum seekers trying to reach Australia, campaign groups across the country formed to fight the government’s policies and treatment of refugees. Groups such as ‘Teachers for Refugees’ and ‘Nurses for Refugees’ were created in work places, and the movement Interested in fighting for the rights of refugees and asylum seekers? We have a collective for that! Join the Campus Refugee Action Collective (CRAC). Find the group on Facebook under 'USYD CRAC Organising Group' to see when meetings or campaigns are happening. 24
Protests outside Woomera detention centre, 2013. Photo: Sydney Morning Herald.
ural and Regional students know well how neoliberalism makes life hard, impoverished and uncertain. A crisis in access to public services, education and decent, stable and well-paying jobs are the hallmarks of a National Party leaving country Australia behind. With the University of Sydney smack bang in the middle of the trendy and gentrified inner suburbs of Sydney, rural and regional students are forcibly thrust into the thick of this unworkable and unliveable economy. What I, and so many other students who hail from outside of Sydney, realise is that our government and university management don’t just do nothing to help, they actively make life worse. Our institutions fail us in countless ways and we need to all be active in student and trade unions if we want to fight back.
My home town of Lismore is 12 hours by train from Central Station. To attend the University of Sydney and live with my parents like so many Sydney raised students do is impossible. Rural students are forced to struggle in an unbearable housing market that locks students and working class people out of the right to a home. Many families consider colleges and student accommodation on campus as a good transition option for rural students getting used to solo life in big city. However, along with a culture of privilege, sexual assault and hazing, colleges are vastly unaffordable for the vast majority of rural students. None of the colleges on campus charge less than $600 per week for a single room and no less than $400 per week for a shared room. Student accommodation on campus is not much better and is mostly privately owned. Darlington Terraces is the cheapest of the limited university owned housing options charging $210 a week for a small room. The saving grace is STUCCO, charging $92 a week, however it can only fit 40 people.
in public housing, with waiting times for public housing in the inner west over 10 years long (NSW FACS, 2018) and none of this is set aside for students. There is not nearly enough for Indigenous Australians who are priced out of living on their land that was stolen. It is clear the government needs to end tax breaks for property investors and build mass nationalised public housing to provide homes for all who need it. The university management needs to stop paying their executives millions of dollars and investing in flashy ad campaigns and house their students instead.
LOW INCOMES, UNSTABLE WORK
The maximum Youth Allowance payment per week is $270. This barely covers the overwhelming majority of rents at student accommodation places let alone covers food, transport and social life. The total inadequacy of the welfare state forces students to work during their studies. Working people in this country are in crisis. The economy is growing but none of that created wealth is going to the people who created it – the working class. Young people face the worst jobs market since the great depression, with casualisation and rampant wage theft becoming the norm. Every year it gets harder and harder to survive in a city like Sydney. When I first moved to Sydney the first job I worked in was for a telemarketing company. It was a 2.5 hour round trip to get to work. I only worked 3 shifts there as they stopped contacting me and didn’t pay me for the shifts I worked, despite me giving them my bank details on the first day. I have heard stories of wage theft, underpayment and insecure work from every single one of my friends from the bush who moved to Sydney. The Liberal government and the bosses are stealing from us, stealing our wages, stealing our penalty rates and are stealing our right to a decent standard of living. We need to give more powers to unions to go on strike, young people need to join their union and we need to get rid of this Liberal government who exist to smash workers rights and put us all in poverty.
PAYING MORE FOR A WORSE QUALITY OF EDUCATION
Our university management likes to market Sydney University as one of the best in the world. Sure, it is great, we all chose this university for a reason. But, despite the best efforts of educators and workers, university really is starting to become a rip off. Our university management is cutting the number of degrees from 122 to 20 in an attempt to turn our university into a soulless degree factory. They’ve closed Sydney College of the Arts and merged faculties. They have tried, and at times succeeded in, sacking, casualising and cutting the conditions of university staff. This directly affects the learning conditions of Sydney Uni students.
rural students fight back
SRC Councillor, harry gregg, on the challenges rural and regional students face at uni.
At the same time, the Liberal government is increasing univerOur government sity fees, cutting tertiary education funding by $2.8bn and lowis failing to invest ering the HECS repayment threshold to $42,000. Students are shackled by a lifetime of debt. Under our neoliberal economic Photo I took overlooking the and university governance system students are paying more Northern Rivers when I moved out. and getting less.
what's the nteu and why should you care? 26
education officer Lara Sonneschein interviews joe collins, a student teaching fellow in the political economy department and member of the national tertiary education union (NTEU) to gauge his thoughts on the NTEU, the university and staff-student solidarity. What made you join the NTEU? It was the realisation that it’s not just about individuals and your ability to bargain with your employer as an individual. There are institutional pressures that shape your conditions and the way to try and level the playing field is to act collectively. We can’t pretend like the University isn’t mobilising a huge, well-funded, well-resourced attack – we’re talking about lawyers and managers and the entire weight of the institution itself and its ability to cut off your employment and shape the way you’re employed. With that in mind, I saw joining a union as a pretty rational step. What do you think is the most pressing issue amongst staff? It’s hard to pick one. One of the most pressing issues is the changes to workload models. There are institutional pressures to try and relax the workload model that we’ve had in place for quite some time. For example, there’s a move toward creating more teaching-focused roles which take away from the research side of things, and this is based on a prevailing wisdom that you can separate teaching and research, which is just completely false and treats it as a dichotomy. Another key one, and again, this is an industry wide thing and that is the trend towards casualisation. If we’re going to be in a workplace that is increasingly casualised, we need to protect the most vulnerable people in the institution. What do you feel are strengths and weaknesses of the NTEU? I suppose it comes down to membership on both counts. We’ve seen declining rates of union density across not just the tertiary sector, but a bunch of different industries. There are certain structural factors here at play which don’t permit us to have the same kinds of density that were once possible. This is particularly, because of the rising services sector, because you’re not all usually employed in the same place for extended periods and it’s hard to foster some kind of collective mentality where you actually get something out of the union. I think the tertiary sector is uniquely placed because we are all in the same place, albeit at different times. So I think the case for joining the NTEU has perhaps been stronger than for other unions, particularly in Sydney given it is such a strong branch compared to other universities, and we’ve had big wins for rights here that have disappeared in other universities a long time ago.
