Posts for the welfare Dept
LILY CAMPBELL, BELLA DEVINE-POULOS, HARRY GREGG and CAITIE MCMENAMIN
It’s been a busy fortnight for the Welfare Officers. The NUS National Day of Action occurred on Wednesday the 22nd, with students gathering to express their discontent with the Liberal government’s cuts to penalty rates and poorly managed Centrelink system, as well as harmful USyd faculty restructures. Furthermore, the International Wom*n’s Day March on Saturday the 11th was a great success, with many USyd students in attendance. Rape and Domestic Violence Services Australia had an impressive contingent as part of their current campaign ‘No Profit From Rape’ against government attempts to privatise support services. The Welfare Officers will continue to support this campaign whole-heartedly.
The Welfare Department has also been working with the Wom*n’s officers to plan a protest against the Day of the Unborn Child (March 26th), an event held by conservative groups attacking wom*n’s reproductive rights. Other campaigns in the works include building for the ‘Save Our Penalty Rates’ rally on the 2nd of April, as well as assisting the Campus Refugee Action Collective with their work in preparation for the Palm Sunday refugee rights march. It is worth noting that USyd students appear to have returned to university more politically enlightened and engaged than they were previously, almost certainly due to Trump’s victory in the US. Personally, I am currently working in conjunction with General Secretary Daniel Ergas on a campaign to hold a particularly exploitative business on campus accountable. Keep an eye out for upcoming events and remain woke.
Written by Caitlin McMenamin
Student welfare is under attack. The Centrelink scandal enraged many, as thousands of the most vulnerable in society were charged with debts they don’t owe. The announcement that Sunday penalty rates for retail, fast food and hospitality workers will be cut greatly affects students, two thirds of whom already live in poverty.
This year, the National Union of Students Welfare Officer and Education Officer are running their campaigns in conjunction with each other, as they raise similar demands for students rights, against the Liberals’ attacks. The Welfare Department supports the NDA on March 22 – I’ve (Lily Campbell) been mass leafleting, painting banners and creating merchandise for that event and building the Education Action Group at O week. I am a regular attendee of EAG meetings.
I have done several stalls in Newtown over the summer break petitioning for the NUS Welfare Department, demanding that the government fix Centrelink now.
I chaired a recent rally outside the Redfern Centrelink office, demanding an end to fake debt letters and the gutting of social services. It was a lively demonstration that got significant media coverage, somewhat centred around the brilliant burning of a debt letter outside the office.
I also recently spoke at a rally against the cuts to penalty rates, outside the Fair Work Ombudsman. It is crucial that students join these rallies and join their unions today. The cuts to penalty rates will be the greatest wage cut since the Great Depression – now more than ever we need to fight back. I encourage all to join the March 9 CFMEU ‘National Rally to Defend our Jobs’.
Furthermore, a horrific wave of racism and bigotry is sweeping the world today. The Welfare Department stands in solidarity with all oppressed peoples against the rise of the far right and recognises the need to organise against these forces.
I participated in the Women’s March, the RAC rally against the Muslim Ban, the protest against war criminal Netanyahu and the protest against genocide in Aleppo, amongst other demonstrations.
(I contacted the other welfare officers for reports – they did not wish to contribute)
The Welfare Department assisted in the Halal not Hanson BBQ that took place Wednesday 14 September on Eastern Avenue. This was a great success, with many students popping by to grab a halal snack pack, talk to fellow anti racists, and launch a water bomb at Pauline Hanson’s likeness. With the Muslim prayer room having been ransacked 5 or 6 times this year, and racist graffiti popping up all over campus, it is crucial we make a stand and show solidarity with Muslims on and off campus against racism. The appalling opening parliamentary speech by Pauline Hanson later that day shows what we’re up against.
The most recent federal budget cuts was the Welfare “Omnibus” bill, which cut $6.3 billion from the welfare state. This savage attack was passed with support from the ALP. All while Scott Morrison talks of the “taxed vs. taxed-nots”, as if it is students on Centrelink and not multinationals like Apple who are draining our taxes! The Welfare Department is totally opposed to these cuts and will resist them.
April Holcomb, Isabella Brook, Matthew Campbell and Dylan Williams
Second semester is here and the results of the Federal election spell out a pretty grim future for student welfare. The Liberals are back in power and this means that student welfare is still under attack as Malcom Turnbull attempts to privatise Medicare, raise the GST, scrap penalty rates and make young people work for $4 an hour.
And to top it all off, everyone’s least favourite racist, homophobic, xenophobic and bigoted drunk aunt, Pauline Hanson, is back in parliament.
This might all seem a little scary, but don’t worry, your SRC welfare officers have got your back! Here are four easy ways that you can stand up, fight back and stay educated about the attacks on student welfare.
1. Come find your friendly welfare officers on Eastern Ave on the 23rd of August from 12-2pm to find out about how you can protect your rights at work, at home and at Uni and also grab a free goody bag.
2. Your welfare officers will be protesting Pauline Hanson every time she shows her racist face in public. Like the Facebook page, ‘ Hanson’s Racism: We Don’t Like It’ (https://www.facebook.com/hansonisagronk) to find out about upcoming protests and have a laugh at Pauline Hanson memes (also watch out for our Halal BBQ coming soon).
3. To keep the fight going against the Liberals attacks on students, join your SRC, and students all across Australia on 24th of August outside Fisher Library at 1pm for a Student Protest. The Welfare Department will be protesting against 100k degrees, against cuts to higher education funding and against the lowering of the HECS repayment threshold.
4. Like the Welfare Department Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/USYD-Welfare-Department) and join our Facebook group to stay up to date on how the department is continuing to stand up for student welfare for the rest of the year.
