Lincoln Students Ask Why?
Press Release 11 August 2011 - For Immediate Release
‘Lincoln Students Ask Why?’
Students and staff will gather at Lincoln University today to rally against the extreme ACT Party Bill that is set to pass the Committee stage next Wednesday.
“Today’s rally is another response from students and staff at this institution to say that we do not support the Education (Freedom of Association) Amendment Bill, says Lincoln University Students’ Association President Ivy Harper.
“Our rally today at 12.30pm outside the University Library will be an opportunity to remind students and indeed staff what they will essentially miss out on should the Bill proceed”, says Harper.
“Student Associations throughout Aotearoa have been fighting this Bill for a very long time. It will be two years next Saturday since the ACT Bill was drawn out of the ballot and frankly students are tired”, notes Ivy Harper.
“As an Association we are tired of defending the services, advocacy and representation that we like other students’ associations provide against a destructive and unnecessary Bill that is essentially an ideological solution in search of a problem”, argues Harper.
“Our advertisement today in The Press seeks to highlight a number of issues associated with the Bill and asks our local National MPs why they are continuing to support such a severe Bill,” says Harper.
The current legislation allows students to opt out and it also allows for students to choose through referenda what membership they want on their campus. The ACT Bill will take these choices away without any regard to what students want.
“We have been challenging this unfair Bill since it was drawn. The conduct in the House last week as the Bill was debated raised a number of concerns for us as student leaders, and indeed with students who also saw the process unfold”, states Harper.
“Trevor Mallard raised some valid issues that needed to be addressed but these were not answered at all”, notes Harper. “Why have a place for questions and debate if questions are not taken seriously and the issues are not actually debated?” contends Harper.
“We had students contacting us that night and the next day who were concerned with what they saw. Whether it is this Bill or another, the refusal to debate the issues raised eats at the very heart of democracy”, challenges Harper.
“An overwhelming 98% of the 4837 submissions received on the Bill were against it. Similar legislation in Australia had a devastating affect which the Australian Government is now seeking to address, and yet our Government continues to support the Bill. Our students are asking ‘why’ the Government is pushing through this extreme Bill”, says Harper.
The Association urges the Government to come back to the table to find a more reasonable and workable solution.