"Staff working conditions are student learning conditions. It seems pretty obvious that there are points at which we need to collaborate."
One of the problems is that, of about 2000-2500 members at the University where you’ve got 12,000 employees, you probably get about 150-200 who are active. Now everyone loves to get active during the campaign, during EBA negotiations, because it’s exciting, you get the students involved, everyone wants to get arrested at the pickets and all this sort of stuff and that’s great, but then what happens in the three-year interim? They want to get involved during the pickets and the rallies and that’s all good fun, but when it comes to enforcing the rights that you’ve won through a sustained, protracted enforced campaign, all of a sudden nobody turns up. There is strength in membership, but one of the things that needs to happen is to recruit. There’s a reason why we can’t employ more full time organisers, there’s a reason why the ability of the union staff to coordinate campaigns has declined over the years, because if the membership drops you don’t have the money that can pay for them. What do you think of the Enterprise Bargaining Agreement that was recently signed and what was your experience of the recent 2017 strike? I don’t think you’re ever going to be completely happy with an enterprise agreement, simply because there’s a structural imbalance in terms of the negotiation process. The University will always have the upper hand. This doesn’t mean that there isn’t a cause for optimism or hope in terms of the way that you can influence these things, the point being that it’s always going to be an uneasy compromise. On the whole, it was disappointing that we couldn’t push the pay rise to a level that was above inflation, but at the same time we led the industry in terms of the pay deal that we were able to secure. This doesn’t make it okay though, because we’re still living in one of the most expensive cities in the world and the University is absolutely brimming with money. I mean have a look at the physical signs of how much the University ac-
tually has – look at the amount of cranes that are up. So the money is obviously there, the ways in which it’s being spent – that’s all part of the contest that dragged on for over 12 months. How should students and staff get involved with one another and support each other through campaigns? I mean look at the 2017 slogan. Staff working conditions are student learning conditions. It seems pretty obvious that there are points at which we need to collaborate. It definitely involves students turning up and coming to members’ meetings and that sort of thing which I personally welcome, particularly in the last meeting, I saw student groups that turned up and I think that’s a fantastic thing. So, if there are things that are student led that staff have the opportunity to help with, I think, it’s about creating those lines of communications, and I think we’re pretty good at that. The people that are active within the branch often have come from the student body, they’ve got those personal connections. Again, I think it needs to be done on a campaign-by-campaign basis and I think the enforcement campaigns for the enterprise agreement are going to have plenty of opportunities for that sort of thing. It’s not all about handing out flyers all the time, I think it’s also about, as staff in the institution, what we can do in corridors, not just creating awareness, but telling people, confronting colleagues. What do you think about the NTEU and unions more broadly supporting social movements? Recently, unions have come out in support of issues such as marriage equality and refugee rights. I mean I’m very proud to be involved in a union that is quite active in engaging with broader political issues. There is an argument that some make from the sort of older union days that unions represent workers’ interests and nothing else, but that to me, removes the workforce from its social context. You can’t tell me that workers’ rights don’t intersect with broader political issues, such as marriage equality and refugee rights and everything else that’s going on in the world today. It just makes no sense to try and separate the two.
Last year University staff went on strike to lobby for better working conditions from the University. Photos: Honi Soit.
The STATE OF ABortion
hen it comes to women’s rights, the historical norm always seems to be two steps forward, and three steps back. Recently, we’ve seen some progress in terms of sexual assault on a macro-level with the #MeToo movement. Thanks to the tireless work of activists, there’s also traction on a micro-level on campus, where the conversation around sexual violence has shifted significantly in a positive direction
The SRC's WOM*N's Officers, Madeline Ward and jessica syed, on why they are fighting for reproductive rights.
unwanted pregnancies find themselves. Naturally, those most vulnerable and most marginalised in our society are thrown under the bus: women, transgender men, sex workers – the list goes on.
