It is hard to believe that we are nearly half way through trimester two. Already I am hearing students talking about assignments and last week the exam timetable was published. Congratulations to Stu and Sarita for what is the sixth edition of Nucleus. There has been plenty going on at the University of New England Student Association (UNESA), a fresh start with a new constitution and elections. UNESA will be a new fresh and strong advocate for all students at UNE. For the next month or so the news will be dominated by another election and asylum seekers are again centre stage in the lead up to this election. What is it about our politicians and their preoccupation of being un-Australian? Australian history of human existence is of people arriving on boats and leaky boats at that. The fifth and sixth line of the often overlooked second verse of our national anthem welcomes, to my mind specifically ‘irregular maritime arrivals.’
Beneath our radiant Southern Cross We’ll toil with hearts and hands; To make this Commonwealth of ours Renowned of all the lands; For those who’ve come across the seas We’ve boundless plains to share; With courage let us all combine To Advance Australia Fair. In joyful strains then let us sing, Advance Australia Fair.
I am not for a moment encouraging people to employ people smugglers to put those same people in harm’s way. I am questioning the seemingly un-Australian treatment of desperate people.
So sadly be assured this federal election is not about the rising number of university students living below the poverty line or the difficulties faced by families trying to support the aspirations of students from all cohorts. It is about increased funding to primary and secondary education that will deliver a new generation of students to fierce competition for university places that are poorly funded or non-existent. Where did the education revolution disappear off to, burnt up in the fiery blaze of the phoenix of elections past.
The current politically expedient decisions will load higher and higher debt on a young generation who one day, might be asked to bail the country out of the excesses of successive neo-liberal government policies. Future generations will have to bear the decisions of politicians who have failed to pay forward the opportunities they were privileged to receive. Regional university students already face huge obstacles in receiving a tertiary education. So the students at UNE should not expect any respite from our political masters.
On a brighter note, the UNESA election is over. The privilege of UNESA representative comes with responsibility, so welcome and congratulations to the new student representatives of UNESA. Eight years without student representation has left deep scars on the collegiate psyche of the student fraternity, something UNESA will turn around. It will be an exciting year of rebuilding the student fraternity at UNE. I would like to thank Abdullah Alanazi and his Postgrad committee and the members of the Undergrad committee for their effort over the past year.
- David Mailler UNESA President