Global Solidarity Officers Report

The murder of 17 year old refugee Reza Berati at the Manus Island detention centre this year sparked angry rallies across the country in response to the Abbott government’s inhumane refugee policies. The rally in Sydney attracted hundreds of people and ended with an angry convergence outside the Immigration Department with protestors demanding justice for refugees and the closing down of these detention centres. As Global Solidarity Officers we attended this rally as the fight for refugee rights is incredibly important with figures such as Scott Morrison in government who seem to feel no remorse for the murder of a refugee at the hands of their government. Join us at the next refugee rights rally on Palm Sunday (April 13) to continue
the fight.

We have also been working hard to build for the National Day of Action against the Liberal government’s $2.3 billion in education cuts. Abbott and Pyne are set to privatise HECs debt,
axe courses and jobs (with 350 jobs already on the line at La Trobe University in Melbourne) and attack the Student Services and Amenities Fee (SSAF) which funds clubs and societies at universities. These cuts will be extremely detrimental to universities across the country and fit into an agenda of neo-liberalism sweeping the world which treats universities as a business to pump out workers not a place where students can explore ideas and work to change the world. We have been leafleting, banner painting, lecture bashing and generally going crazy about this issue and would love to see you all at the rally this Wednesday March 26, starting at 12 pm
at Fisher Library.

Another issue we work around is that of women’s rights, a global issue of equality that continues to be fought worldwide. We attended the rally for International Women’s Day on the 8th of March which focused on fighting for women’s reproductive rights against the potentially detrimental Zoe’s Law, which seeks to grant foetus’s personhood, and on equal pay for women which is unfortunately still an issue on a global scale.

USyd Students for Justice in Palestine will commence meetings and activities in the coming weeks. In the meantime, we have been taking part in the city-wide Palestine Action Group to prepare for the upcoming al-Nakba rally on May 15th. We have confirmed Professor Jake Lynch of the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies’ to speak at a fundraising dinner in Marrickville on April 12.

Anna Sanders Robinson, April Holcombe, Kenan Toker and Mason Andy



Casey Thompson asks you to rally for your rights

What the HECS?! Why is my education a debt sentence!?

This Wednesday, the 27th of March, is the National Union of Students’ (NUS) National Day of Action (NDA). Students across the country are rallying in their capital cities to ask the government “Hey Baby Boomers – Where’s our Education Revolution?” The day is to remind politicians that “[We won’t] pay more for less: our education is not for profit.” Your local NDA event will be starting at 1pm at The University of Technology’s Broadway campus, where students from across the state will march up City Road to The University of Sydney. There will be speakers at the beginning and end of the march, sharing their experiences on our current education crisis and what we can do to fight for quality, free, education.

A central demand of the rally is that our government abolishes the Higher Education Contribution Scheme (HECS) and provides free-universal education for all. Both Tony Abbott (Bachelor of Economics and a Bachelor of Laws) and Julia Gillard (Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Laws) received their degrees under the free education policy introduced by Gough Whitlam in 1974. Therefore, the exact people who have never had education debt to repay are trying to increase ours. I’d say that’s a little more than slightly hypocritical.

In 1989 the Hawke Government introduced the HECS system and in 1990 the average university graduate took approximately 8.5 months to repay their debt. This has been increasing ever since. In 2000 it took an average of 5.9 years to repay and by 2010 it was a huge 7.9 years worth of repayments. Now, in 2013, the average student must spend a decade repaying their HECS. (This is of course only domestic students, as most international students who study in Australia are required to pay their fees upfront.) This is unacceptable. Education should be provided free of charge by the state. It should be accessible to all. If we redirected the $24.2 billion/ annum national defense budget towards education, we could make huge advancements in the quality of education and serious reductions in the cost to students.

If you don’t want to leave university with over a decade’s worth of debt to repay, join the NDA march and help us send a strong message that students are serious about demanding the education revolution that we were promised

Casey Thompson

Harry is concerned about your welfare

Hi team! My name’s Harry, and together the wonderful Elly Morley and I are your Student Welfare team for 2013.

At its best, student life is a delirious combination of new friends, new experiences, and heavily subsidised alcohol. Unfortunately, not everyone’s “university experience” is as glossy as the brochure. Frankly, throughout the next however many years, lots of people in power will try to use your youth as an excuse to try and walk all over you, from the boss who underpays you, to the landlord who tries to turf you out, to the lecturer who gives you an absent fail in your lab assessment because you forgot your safety glasses. Your SRC’s job is to put the balance of power back in your favour. Whatever your problem is, we’ve got your back. Just shoot our crack team of lawyers and caseworkers an email at and we’ll help you get your student life back on track, whether by fighting for special consideration on an exam, making angry phone calls to your boss, or hooking you up with an emergency loan if your budget’s overstretched.

The other part of our job is campaigning to make student life more livable, whether it be fighting for more childcare services on campus, better mental health care or (my personal policy dream) USU-subsidised meals for lower SES students. If you are a bit skeptical about the ability of a bunch of twenty-somethings to change the world, you wouldn’t be the first. On the other hand, student activism has a terrifyingly effective record. Last year, your SRC stopped massive cuts to staff and subjects at this university, preserving the quality of your education. In fact, literally just two weeks ago, our brothers and sisters down the road at UTS won travel concession cards for EVERY domestic student in NSW, regardless of whether they’re employed.

The important thing about these victories, though, is that we can’t win them on our own. We need your help – your ideas, your commitment, and your passion. So, if there’s an issue that’s troubling you or something that makes you angry, or you’d just like to help out in the fight for a fairer student life (and against the menace of an Abbott government), shoot us an email at or a text on 0438 141 869, or pop down to the SRC Bunker (bottom of the Wentworth building) for a chat. Depending on our collective mood there may even be cookies waiting for you.

Hope to see y’all soon!