2008 – Response to Discussion Paper: The Impact of VSU on Services, Amenities and Representation for Australian Students

14 Apr 08


The Discussion Paper The Impact of Voluntary Student Unionism on Services, Amenities and Representation for Australian University Students was released February 18th, 2008. The Council of Australian Postgraduate Associations (CAPA) welcomes the release of the discussion paper, and the associated consultation process undertaken by Minister Ellis with the assistance of The Department of Employment, Education and Workplace Relations (DEEWR).

This submission includes responses to points included in the discussion paper, along with additional responses on broader aspects of the impact of the former Federal Government’s so-called “Voluntary Student Unionism” legislation (VSU). This submission also outlines recommendations on possible measures in responding to the impact of VSU.

This submission should be read in conjunction with those of individual postgraduate associations, as well as those of other student organisations. In reviewing this and other submissions to the discussion paper, it is important to keep in mind that one of the worst effects of the former government’s VSU legislation was its impact on maintaining an effective student voice. Those organisations that have been able to prepare a submission in response to the discussion paper have done so largely by balancing competing priorities and stretched resources. Many organisations as a direct result of this legislation have either ceased to exist, or struggle to continue at a severely reduced capacity, and therefore may not have had the means themselves to prepare a response to the discussion paper.