The Sydney University Women’s Collective will, as it always has, fight earnestly for reproductive autonomy. This year will be campaigning fiercely in support of Penny Sharpe’s proposed amendments to the Summary Offences Act 1988 (NSW) which, when passed in the legislative assembly, will ensure Safe Access Zones to abortion clinics. We will work towards In terms of reproductive rights at least in New South Wales, it’s a second attempt at decriminalisation in NSW. And a third, fourth and fifth much more regressive. attempt, if necessary. We will always wholeheartedly support the right to choose. Technically, under sections 82 and 84 of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW), it is a criminal offence for a doctor to give the go-ahead to an abortion unless “the woman’s doctor believes on reasonable With thanks to Family Planning NSW for information. grounds that it is necessary to avoid a serious danger to her life or her physical or mental health, taking into account economic and • It is legal in NSW to get an abortion if your doctor believes on social factors as well as medical ones, and the risks of the abortion reasonable grounds that the pregnancy and/or birth would be a are not out of proportion to the danger to be averted”. serious danger to your life, or your physical or mental health. • There are two methods of abortion available in NSW: surgical These confines seem relatively easy to get around. But let’s not abortions and medical abortions. forget that in 2005, the NSW Supreme Court found Dr Suman • Surgical abortions involve being lightly sedated and is a safe, simSood guilty of administering an abortion illegally, as the court beple and low risk procedure when done by an experienced doctor. lieved she had not satisfied one of the above elements. It takes about 15 minutes. Some clinics may not be able to terminate a pregnancy after 12 weeks, though others can terminate The idea that abortion should be available on demand is not inuntil 20 weeks. congruent with the fact that this country prides itself on having an • Medical abortions are an alternative to surgical abortions. These esteemed universal healthcare system. Yet evidently doctors and involve taking a pill while you are at home leading to similar effects patients alike are still at risk of legal penalty . as a miscarriage. Most women experience bleeding and cramping, though the extent varies. Cramping last for about 24 hours. That doesn’t mean that there hasn’t been a pushback against the • The cost of abortion in NSW varies depending on the clinic, the archaic law. In 2017, Mehreen Faruqi MLC, put a bill to the legislasort of termination procedure you choose, how pregnant you are tive assembly which would have had the effect of decriminalising and whether you have a health care card. Many clinics will include abortion in New South Wales. Whether it be because the bill did a Medicare rebate, so you should call around to enquire about not have numerical support with the current parliament, or bethe cost. cause the majority of the current parliament actually espouse a • Family Planning NSW can provide more advice about what choice deeply misogynistic ideology, the bill did not pass. is right for you. Talking to a reproductive nurse is confidential. Call 1300 658 886. It is ridiculous that these are the circumstances in which those with
getting an abortion: the facts
Photo credit: Justine Landis-Hanley for Honi Soit, 2017.
the src's Ethnocultural officers, tanushri saha, tanya ali, geneve bullo and nischeta velu, on why they won't stop fighting for better representation of people of colour.
Why representation matters
t’s 2018. We’re two years away from 2020: a year that recently felt so far away that politicians felt comfortable setting it as a benchmark year by which they’d magically get their shit together and implement a bunch of smart and progressive social policy (spoiler alert: probably not going to happen). Hoverboards exist, though not in quite the way we always imagined. With every second that ticks by, Black Mirror hits that bit closer to home. And yet, every other week, the overwhelmingly white Australian media still asks inane questions like, “Are we a racist country?” and “Why does representation matter?” The importance of representation is only ever questioned by those who have grown up seeing versions of themselves – or of what they could be – reflected everywhere they look. The experience of feeling alienated and invisible each time you flick on the television is not one to be wished upon anybody. But for people of colour – not to mention a myriad of others, for instance people who identify as queer, trans, non-binary, disabled, or otherwise marginalised – it is something of the everyday, something that we learnt not to even question when we were far too young.
proximately 0.035%. It may be uninspiring and often far from glamorous, but politics is where big strides can truly be made. Without a doubt, the mere existence of Penny Wong has inspired many an Asian/queer/female/all of the above human. But we need so much more diversity across government and opposition – no one, or eight, people can balance representing entire First Nations or immigrant communities, let alone the immensely heterogenous group of ‘Australians of Colour,’ while doing their best to balance the opinions of those within their electorates. The burden of representation is a heavy one to bear, especially where honest and caring representation is your literal job description. We deserve to see ourselves being represented at all levels of government. We deserve to see ourselves in daggy rom-coms, high-powered thrillers, and everything in between. We deserve to hear ourselves on the radio, envelop ourselves in stories that we entirely relate to and ones that couldn’t be further from our experience alike.
'We deserve to see ourselves being represented at all levels of government. We deserve to see ourselves in daggy rom-coms, high-powered thrillers, and everything in between.'
For us in our late teens, twenties and beyond, with the plethora of technological tools we are lucky enough to have at our disposal, representation is changing. In terms of the small screen, organisations like Netflix, Buzzfeed and Youtube are spotlighting a whole new generation of content creators who push boundaries simply by making stories true to themselves. Art shows and best of the year lists are slowly but surely – talent is being recognised, and we are making our way up in the creative industries.
The question shouldn’t ever be “Why does representation matter?,” but instead “How can we do better?” Because we can, we are, and we will. There are countless stories, experiences and histories to be heard. Even the smaller decisions we make as individuals — who we give a quick listen to on Spotify when looking out for new music, who we vote for at the next election, or which movie we decide to next see at the cinemas — contribute to the way that we empower people of colour and enhance the representation of our diverse perspectives. For the marginalised who are expected to be endlessly grateful, to take up as little space as possible, mere tolerance is no longer to be accepted. Everyone deserves a seat at the table.
But the viewers who get to see these incredible and quietly groundbreaking shows are not always the people who need it the most. Accessibility is vital. For us people of colour, seeing ourselves from a young age can inspire us, boost our self-worth and minimise internalised racism. Simultaneously, positive and varied representation can have a hugely positive effect on white people too. Exposure to characters, stories, and perspectives different to ours can actively change the way people feel about and interact with those they see as different. As difficult as it may be to effect change within it, the political sphere is an important space for progress. In the Australian Federal Parliament, for instance, there are about eight representatives of colour across the Senate and House of Reps – that’s eight out of a whopping two hundred and twenty six, ap-
Artwork by Amelia Mertha. 29
fighting our degree factories 30
education officer lily campbell on the neoliberalisation of universities, how it screws students and how to fight back. What is neoliberalism?
