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  1. #1
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    Default University sport will be damaged by government policy

    From the net today: (I don't have anything to write in defence of the government on this one. I think John Howard has a plot to turn our nation into couch potatoes watching him hand out medals to athletes on TV).

    Scrapping fees 'could hurt uni sport'
    March 16, 2005

    SCRAPPING compulsory union fees for tertiary students could have a dramatic impact on funding for university sport, senior International Olympic Committee (IOC) member Kevan Gosper said today.

    Under laws introduced to Parliament today, university students would no longer have to join student unions and pay compulsory union fees.

    Education Minister Brendan Nelson introduced a Bill to abolish student unions' compulsory collection of fees at universities and make student union membership voluntary.

    Mr Nelson told Parliament students were denied the right of freedom of association, but the proposed law would give them choices.

    But Mr Gosper, who is also patron of the peak governing body of Australian university sport, said the move would lead to a drop in funding for sport.

    University sport facilities and clubs are also funded by compulsory student levies, and Mr Gosper fears university clubs could die out if funding was voluntary.

    "It's a basic issue that anything which doesn't have cash underpinning it will fail in the long term," he told ABC radio today.

    "You'll still get the well intended voluntary administrator, voluntary official and so on.

    "But all of that goes counter to the way in which sport is becoming more professional, more competitive and keeping Australia at the front end of competition in sport.

    "I would hope that the minister takes this into account."

    The move could also affect students training for sports-related business degrees, he said.

    "If the funds start to dry up this will be a serious setback for not only university life ... of students, but it will dry out ancillary support for youngsters who are training for sports related business and commercial degrees," Mr Gosper said.

    "I think the minister's focused on the case for voluntary unionism ... which I have no problem with, but has failed to see the other impact which could be very serious against university sport in Australia, which is already not strong financially.

    "I'm very concerned as patron of university sport in Australia that this move which is union driven issue in terms of services could have the unfortunate outcome of denting very badly the expectations of university sport at a very critical time."

    AAP
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  2. #2
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    Default

    If you haven't seen it check out our Front page article:

    http://www.injuryupdate.com.au/index.php?HomepageID=63

    We did flag this issue last week before the majors got it:

    http://www.injuryupdate.com.au/index.php?HomepageID=57
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  3. #3
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    Default

    Saw Brendan Nelson on the 7.30 report tonight, a particularly unimpressive defence. Kerry O'Brien ripped in a bit, although he spent very little time on sport.

    In response to Brendan's "Why should the single mother of two pay for the abseiling club?" snide remark, Kerry asked whether her funded child care was going to be shut down when the uni fees disappear? Brendan said he felt that commercially operated child care could still be competitive (to which Kerry replied, "how many students do you know that can afford commercial rates for child care?") or that the Universities could subsidise it themselves.

    This last point is interesting, as I understand that this would be illegal according to media reports today (that any attempt to fund union activities and facilities by increasing compulsory fees would be illegal).

    I wished Kerry had asked him the hard question: "As a doctor, shouldn't you be encouraging policies which increase the likelihood that people would exercise and pay sport rather than the other way round?"

    Kerry did insinuate that Brendan wanted a core list of things that universities could fund (like child care and sports facilities) but that he was rolled in the party room (by John Howard and his mates Costello and Abbott, who still are pissed off that the left wing student politicians got more sex than them at Melbourne Uni in the 1970s).

    John Howard probably thinks that most students live on the harbour foreshore and can afford 3 bodyguards like him to have a morning stroll along the water, like he does. He won't care if the next generation of Australian cricket captains doesn't have an oval to play on, as he probably feels that Costello will be PM by that stage.
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  4. #4
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    Changes may spell disaster for athletes
    By Darrin Barnett
    March 16, 2005
    From: AAP

    THE prospects of future Olympians and world champions may be in jeopardy ? and $100 million for sports programs put at risk ? by the Government's decision to scrap compulsory membership of student unions, critics have warned.

    Under new laws introduced into Parliament today, university students will no longer have to join student unions and pay compulsory union fees.
    The changes would mean the introduction of user pays to subsidised services such as childcare, health care, food, entertainment, sporting clubs, accommodation advice, counselling and student support services.

    Education Minister Brendan Nelson told Parliament that students were being denied the right of freedom of association but the proposed law would give them choices.

    Dr Nelson said Australian university students forked out $155 million last year in union fees because they were compulsory.

    He said if universities did not comply with the new laws, they would be ordered to refund the money they collected from students within 28 days.

    Macquarie University Sports Association chief executive Deidre Anderson said the move would spell disaster for some university sports organisations, particularly those in regional and rural areas.