April Holcomb, Isabella Brook, Matthew Campbell and Dylan Williams
With the release of the Liberals’ federal budget on May 3, it’s crucial to resist the extreme attacks the government has in sight for students, young workers and the young unemployed.
Firstly, a $2bn cut to higher education funding and the reduction of government contribution, means a 25% direct increase to student fees. Students will be expected to pay their HECS back on an income close to minimum wage. Or, you know, if they die.
Secondly, the right to a liveable income will be completely trashed, and the rights of workers with it. Work-for-the-dole schemes will see young unemployed people working for businesses at a rate of $4 an hour, while the business pockets $1000 from the government for each slave they drive. No right to workers’ compensation means bosses can push you as hard as they like with no concern for injury or death.
On top of this are regressive taxes on tobacco and alcohol, as well as cuts to aged care. Meanwhile, “Mum and Dad” investors with a turnover of $10m a year can enjoy generous tax cuts, and billions saved by millionaires through negative gearing remains untouched.
The Welfare Department completely opposes practically every measure the government is proposing for our education, health, taxation and welfare systems.
The National Union of Students has called a National Day of Action for May 11. Protests remain the most powerful method ordinary people have to influence and drive back the government’s offensive. It’s why they’ve had to keep total deregulation in the top drawer until after the election, because they know student protests are a force to reckon with.
Don’t just wait for the vote on July 2, your voice matters more on Wednesday, May 11.
Rally 1pm at Fisher Library to stop funding cuts, slave labour and a government ruling for the rich.
Enrol to vote: www.aec.gov.au/enrol
Hey guys welcome to the welfare department for 2016 ! We’ve started off the year really strong with the “These Cuts are Killing Us” rally to end health care austerity drawing a super big crowd. The Liberal government’s proposed health care cuts include reduced funding for pathology services such as pap-smears, blood tests and x- rays. These cuts are particularly harmful for women, the working class, and people with disabilities or chronic illnesses. The welfare department stands for free and universal healthcare and will be building campaigns around these cuts in the upcoming year.
The welfare department is now fighting to stop the ‘restructure’ of Sydney University. If management get their way, 120 degrees will come down to 20, more students will be pushed into expensive postgraduate degrees, and 4-year liberal arts degree will eventually replace BA and BSc to take another year of student fees out of your pocket. A rally has been called for Wednesday, March 16 to stop the attacks on our degrees and our staff.
The welfare department has some other exciting campaigns lined up for the year including a “Know Your Rights” campaign focused on educating students in their rights at home, at uni and at work. The department is also looking to provide students with pill testing kits and unbiased drug information as part of a campaign focused on drug harm minimisation strategies. So keep an eye out for these campaigns throughout the year !
If you want to contact the welfare department feel free to shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by liking our Facebook page “USYD Welfare Department” and joining the Welfare Action Group.
April Holcombe, Isabella Brook, Matthew Campbell and Dylan Williams
After a gruelling holiday period of late nights, later mornings and the latest in caffeine technology to get us through the day again, your Welfare Department is eager to get back on track with our respective campaigns for Semester Two! While recently the ALP and LNP have been celebrating an uncharacteristically bipartisan relationship founded in a mutual respect for the disregard of basic human rights, we have been celebrating a more lighthearted approach to bipartisan friendship. On behalf of all four of the Welfare Officers, I would like to express my humble gratitude for working with a passionate group of people who are able to look beyond their political persuasions in order to work together on the issues that affect student wellbeing in our university. Hats off to us.
In other, and more relevant news, you may recall hearing about Welfare’s next publication, ‘Your Stories, Your Words’, which will be published within the next few weeks and distributed to the University’s base of student collectives shortly after. If you’re interested in perusing a copy, there will also be a stack residing in the SRC office, along with a few dozen lining Eastern Avenue’s rubbish bins. Such is life.
Also on our agenda this semester will be a further investigation into the welfare issues regarding international students, along with several other campaigns tasked to better support them. And finally for the clairvoyants among you who see canned goods and grocery gift cards in your future, we will also be looking into establishing a USYD emergency food bank and SRC cookbook.
Much to look forward to.
On this day in history, in 1967, boxing champion Muhammad Ali refused to be inducted into the U.S. Army. Ali, a Muslim, cited religious reasons for his decision to forgo military service. Your Welfare Officers are not professing to such lofty heights of bravery or subversiveness, however I think it is important that we as a student body are able to recognise and applaud acts of defiance against situations that force upon us feelings of discomfort or shame. I have been lucky enough to receive several accounts of these acts through the recently launched Your Stories, Your Words welfare campaign. We have asked that any student who has encountered drugs or alcohol come forward and submit their stories – positive or negative – about their experiences to raise awareness about the reality of recreational drug use.
The submissions that I have already received have been incredibly moving, with stories of students who have stood up to aversive experiences for their health, their relationships and their wellbeing. Our theme of courage extends to the efforts of our Welfare Action Group, seeking to address the concerns of first-year students who are battling against the often daunting experience of transition into university academic and social life. What I have learnt from this campaign and from those who have been engaged in the Action Group, is that we feel we can stand up for ourselves when we have a support group who are willing to catch us when we fall. At Sydney University, the SRC and its Office Bearers are here to act as your support group. If you are interested in submitting for Your Stories, Your Words please go to http://tinyurl.com/welfarecampaign, or to attend the Welfare Action Group meetings, keep an eye on our Facebook page: ‘Sydney University Welfare Action Group’. You don’t need to be a world heavyweight champion to fight for your rights and wellbeing, and in those times that you feel like hanging up the gloves, remember you have a student body who are here to fight in your place until you’re ready to get back in the ring.
Students' Representative Council, University of Sydney
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