The term neoliberalism is broadly used to refer to an economic theory and practice established in the 1980s with the rise of Thatcher, Reagan and Hawke in response to a slump in the global economy aft er the boom of the 60’s & 70’s. The response from the ruling classes was to attack and break up unions, cut social spending and begin a massive push towards the privatisation of many publicly owned or subsidised institutions in an effort to maintain their profits. Bosses demanded that everything must be paid for not by governments, but by the end user. Through the Accord, the right to strike was severely impacted. A new economic narrative was constructed to justify these attacks, subsuming everything to the “efficiency of private industry” and the invisible hand of the market.
Education and the economy
The education system, since its establishment, has always been a tool to meet the demands of capital for an educated workforce. The university system represents a demand for higher skilled and specialised workers, and for the training of elements of the middle class necessary for the running of capitalism, such as lawyers and doctors. Gradually, this increase in demand for skilled workers has resulted in a social expectation that to get a decently paying job, one needs a university education. Now, 31% of Australians have attained a Bachelor’s Degree or higher. Despite the potential gains of a degree, neoliberalised education has meant that the majority of students spend decades in debt, often finding it difficult to get work in the field of their choice and receive with little to no support from the government. All the while, those born into wealth barely think about the cost of such an education. In addition to massive increases in cost, universities have become corporatised, increasingly tailoring their courses to meet the needs of business, and cutting those that aren’t “cost effective”, typically arts programs. More and more, universities are also managed by capitalists directly, with many universities having board members that come from the upper echelons of big corporations. Universities today are entirely set up from start to finish in order to best churn through students as fast as possible, the better to maximise profits.
It hasn’t always been this way
In 1973, university was made free of cost for students by the Whitlam Labor government. This was not simply a kind, left wing gift from Whitlam. It was due, in part, to the major radicalisation of the 60s. Students were internationally united
in opposition to the Vietnam War. This campaign helped forge a new generation of young activists whose militancy and deepening criticism of the capitalist system as a whole transformed the Australian political landscape. Student demands for free education spread to broader society from campuses across the country. In 1973, the world plunged into recession, and governments around the world turned to neoliberalism, as a means of propping up falling profits. When Whitlam was sacked in 1975, this neoliberal transformation of universities was just beginning. The Fraser government made heavy cuts to education, but it wasn’t until the Hawke Labor government took power that the push to corporatise universities really began. 1989 marked the end of the period of free education for domestic students and the introduction of HECS. Hawke’s education minister, John Dawkins, championed the ‘user pays’ neoliberal logic that saw students transformed into customers. Students became burdened with making up for the decreased public funding, and were saddled with ever rising debt. This neoliberal restructure of the 1980s, directed by Labor, created an overworked and increasingly casualised teaching staff and shaped universities into the highly corporate bodies they are today.
ber of government funded places and make students pay back debts when they’re earning just $45,000 per year. The consequence of these proposed government cuts will be students paying more for a worsening quality of education. Furthermore, because it is too politically dangerous for governments to attempt wholesale deregulation, universities have begun to deregulate ‘through the back door’, in the form of university restructures. These restructures have happened and are happening all over the country, following the ‘Melbourne model’ and expanding upon it. At the University of Sydney, the number of courses offered will plummet from 122 to 20 and a four year course will replace the current 3 year arts and science courses. This increases the cost of a degree by 33% and forces anyone wanting specialisation in their degree to do postgraduate study, which is already deregulated. Furthermore, faculties considered not profitable are under attack - as seen in the attempted closure of Sydney College of the Arts, in which students were kept in the dark for up to two years on the decision of management to shut down the campus.
Another way that universities have sought to increase profits is in the introduction of full fee paying places and the massive exploitation of international students. International students make up roughly a quarter of enrolments in Australia and generate about $4.1 billion dollars in revenue for For the last four years, the Liberals have insisted that deregula- universities. The neoliberal transformation of the university tion has been taken off the table, but the cuts continue. Currently, system has converted higher education into an export inthe Turnbull government wants to freeze funding, cut the num- dustry based on international student demand. In 2014, the Liberal government under Abbott introduced policies of fee deregulation and 20% funding cuts for universities. However, thanks to militant student mobilizations of thousands, both of these policies were blocked in the Senate.
Despite the trajectory of neoliberalism in education, it is not an inevitability that deregulation happens. Resistance on a mass scale, and cooperation between staff and students can and has turned back these attacks. This can be seen by looking at our radical history and looking to overseas examples such as the Quebecois and Chilean student movements. We must be focused on rebuilding fighting student unions, engaging students in activism and taking on the government and university management. Whether its Labor or the Liberals in government, we must be militant and oppositional, as both parties have proven themselves to be committed to the neoliberalisation of education. Similarly, as CEOs of the degree factory, our interests conflict with those of university management. We will not gain anything without a fightback against these institutions.
Students protest attempts at fee deregulation by then PM, Tony Abbott and Education Minister Christopher Pyne, 2014. Right: ABC; above: Daily Telegraph.
