The 2014 budget confirmed all our worst nightmares; the Liberals want to deregulate university fees from January 2016, meaning that universities charge what they like for their degrees. Some experts saying that this will see fees skyrocket up to over $100,000. The budget also included attacks on healthcare and welfare, and the cutting of $500 million from Indigenous programs and services over the next 6 years.
It’s time for students to stand up and oppose these drastic attacks. Our protest on Q&A was a start, continued by our action against Liberal Minister for Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop who was given the welcome she deserved whens she had the gall to visit campus last week. Our next chance will be the national day of action against fee hikes and moves to the US model on Wednesday May 21. We’re meeting at 1.30pm outside Fisher Library, and everyone needs to be there! The fight for our education has never been more urgent!
The rest of our report goes to Indigenous activists who shared their thoughts last year on Constitutional recognition and they key issues facing Aboriginal people today: “Things are no different from back in the days when the pastoralists took away our lands; actually things are getting worse. I honestly believe that it is getting worse. Standing up and fighting back is important. Fight and don’t give up, don’t let them win. This is our country, our land and it has been taken from us. Remember your identity, where you come from and never forget that you are Aboriginal and be proud. Stand up and be proud, all you Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.”
Ngarri, from Western NSW, second generation stolen “We are here to represent where we are from and to stand up for ourselves. It is important to stand up so that people know who we are and what our culture is and to get our rights. We are fighting for our land. The government is taking our land.” Amelia and Sherrie, Kamilaroi clan “If within two years Rudd writes Aboriginal people into the constitution, I think that it will very much extinguish the rights of Aboriginal people in terms of sovereignty… We will become part of the Australian state, and therefore we would lose the basis for treaty and we would lose the basis for land rights – it’s going to be the biggest theft in the history of Australia.”
Sharon Firebrace, Yorta Yorta woman, long-term activist and member of the stolen generation.