Dylan Griffiths and Liam Carrigan
On May 11th, students from across NSW gathered as part of the National Day of Action in protest against 2 billon in funding cuts to higher education announced by the liberals in the federal budget. The march included shocking displays of police violence and brutality that has become the norm in NSW and on our campus, with the police forcibly ejecting activists protesting Simon Birmingham from Fisher Library and heavy police presence at the recent protests against Wesley University.
Again we see an austerity budget that if enacted will destroy any semblance of equality and fairness in Australia. Again Higher Education is under attack. Again we must take to the streets to defeat it.
As students we hold incredible power. As an activist I have been inspired by our wins fighting cuts, standing in solidarity with staff on picket lines and amassing in our thousands to beat back deregulation again and again. We will never stop fighting and will be back time and time again.
This budget screams evasion, delays and shelving the most horrific of attacks until the election is passed. However, the two billion in proposed cuts will destroy a sector starved of funding so badly that a suite of corporate restructures across the country is now the norm. Here in NSW we have the Usyd restructure, which will see faculties slashed, jobs cut and degrees destroyed in the pursuit of a neoliberal university. At UTS we have seen the implementation of balanced semesters, which has slashed course content and eroded staff conditions in order to maximize efficiency. UNSW has proposed a strategic plan that includes trimesters and a shift to online learning. Management wants to partner with corporations, industries and multinational donors, which will leave us with a hollow, corporate education system. The realities call for more funding, not less.
Students reject this budget. We reject the deregulation of flagship courses, which like the implementation of HECS will see a slow march towards the dreaded 100k degrees over the coming years. We reject our financial contribution to our degrees being raised from 40 percent to 50 percent, because fuck shackling us with more debt for the rest of our living lives. Scrap that – they’ll probably decide to collect that sweet HECS dollar from our cold dead hands. Education is a social good – why the fuck does the ruling class think we should pay? The money is there. This budget has included a 25% tax break to big business, 32 billion in defense spending and 1.2 billion to maintain the offshore processing centers that murder refugees.
If you’re interested in getting involved in the fight against the budget and the liberals join the EAG at 2pm Tuesdays or contact the Education officers to be added to our organizing group on Facebook.