Deserving of spray. Not our pay.
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Deserving of spray. Not our pay.

Deserving of spray. Not our pay.

The student protest in Sydney’s CBD on Friday morning shows just how far removed the usual (violent) suspects from Sydney University are from reality. Fellow students of these individuals pay (via the Student Services & Amenities Fee) for them to peacefully protest. Call me crazy, but the last time I checked, storming into a building doesn’t constitute a “peaceful” protest. This is however, the way in which Ms Ridah Hassan, the National Union of Students’ (NUS) Education Officer for New South Wales has described the actions of herself & others.

The protest itself was intended to disrupt a speech being delivered by the Minister for Education, Christopher Pyne at the Sydney Masonic Centre. Given the violent nature of recent protests supported by the Socialist Alternative (to which Ms Hassan is a member) including the physical assault of Minister for Foreign Affairs, Julie Bishop, the physical assault of Senate Fellow, David Mortimer, & the breaking of property at St John’s College. All three events occurred at Sydney Uni last year with Pyne & Attorney-General, George Brandis attending the latter.

Knowing this, one must consider what they really expected the New South Wales Police Force to do in the event of such a siege. Did they think they would be allowed to burst onto private property, with a high likelihood of damage being incurred? Absolutely not. These violent protestors knew exactly what the consequences of their actions would be; a physical confrontation with police & security. They see attaining ‘victim status’ in the wider community as a useful tool for turning the near sixty per cent of the non-tertiary educated public against the proposed reforms to deregulate university fees.

Where were the majority of students, you may ask? Studying, working or at Officeworks preparing for the year ahead. Yet again, this militant minority claims to represent the views of the majority of students, when it is clear to everyone but themselves that they do not. Amongst students, the majority are net contributors to their own representation & enjoyment on campus. They do this by paying the SSAF. A few short months ago, Ms Hassan was a net recipient of student funds as the Education Officer for the Student Representative Council (SRC) at Sydney Uni. In 2014, the SRC was to spend more than $133,000 of student money to fund their very own ‘Education Action Group’ as well as support the NUS; to both of which, Ms Hassan was heavily involved.

More concerning still, is the fact that the near sixty per cent of non-tertiary educated individuals across the country, are currently paying for more than half the cost of someone like Ms Hassan’s degree at the University of Sydney as well as her “peaceful” protests. The government is attempting to reduce the taxpayer burden to a fairer fifty-fifty cost sharing arrangement.

As a student myself, I’m embarrassed that hardworking families are paying more than I am for my university degree. The benefits of such a degree will only be reaped by me. What churns my stomach though, is that those same families have to indirectly fund this violence & destruction of private property. The NSW Police Force should be commended for representing the interests of the vast majority of the population through their professional response.

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