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SRC Officer Posts – Week 9, Semester 1, 2017

President’s Report Isabella Brook Last week the Federal Education Minister, Simon Birmingham announced a $2.8 billion cut to Higher Education funding. These cuts to the sector will be passed onto students, with university fees set to increase. This means that we will be paying more for our degrees with no proportional increase in the quality…

President’s Report
Isabella Brook

Last week the Federal Education Minister, Simon Birmingham announced a $2.8 billion cut to Higher Education funding. These cuts to the sector will be passed onto students, with university fees set to increase. This means that we will be paying more for our degrees with no proportional increase in the quality of our education.

Also announced, was the lowering of the HECS repayment threshold from $55,000 to $42,000, meaning that students will have to start paying off their HECS debt sooner. $42,000 is not a lot of money when you consider the inordinate living costs that many students face. This change will especially impact disadvantaged students, such as those from regional areas, low SES backgrounds and indigenous students, who already face barriers in accessing higher education.

What has been made clear with this announcement is that our Liberal Government does not care about young people. They don’t care about investing in our education or in our future and instead they want to make education a privilege that is only afforded to the rich.
These cuts to higher education and fee increases have joined the growing list of government attacks on students. In 2017 alone we have seen the Centrelink Debt recovery crisis, proposed changes to youth allowance and Austudy and the gutting of penalty rates. The Liberal Government has declared war on students and young Australians, all whilst giving a $50 billion tax cut to corporations and big business.

But these changes aren’t set in stone, students are angry and students are ready to fight back and we can win! In 2014 and 2015 students defeated fee deregulation with mass student protests and we can do it again. We need as many students as possible to join us in this fight and tell the Liberal Government to end the war on students.

On May 17th students across the country will be taking part in a National Day of Action to protest these attacks. You can join your SRC at 12pm outside Fisher Library to fight back against the Liberal Government and have your voice heard.
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General Secretaries’ Report
Isabella Pytka and Daniel Ergas

When I was a kid, my favourite film was ‘The Princess Bride’. Vizzini, played by Wallace Shawn (yes, he played Rex in Toy Story, if you were wondering), memorably says: “You fool! You fell victim to one of the classic blunders – the most famous of which is “never get involved in a land war in Asia” – but only slightly less well-known is this: “Never go in against a Sicilian when death is on the line”!” He promptly dies. Nonetheless, this quote bears wisdom. It would be of even more use if it were modified to include: “Never fuck with students’ fees, or they will fuck with you!”

Just this week, yacht-owners’ hero Simon Birmingham announced cuts to universities amounting to $2.8 billion (!) while simultaneously increasing students’ fees by almost 10% and lowering the threshold after which you need to pay their HECS debt back. (Under their scheme, you’ll only have to be earning about $21 per hour when working a 38 hour week to have to start making repayments. Totally, utterly cooked.)

This isn’t the first time a Liberal government has tried to fuck with students. Just three years ago now (feels longer, doesn’t it?) in Abbott’s first nightmare budget, the government tried to deregulate student fees. By taking the fight to them and causing a god-awful ruckus, they relented.
Now, they’re trying again. We’ve got to do what we know works – protest until they give up. We’ll be standing with students from across Australia on May 17 at 12pm (meeting outside our own Fisher Library).

We’re not the only ones standing up for our rights. Journos at Fairfax Media are using a seven-day wildcat strike to fight against their management’s appalling behaviour. We stand in solidarity with them.

Can’t wait to see you there on May 17,

D & B x

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Wom*n’s Officers’ Report
Imogen Grant and Katie Thorburn

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The case for a low SES officer

There is one marginalised group lacking representation on the Student Representative Council.