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Voluntary Membership On For Aussie Students

Voluntary Membership On For Aussie Students

Student Choice today congratulated the Australian government and Australian Minister of Education Brendan Nelson for putting voluntary membership of tertiary student associations back on the federal government’s agenda.

Dr Nelson said the government will introduce legislation to ensure membership of Australian tertiary student organisations is optional and universities do not collect fees that are not directly related to courses. He said universities will be penalised for breaches.

“The Australian government, unlike the New Zealand government, believes students should have the right to freedom of association,” Student Choice spokesman Clint Heine said.

Voluntary membership is the single most-achievable reform that would lead to an improvement in the quality of tertiary education, Heine said. “Voluntary membership would bring about a consumer revolution in institutions as students would demand value for money and improvements in teaching quality,” he said.

He said New Zealand student politicians’ reaction to the recent budget showed they are obsessed with so-called free education and their only response is to threaten to throw a collective tantrum.

Heine said the Australian approach was a lesson for the National Party. “The Nats should forget about referenda as a means to determine membership. Future legislation also needs to prevent institutions from doing shonky back-door deals to fund student groups,” he said.

Heine said the introduction of voluntary membership in Australia would move their tertiary institutions further ahead of New Zealand’s. “The Aussies have recognised that tertiary students are adults who can make their own decisions. Meanwhile Kiwi students are stuck with Maharey’s Soviet-era compulsory legislation and the boneheaded economics it inflicts on students,” he said.

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