On the front lines against coal 32
natalie berry, One of THE SRC's Environment Officers, reports from the front lines in the fight against coal.
fficer Brighton unbolts the door. I blink for half a minute, then I’m ushered out of the white-yellow room into the light. The arresting officer and I joke as he takes my fingerprints (10 fingers and full hand), and our strange, antagonistic dance continues. He clearly despises me, but we stay on good terms to pass the time. We’re caught in an ideological battle, fought out in real time through quips and friendly insults. I wash the black gunk from my hands and sign my bail conditions. He asks me, “Was it worth it? Driving all the way from Sydney just to end up here?“ I decline to answer. He drops me on the street with my shoes in a bag, harness and four charges in my hand. I’ve just been arrested for stopping coal trains passing over Aurizon rail in Birri country (Central Queensland). Aurizon own all the rails around here. Trains are running 24/7, hurtling coal from more than 20 open cut mines in the Bowen Basin to the Abbot Point port for export. This in itself terrifies me - I’m humbled that stopping their movement for only 8 hours probably interrupted the transport of tens of thousands of tonnes of coal. Mining of this coal, from just down the road, has already devastated the local area. But there are plans to extend the rail all the way out West to the proposed Carmichael mine (for the infamous Adani), onto Wangan and Jagalingou land. The
' he asks me: "was it worth it? Driving all the way from Sydney just to end up here?" I decline to answer.'
Carmichael mine will be the largest of nine coal mega-mines proposed for the Galilee Basin over the next few years. Altogether, over 150 million tonnes of coal could be extracted. Other industries such as coal seam gas are likely to soon follow. My home for the past week or so has been the Frontline Action on Coal (FLAC) blockade. Here, non-violent direct action is planned extensively, logistics are organised, and secret movements are undertaken in the dead of night. Life at camp is a mix of passion – we are all here in unspoken agreement that these mines must be stopped at all costs – and mutual support and consensus. The camp operates under principles of sharing knowledge and experience, respecting each other un-
conditionally, and dismantling unjust hierarchies. This allows us to work and live together – breathing in a microcosm of the better world we wish to create - and utilise our diversity of backgrounds and skills to campaign together. Coming here, I’ve met with old friends, and forged new connections. I joined with concerned people from all around colonial ‘Australia’ to prevent the expansion of dangerous extractive industries into the Galilee. We are fighting to resist the exploitation of this land’s ecosystems and pollution of finite land and water. In doing so, we aim to be united in solidarity with the legitimate owners of the land – the Wangan and Jagalingou people, in stopping all parts of this destructive business. My action was particularly aimed at blocking the extension of the Aurizon rail, but there is much, much more to do. Coal mining in the Galilee is reckless environmental vandalism. The profit-driven project, if allowed to happen, will be the second biggest fossil fuel expansion proposed anywhere in the world. We are harming our chances of long term survival on this planet. Yet, I truly believe that the people are on the path to success. By recreating a society based on anti-oppression of the environment and of ourselves, we are actively envisioning and building sustainable alternative. I am honoured to be a part of the growing process to hold big businesses and our governments to account. Being involved in direct action was gratifying and empowering. I’m proud that my time in police custody will go down on record as having helped prevent fossil fuels destroying the planet. I’ll certainly be back.
Natalie's protest. Photos: Natalie Berry and Front Line Action on Coal.
how chilean students fought back 34
Clara de costa riedel on the chilean students' movement and what we can learn from it.
he Chilean student movement was the largest mobilisation seen by the country since the campaign for democracy in the 1980s. The energy and fearlessness of a generation without living memory of the bloody 17 year Pinochet dictatorship, inspired a nation to fight for a fair, democratic and public education system, and challenged the very foundations of neoliberalism. The movement is significant not only because of its demands, but because of the highly democratic way in which it was organised, its creative execution and its ability to engage broader social groups in the struggle. Chile has one of the most neoliberal education systems in the world. During the military dictatorship of General Pinochet, financial responsibility for public primary and secondary schools was transferred to the municipal level and subsidies were handed out to private institutions. University education was opened up to the market. Private universities, offering substandard education at extortionate prices, now dominate the sector. Student fees are higher than most OECD countries and the loan system is controlled by transnational banks who lend out money at interest rate over triple the rate of inflation. The result is that children from poorer areas languish in under-funded public schools, while the children of the rich enjoy top notch private tuition. If they are lucky enough to get to university, most students will be shackled with debt for the rest of their lives. It was to this backdrop in 2006 that the first wave of student protests began in the high schools of Santiago.
The Penguin Revolution
So named because of the black and white uniforms of the students involved, the Penguin Revolution brought education to the centre of the political arena. Initially students rallied around modest demands for travel passes and free university placement tests. As the movement grew in size and popularity, these were expanded to ending the commodification of education. Students held mass assemblies to ensure organisation was done along democratic lines. These organising meetings were vastly popular, at one stage attracting over 800 students to a single meeting. At its height, 500,000 students and 90% of high schools in the capital were involved in strikes, street demonstrations and occupations. Although the movement faded out as students became trapped in negotiations with government ministers, these high schoolers forced the centre left Bachelet administration to acknowledge that inequality in education was real.
