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Labour – listen to Clayton Cosgrove on voluntary membership

Labour – listen to Clayton Cosgrove on voluntary membership

Media release: Student Choice, 11 May 2011

The Labour Party and chief whip Rick Barker should follow the advice of Labour MP Clayton Cosgrove and support voluntary membership of private organisations, including tertiary student unions.

Speaking on Morning Report last week, Labour’s chief whip Rick Barker defended Labour’s filibustering of the Education (Freedom of Association) Amendment bill. Mr Barker claimed that allowing students to choose whether or not they join a student association was “making voluntaryism compulsory”. He also defended compulsory membership of student unions because “there are other compulsory organisations”.

Student Choice suggests Mr Barker listens to Labour MP Clayton Cosgrove. Speaking in 2008 Mr Cosgrove said, “We haven’t had compulsory unionism for 20 years. Why should I as a politician tell you or anybody else what you should belong to? If you want to join the footy club, the workingmen’s club, the institute – go for it. It’s your choice and you should have that right.”

Mr Cosgrove is to be congratulated for understanding and promoting freedom of association and voluntary membership. Student Choice encourages Mr Cosgrove to speak to the Labour caucus, and especially Rick Barker, and explain to them why he believes that politicians shouldn’t force New Zealanders to join any organisation.

Unfortunately many of Mr Cosgrove’s colleagues defend compulsory membership because compulsory student associations act as a training ground for Labour Party MPs and activists.

ends


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