Last Wednesday thousands of students across the country protested in a National Day of Action against the federal Government’s proposed cuts to higher education. The Sydney University protest was attended by hundreds of students and included speakers from the National Tertiary Education Union and federal politicians.
What these national protests show us is that there is strong opposition to the government’s war on students. University staff, union members, politicians and everyday members of our community are standing in solidarity with students who are standing up for their right to an accessible education.
Wednesday’s protest was called by the National Union of Student’s (NUS), the peak representative body for tertiary education students across Australia. NUS has a strong and proud history of active and engaging student campaigns. In 2014 NUS mobilised thousands of students to protest the Liberal Government’s plans to deregulate university fees. This campaign resulted in the defeat of deregulation, with the Federal government failing to pass its bill twice.
NUS also advocate for students on a number of different issues. They fight for affordable, quality education, better living standards for students, and making our campuses safer for all. They conduct nationwide surveys into student wellbeing and sexual assault and harassment on campus. And they pressure universities and our government into taking action on important student issues.
Most importantly NUS exists for all of us. NUS gives students a strong and cohesive voice on a national platform, in order represent us and advocate in our best interests. When students are facing attacks, such as the ones we’re seeing now, NUS plays an important role in ensuring that students work together and fight back. The current political climate is dire. In a time where workers and students are facing some of the worst attacks we’ve seen in years the Liberal Government is doing everything they can to destroy unions and leave us voiceless. It’s up to us to continually engage with students and our communities to fight for our rights and ensure the survival of our union.