The Chilean Winter
The second wave of student protests reached its peak in the Chilean Winter of 2011. The Piñera administration further attacked education by ramping up privatisation of the sector. In response, students called a National Day of Action on May 12 in which 100,000 students across the country participated. They demanded an end to the marketization of education, a reduction in student debt, increased funding to public universities, the democratisation of education institutions and that all this be paid for by recuperating national resources and increasing taxes on the rich. Mass organising assemblies were once again a prominent feature of the movement. On June 30 the students called a general strike. 100 high schools across Santiago were occupied and hundreds of thousands, included parents and teachers, took to the streets. The protests were lively and creative. Demonstrations were carnival themed with people in full body paint, music and dancing throughout. Other examples include a kiss-a-thon, el gagazo (a Lady Gaga themed dance-a-thon) and flash mobs of mass suicides to mourn the death of education in Chile. The pressure these actions generated was so high that Piñera was forced to sack his minister for education. The student movement was actively supported by various labour groups such as the Central Union of Workers (CUT), the National Teachers' Union, University Student Federations, and the Public Servant National Association. This support culminated in the CUT calling a 48 hour general strike involving 80 different labour
A march in support of educational reform, Santiago, August 2011. (Photo by Aliosha Marquez/Associated Press.)
"At its height, 500 000 students and 90% of high schools in the capital were involved in strikes, street demonstrations and occupations." groups on August 24-25. It was estimated that this cost the Chilean economy $200 million per day. 600,000 people demonstrated across the country as part of the strike. In 2013 the centre left coalition, the Concertación, won the election and two leaders of the student movement, Camila Valleja and Gabriel Boric were elected to the senate.
Back to the Streets
Wary of the new government co-opting the slogans of the movement and turning them into band-aid reforms, students and teachers took to the streets again in 2014, calling out the inadequate reforms offered by the Concertación. In recognition of the importance of solidarity with the Teachers Union, the students added a call for better pay and an end to subcontracting of university staff to the demands from 2011. This demand was won at several institutions. In April 2015, a demonstration was called jointly by the National Teachers' Union and the Chilean Confederation of University Students. University occupations followed across the country, then leading to the teachers union calling an indefinite strike in June. The slogan “Ni corruptos ni empresorios, que Chile decida su educación” (neither the corrupt nor the businessmen, Chile will decide its education) was taken up by hundreds of thousands. This was a call not just for reform, but for a radical reorganisation of how education would be realised in Chile – from a market driven, class-divided system, to a system based on mass democracy and community participation. The student movement captured the attention and sympathy of the nation and forced the Concertación government to reform education. Students from low income families are now entitled to a government scholarship covering the cost of education and four out of five students now are entitled to free travel passes. Although this falls well short of the demand for fully free and democratic education, the success of the movement should be measured by the impact it had on Chilean society. Students, teachers, parents and workers were brought together to imagine a different way of organising education. The deeply democratic, participatory and creative way in which the movement conducted itself provided a glimpse of what this could look like. High school students protest by dragging their desks into the school quad during the 2006 “Penguin Revolution.” (Photo by Antitezo.)
s I write this I’m sitting next to a pack of gentlemen on the bus who seem to have just bought bags of Australian flags, green and yellow cups and white zinc and are organising their booze up on the 26th of January. Oh how patriotic. However, what I wonder is do they really know what the 26th represents? If I asked them what really happened on the 26th of January 1788 what would they say? I am positive they wouldn’t tell me it’s the day the First Fleet came and invaded the land and the British slaughtered many Indigenous Peoples. Peoples of one of the oldest and most peaceful cultures in the world.
akala newman, one of the src's indigenous officers, on the endurance of indigenous peoples and the disrespect of australia day. to have our true dark history written in the history books, to have Aboriginal artworks displayed in every building and on every sidewalk, to have more Aboriginal faces on the cover of magazines and to have more statues commemorating Aboriginal strength and resilience. I want songs played on the radio and I want to hear more people speak the truth about our culture and our history. I want to see more people having the courage to wake up and say what is happening in our country is wrong. January the 26th is a day of survival for all Aboriginal people. It’s the day the First Fleet came in 1877, raped the women, killed the men and took the children. It’s the day they tried to wipe us out as a whole. But here we still stand and it’s the day we hold hands and say we are still here, we exist and we will never disappear.
'One day there will be enough strength within our country to have our true dark history written in the history books'
If I asked them, how would you feel if someone came into your house, took all your family away, destroyed your home, and then celebrated that day by getting drunk listening to Triple J (or M) and having a barbeque? They would look at me like I’m a weirdo or as many people on social media have simply put it, is for me to "get over it."
I will cover my ears to Tony Abbott stating: “What happened on the 26th of January, 1788, was on balance, for everyone, Aboriginal people included, a good thing.” Genocide and theft is not a good thing. Harmony and acceptance is: two qualities that Australia as a nation is yet to possess.
As Celeste Liddle for Daily Life points out: “Society hasn't shifted and, if anything, the visible reminders we get every Australia Day of how Aboriginal people don't fit into the national consciousness are proof of this.”
My thoughts lead me to this: how do we change the politics of Australia and abolish not only Indigenous suffering and disadvantages but all socio-cultural disadvantages whilst also staying away from the issue of objectivity and the possibility of “speaking for others”?
I’m filled with nothing but rage this time of year, a rage that is exhausting to say the least. No other country has made their national day the day Europeans stepped foot onto their land for the first time and invaded it. For example, America’s national day represents independence and strength. Where is our strength? One day there will be enough strength within our country
Education and awareness is the first step to a brighter future, don’t be afraid to make your voices heard. The University of Sydney is a place of free speech and action. It’s a place of the highest education where I’m privileged to be able to be a part of. The University is a community who accepts and brings to light the issues of today and works for making a happier future for ALL Australians. Make the most of your privilege and be kind to each other along the way. That is all I can say.
