Another sign that VSU is permanent in Australia


Australia’s Rudd government reacted quickly to reports early yesterday stating they was going to switch Voluntary Student Unionism from its present “opt-in” structure to an “opt-out” structure.

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation reports the government is making clear that it has no intention of making this change telling ABCnews that compulsory fees are not an option.

Just another reason for Canadian student unions to keep and/or get their acts together to avoid a widespread VSU movement here. (Depending on your viewpoint, that could have been phrased to state this story is a reason for VSU proponents to get their acts together)

It appears from the Australia experience that once students are given a choice about student union membership, they are overwhelming not joining and no government is willing to risk forcing them to.

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Another sign that VSU is permanent in Australia

  1. Opt-out is not compulsory though, as the minister points out in the quote below from the article linked. This seems a bit convoluted but the minister doesn’t seem to say anything firm about the switch from opt-out to opt-in, just that there won’t be any compulsory fees.

    “We’ve indicated we’re not proposing to do something that’s compulsory but we are looking at ways to ensure that we can revive services on campuses, non-academic services that in many parts of Australia have been seriously eroded by the changes the Howard government has made,” he said.

    “[The report] suggests that we are both going to do something that is compulsory but also [have] an opt out clause but it can’t be both, so I’m not quite sure of the logic of the position that’s being put.”

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