A Full Year Back with Nucleus
Firstly I want to acknowledge the importance of this issue of Nucleus. This is the last issue for 2013 and the culmination for Stewart and Sarita in what has been an amazing journey of ups and downs. It has been a huge mountain to climb on the way to relaunching a student newspaper at UNE. This is the restoration of a legacy of the student newspaper at UNE i.e. as the first student newspaper in the country. They have set a standard for the phoenix Nucleus that will hold future years of the newspaper in good stead. They have managed to pay homage to past editors in the best way possible, with dedication and integrity. I would like to thank them and congratulate them for their contribution to the student experience and their enduring faith and dedication in restoring a student voice at UNE.
It has been a few hectic weeks for UNESA; the end of Trimester 2 has seen your board become mostly external and that has been challenging to deal with, with a suite of changes to UNE student amenity. UNESA is now invited to participate in providing part of the tertiary student experience. The responsibility for independent advocacy, TuneFM, and the secondhand bookshop are additional roles for 2014. UNESA has set about creating relationships that are built on respect and partnership. It will be an exciting time to be part of the student association, contributing in an active meaningful way to a UNE student tertiary experience. There is still a lot of work to do in instilling a culture of respect for the three important facets of how a university functions (staff, students, and admin). The signs are emerging that the monolith is adjusting to the emergence of the student voice: hopefully we can cement some of the goalposts so the communication strategy can catch up. We are still waiting to see UNE administration unveil the full service and amenity strategy for UNE students.
As I reflect on the last six months, it is hard to know where the time has flown. We are already at week six in Trimester 3 and eleven weeks out from O-Week. Time is still short, so can I now at least have the extra day a week? The farmer in me I will stop asking for rain as it has started to fall and may it continue on to make up for the last nine months.
The federal government and the federal education minister continue to demonstrate an uncommon capacity for ‘brain farts’. The latest in the ‘brain fart’ series is where Gonski, a bi-partisan policy for education developed prior to the election, was thrown on the well-used scrap heap of political expedience by Christopher Pyne. This is becoming a habit in the education ministry, with the PM dragging the smouldering remains from an unholy fire to be allowed to gasp on to the next ministry brain bubble. For education it is going to be a long federal election cycle if Mr Pyne is the education minister in three years’ time, noting we are just twelve weeks in. This reminded me of a quote from Henry Louis Mencken: “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.” It seemed fitting.
I hope you all have a safe and happy holiday period, and good luck in the New Year.
- David Mailler, UNESA President 4th December 2013