Protestors at the Invasion Day Rally, 2018. Photos: Connor Parissis.
actually useful info that won't be in your unit of study outlines. by education officers lara sonnenschein and lily campbell.
arts and social sciences Subjects in the Arts & Social Sciences generally don’t have many textbooks involved, however, often have large readers. It’s worth checking online whether or not these readings are available to avoid paying unnecessary costs. Often unit of study coordinators will put course readings online via the University Library website. All you have to do is search the code of the unit on the library page to check if they’ve done so! Most readers are available at the copy centre, however some need to be bought at Kopystop. This is for Government and International Relations subjects. The cost of these first year readers can be quite hefty, and often readings aren’t available online. If you are having trouble with paying for readers, you can come to the SRC for a $50 loan (or see page X for more financial guides) that will help in covering part of the cost. Many departments will have Facebook groups so you can buy used readers from students who came before you. A lot of units in the Arts & Social Sciences department don’t have exams. If you prefer assignments, you can choose units based off this by scrolling to the bottom of the unit page on the University website and seeing how you’ll be assessed for the unit. Alternatively, if cramming is for you, you can pick units with more of a focus on exams. Language subjects tend to have more exams than other subjects in the faculty. Subjects in the Arts & Social Sciences often involve group work. Become mates with people in your tutorial as early as possible so that 1) you have people to sit and chat with and 2) don’t end up being partnered with a gronk for an assignment that you already don’t want to do.
business Students in the business faculty have noted that if you aren’t passionate about your field, studying can be pretty insufferable, so make sure that you choose your major wisely and carefully. Marketing is said to have easier marking standards than other majors throughout the business school, however, don’t pick marketing based on just this alone if it’s not something that you’d otherwise be interested in. You’ll just get bored and won’t achieve those “easy high distinctions” anyway. First year business school students should talk to their tutors and even other students in their classes if they are struggling with course content - especially if you don’t have much prior knowledge in the discipline – maybe you didn’t do business studies and economics in the HSC and are struggling with particular terminology. Students also recommended talking to other friends who do business to get help with planning your major, as they can give you advice on how to best pursue the area you’re interested in. This is particularly important for Finance and Accounting courses given they often branch out into other areas of business.
engineering and Information Nursing The assessment technologies Subjects in this faculty involve a lot of difficult work with loaded assessments, high contact hours and compulsory subjects riddled with mathematics – but maybe you’re into that! On the bright side, due to these tough learning conditions, students in the Engineering and IT faculty are a tight knit group and are often passionately engaged within their relevant clubs and societies. Have a look for them at O-Week! Computer Science students recommend that incoming first year students undertake the recommended first year courses finding it beneficial for the progression of their own degrees. Beware! Students surveyed indicated that there are additional costs pertaining to the faculty that were not originally indicated to them as incoming students. These things include printing and software costs. Students in the faculty also indicated that they would prefer more contact hours with both lecturers and tutors to discuss course content and how they are travelling, suggesting that current contact hours might not be sufficient for students in the faculty.
load is heavy - make sure to keep detailed notes of both your theoretical and clinical studies. Try to buy some notes from a former first year - studentVIP is a good place to look. The SRC has free lab coat and dissection kit hire - which you should definitely take advantage of! Courses at Sydney Nursing School involve significant participation in off-campus clinical placements. You will complete more than 860 clinical hours during your degree - most of this will be unpaid, which is outrageous. You will also need to be available to undertake shift work and clinical placements throughout university holiday periods. All this makes it incredibly difficult to support yourself going through university. If you’re having difficulties with your finances, the SRC can help you. If you’re put on placement in a rural area, NSW Health offers rural placement grants to assist with the crazy costs of doing unpaid labor in the bush.
health science Excluding the Bachelor of Science (Health), all degrees within the Health Sciences faculty are taught at least in part at ‘Cumbo’ or Cumberland campus, which is sadly relocating to the Camperdown campus in 2020 (so enjoy the next two years). Most students choose to drive to Cumbo given there is ample free street parking if you arrive early enough. However, if you aren’t up for a bit of a trek to class the M92 bus also stops directly outside campus. The small campus makes the transition from high school to university that bit easier, and it’d be hard to get lost on campus even as a first year because it it is just that small. This also makes making mates easier given that there are no more than 100 people in your cohort. The majority of disciplines have an anatomy unit/lab component in first year. Get ready to get up close and personal with cadavers in these classes, but don’t worry, your classes will be filled with an equal amount of banter and bones. These classes require a lab coat, disposable gloves and for students to wear enclosed shoes. Lab coats are available for purchase both at Cumbo and Camperdown (or you can borrow them for free at the SRC), and purchasing a box of disposable gloves from Coles or Woollies will put you in good stead. Most readings are available online, and most textbooks are unnecessary to buy. Also, electronic copies of textbooks frequently float around Facebook, and a Belong@FHS mentor or O-camp Leader will be able to hook you up. The Facebook page Cumbo Students is a great place to find second hand textbooks and placement uniforms, as well as job opportunities.
architecture, design and planning Architecture has one of the most intense study loads in the whole university. A whole lotta blood, sweat and balsa wood. It’s a relatively small cohort of talented and passionate people, and if your heart is in it, you’ll love it. There’s a heavy focus on assessments rather than exams. Don’t let this lull you into a false sense of security - start your assessments early! Modelling always takes more time than you expect - you don’t wanna be doing it at 4am. There are huge extra costs associated with studying Architecture and Design, you have to pay for all your own materials, any extra programs, laptops, etc. Your SRC is happy to help you with short term loans and can assist you in trying to find income support. There simply is not enough time in the semester for architecture students, who are often known as hermits and social recluses. Consider dropping down to three units or less (before the census if possible!) if you are struggling to keep up. And stock up on redbull, cause all nighters are somewhat inevitable. Sorry.
conservatorium of music
There are a lot of additional hidden costs in studying at the Con: • Accompanist fees can be extortionate! • Composition students are expected to organise concerts and have their pieces performed each semester. Paying performers and hiring venues can be crazy expensive.