    Ms Anderson said a group of sports union chief executives from universities across Australia had met in Sydney today to discuss the changes.

    "In a nutshell, the whole campus life will change as a result of a reduction in this type of assistance to students," Ms Anderson said.

    The changes wouldn't just affect clubs and university sport, she said, but also facilities such as swimming pools and other infrastructure which was used by the wider community ? especially in rural and regional areas.

    The Australian Olympic Committee said scrapping compulsory union fees for tertiary students could take $100 million away from university sports programs around the country.

    While AOC president John Coates had yet to meet Dr Nelson about the planned changes, he voiced his anxiety at a federal parliamentary committee hearing in Sydney two weeks ago.

    "He did have concerns because university sports programs have produced so many great Olympians over the years and he felt that sport is a vital part of an all-round education," a spokesman for Mr Coates said.

    "He understood that the planned changes would take $100 million out of sports programs across all Australian universities."

    Mr Coates' fellow International Olympic Committee (IOC) member Kevan Gosper, who is also patron of the peak governing body of Australian University Sport, said he feared university clubs could die out if funding was voluntary.

    "It's a basic issue that anything which doesn't have cash underpinning it will fail in the long term," he told ABC radio today.

    Opposition education spokeswoman Jenny Macklin said a major portion of student union fees were ploughed into university sports clubs so they could offer subsidised services.

    But if the fees were cut, university sports clubs would be forced to charge students more, she said.

    "Some of our great Australian sporting stars have come from university sport," Ms Macklin said.

    Alice McNamara, 19, who won the lightweight single sculls at the 2004 Australian University Games and hopes to compete in the Olympics, said the changes could put the cost of joining the Melbourne University Boat Club beyond reach.

    "We already pay about $700 a year for membership, on top of the general administration fee, and the changes could dissuade university students from joining," she said.

    "Just this week I put in an application for a scholarship from the university for competing internationally this year and if that doesn't go ahead I won't be competing."

    A spokesman for Sports Minister Rod Kemp said the government, through the Australian Sports Commission, would continue to provide funding to Australian University Sport to support its high performance programs.

    The government has committed funding to support Australian athletes participating at the World University Games, he said.

    Australia's fastest man, Patrick Johnson, is just one sports star to come through the university sport system.

    Johnson won the 100m at the 1996 Australian University Games in Canberra and competed at the World University Games the following year.

    He has since become the first and only Australian sprinter to break the 10-second barrier, clocking 9.93 seconds at a meet in Japan in May 2003
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  5. #5
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    Default Brendan Nelson's lie regarding WA

    Brendan Nelson insinuated on the 7.30 report that the removal of compulsory union fees hadn't affected uni students in WA. However, I understand that the amenities and services charge (which WA unis can still charge) is going to be illegal also once this legislation is passed.

    It would be a reasonable legislation to follow the WA lead and make compulsory unionism illegal but still allow unis to charge a services fee, meaning that sports facilities could still be funded.

    I understand that the Federal legislation goes way over the top of this and makes a services fee illegal also. This means the services fee in WA would have to go as well.

    It is verging on lying for him to use WA as a defence when they will be affected by the proposed legislation. On the 7.30 report he basically said "WA has had voluntary unionism for a decade and their facilities are going along OK". The current situation in WA cannot be used as a defence of the new laws, as the facility fee will no longer operate.

    Can anyone from WA (esp at Uni) shed any light on this situation?
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  6. #6
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by injuryupdate
    Saw Brendan Nelson on the 7.30 report tonight, a particularly unimpressive defence. Kerry O'Brien ripped in a bit, although he spent very little time on sport.

    In response to Brendan's "Why should the single mother of two pay for the abseiling club?" snide remark, Kerry asked whether her funded child care was going to be shut down when the uni fees disappear? Brendan said he felt that commercially operated child care could still be competitive (to which Kerry replied, "how many students do you know that can afford commercial rates for child care?") or that the Universities could subsidise it themselves.

    This last point is interesting, as I understand that this would be illegal according to media reports today (that any attempt to fund union activities and facilities by increasing compulsory fees would be illegal).
    From the SMH website:

    Mr Mullarvey said universities would also not be able to financially help student unions replace the fees that they lose under the new laws.

    "My understanding is the legislation will prohibit the universities' ability to provide funds for other than purely academic services," he said.

    "So the provision of funds to the student organisations will probably be prohibited by the legislation."

    What is Brendan Nelson doing talking about his own legislation on the 7.30 report when he doesn't even understand it (or is blatantly lying)? He definitely said that the Unis could fund the child care themselves if they didn't want the services to close, but Mullarvey from the vice chancellors association has said that the legislation would prevent them from doing so.
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