Category Archives: News

joining the national protest against university funding cuts

No ifs, no buts, no education cuts.

After Julia Gillard announced the intention of the Labor Government to cut over $2 billion of funding from Australian universities, who already struggle enough on their limited funding, to redirect it towards primary and secondary schools, there was a major uproar. Protests sprung up all over the country, and students were terrified that their already exorbitantly priced education would become even more unattainable. So they set a date for a national protest – May 14th.

The idea was to go on strike and not attend classes, and then to gather for a series of protests in the city to get the message across. I wasn’t particularly set on attending the protest in the city, and used the strike as more an excuse to skip class than as an actual protest, but even I cannot deny that their cause is valid. The government has put out publications and acknowledged other studies which have found that improvements are needed in this area, and yet they give us cuts.

So what does this mean for individual universities? Well, for starters the business model they already work on will have to focus even more on the bottom line – which affects staffing selections and thus the variety and number of courses and subjects available to students. Additionally, the funding cut takes away the up-front discounts in the HECs payment system and also converts the Student Start Up Scholarship to a mere loan – which essentially, just increases the debt a university student will face once they graduate and hit the workforce. Not really a great way to boost an economy in a climate where recession has been narrowly avoided and other countries are still battling (especially since the way out of/to avoid recession is generally through increased spending from consumers).

So thanks for that new budget, Julia Gillard. You’re really making life swell.

Here’s a small video I got off the NTEU website which was filmed at my university – and it clearly outlines how a single university will be affected by this new budget.

So while I hovered around the edges of the rally for a few minutes and observed some of the protesters in action during the miserable weather that Melbourne brought them, I still see this as an issue we all face. I’m just reserved about the effectiveness of national protesting, since it feels kind of feeble and pointless. Plus, asking students to skip class with only a few weeks to exams is kind of a big deal.

However, I hope the issue doesn’t just fade off after this.

(Most of my information comes from the STEU website.)

Related Articles


visiting my mum in honour of Mothers’ Day

Mothers’ Day is a pretty universal holiday, and rightly so, since no matter where you go, mother’s play such a huge role in the functioning of society that goes unrecognised. In fact, I’m pretty sure many parents would joke on their respective days that one day a year of being pampered by their kids isn’t enough. And then of course, as any child would reply, you’d mention that their is no Daughters’ or Sons’ Day (my mum’s response to that was always that everyday is Childrens’ Day).

Fair enough, I guess. Now that I’m closer to the age of the women being celebrated than the majority of the kids doing the spoiling (and a legal adult), I recognise how much of our lives gets lost to parenting. I’m just trying to appreciate the final decade remaining to me before I expect to gain the title of ‘mother’, since it seems most people start families in their 30s these days. That feels kind of scarily short.

Since I was expecting to work today, I took my mum out for lunch last Sunday in honour of Mothers’ Day, and so haven’t had too much by way of obligations or plans today. Just dinner, and as an added extra I’m bringing chocolate chip cookies with me (if they turn out ok  – they kind of spread a lot in the oven).

I’m pretty sure my sister bought my mum a meal at some point today anyway, though I won’t be seeing her at dinner tonight.

And I have to say, my mother certainly deserves this day. She used to try and get Fathers’ Day out of us as well, since we had no father to spend it with and she claimed she was both mother and father to us anyway. But I objected to that. Looking back, though, I suppose it wouldn’t have been too far a stretch to give it to her. As a single parent, she certainly had it tough providing for my sister and I. Especially since there’s a 10 year age gap between us, and so she spent a lot longer actually being a parent and having to fully provide for us.

So, this one goes out to my Mum, and all the other mothers out there. Despite the differences we’ve had and the distance I seem determined to put between us, I love my mum and she deserves to have a fabulous day and night. And as every parent tells me, parenting is the hardest job in the universe. So it’s good to step back and appreciate the work they do.

Happy Mothers’ Day!

thinking of those in Boston

image source: CNN

What happened at the Boston Marathon was a tragedy and one of the examples of the worst aspects of humanity, but the aftereffects of it have brought out the best in people.

Shocking world horrors like this always bring out the extremes in people. There are those we don’t understand who commit heinous acts, but then when the community rallies around victims we see everything that is good in the world. The way the marathon runners who finished the 42km race just kept going until they reached the hospital is beyond inspiring.

Terrorism is an extreme act of violence that seems to be the most popular method of waging war in the current political climate. It feels as though this century will be defined by the numerous bombings and massacres that have happened since we brought in the new millenium in 2000, just as the two World Wars characterised the early half of the last century. Already, in the last 13 years we have had numerous global tragedies at the hands of terrorists, far more than we can even count. But each time it happens, the world seems to unite in support of all those affected. Even if this doesn’t stop the crimes from being committed, the rare instance of a common feeling is something of beauty.

There’s a reason that in poetry beauty and tragedy are always linked. Somehow, they often seem to occur side by side.

And after all, unity is the best way to retaliate against terrorism. An act that seeks to divide and create fear should naturally be conquered by love and community spirit. Which is why, the best thing I feel to come out of this terrible day is the crowd standing together.

Next year’s Boston Marathon will be amazing, hopefully with the most entrants it has ever seen as people take a stand against what happened today.

We may not know why today happened, but we do know one thing. We need to stand together. Let’s overpower the suffering with infinite love.

Related articles