Pharmacy has a lot of contact hours - three lectures a week! As well as a heavy and extremely dense study load. Be prepared to watch your social life wither away. Try to make friends with other Pharmacy students who can relate to your pain. Join SUPA for social networking events - you can make friends for life through clubs and societies.
There are scholarships available, although are not well advertised. There’s no harm in applying for everything you can - it could take a huge weight off your shoulders.
In first year you have to buy a lot of textbooks, lab coats and dispensary weights - all these costs can really add up. Check out the Sydney University Pharmacy Association for some of this equipment at cheaper rates (they should have a stall at O-Week). You can also borrow lab coats for free from the SRC!
Student administration at the Con is a total maze - no thanks to ongoing budget cuts. It can take months for simple processes, such as changing subjects, to be processed. Make sure you have all the necessary documentation and try to plan your degree in advance, so you don’t accidentally enrol in the wrong units. Stable employment opportunities are hard to come by as a professional musician. It’s all about connections take time to build relationships with peers. The hyper competitive nature of this industry can make you feel very isolated, but really, friends will make your life much easier.
Think long and hard about choosing your major: industrial or international. Staff are often more than happy to give advice, and it can be really helpful to chat to older students. Look for USYD pharmacy facebook groups and reach out to people! A very popular unit of study is PHAR1821 - Social Pharmacy. This unit offers a different focus to other units, designed to provide a broad perspective of health and illness, and encourages a view of the patient as a whole person, through a psycho-social lens. 39
Law You could spend over $500 on readings and textbooks in your first year! Make sure to check out studentVIP, SULS book swap or the SRC Bookshop (closing in Week 3 of Semester 1) for second hand books before you splash out at the Co-op. Though note that some law updates much faster than others, particularly where it centres on statute rather than common law, so getting older editions is riskier (Criminal Law and CCP update faster than Foundations of Law, Torts or Contracts generally). Textbooks are often not as helpful as notes written by other students - if you can’t find a recent set, try collaborating with some classmates on a shared Google drive through the semester - include everything! Make sure, particularly for open book exams (your first will be CCP), that the notes you make are to the point and are built exam-prep ready. Many students make the mistake of making too comprehensive notes and then have to fix them up a few days out from exams. Doing problem questions weekly is a good indicator of whether your notes are comprehensive enough. Assessments are really harsh. Exams can be weighted at up to 100% in later years and are often closed book. Don’t lose your head, make sure in exam periods you take time to chill out and look after your mental health. Torts is where the hard reality of studying law can really set in. Try to keep up a weekly routine of study - if you don’t keep up with readings and problem questions you will rapidly fall behind. Don’t take yourself too seriously - a lot of wankers study law at Sydney University and there is a huge focus on corporate law as a career path. EVEN if that is your dream, employers want candidates 1) who have good grades and 2) are actual human beings. Volunteering at the Refugee Advice and Casework Service, Redfern Legal Centre or the SRC’s very own legal service will give you a breadth of experience that impresses employers, makes the world a better place and gives you great frontline experience. Most of these places don’t take first years, at least at the beginning of the year, so if you wanna change the world, start now, join an SRC collective.
science If you’re doing full time study as a Science student be prepared to despise your timetable - you’re gonna be doing 20+ hours plus per week. It doesn’t get easier in second or third year either. Respondents to the counter course survey complained that administration for many units are all over the place and classes are overcrowded. This is 100% due to restructuring of student services, constant cuts to funding and the sacking of 400 staff just last year. Be prepared to wait hours in line at the student services and get a worse quality of education - thanks Michael Spence. In first year it is recommended that you cover all your scientific bases. A very common enrolment for first years is Chemistry, Biology, Mathematics and Physics/Psychology. This gives you more options in later years of study and gives you a good, broad knowledge base going forward. First year maths is compulsory, sadly (for some). If you’re dreading it, it’s a good idea to just do it all in your first year and never have to revisit it in later years. Some people say that textbooks are a necessity - others say they never use them and are a waste of money. It’s worth holding off for a couple weeks if you’re worried about cost and see if your course really demands a textbook. Science is one of the more flexible degrees - you can study Arts subjects if you like! If you’ve got a passion for cinema or learning a language, just do it. University shouldn’t just be about hard work, and it can look good on a CV if you’ve got a broad range of interests.
contributors our biggest thanks to the src's casework service and the publications managers - we would have all been screwed without you. editorial team nina dillon britton, lara sonnenschein, lily campbell design and laying up nina Dillon britton with thanks to the publications managers Cover art nina Dillon britton writers tanya ali natalie berry emelia bode jazz breen geneve bullo lily campbell zixiao Chen clara de costa riedel nina dillon britton robin eames mia gao imogen grant harry gregg yi man jack mansell akala newman tanushri saha lara sonnenschein
katie thorburn nischeta velu madeline ward yuxuan yang artwork nina dillon britton amelia mertha chinese translator jacky he
A radical guide to Sydney Uni education for 2018