When student union membership became voluntary, how many bailed out? Bloody near all, actually

May 10, 2010

The Labour and Green Parties have given us a strong argument for supporting Roger Douglas’s bill to get rid of compulsory membership of student unions.

It’s to be found in a story in the Herald today.

We learn that:

Parliament’s education and science committee is hearing submissions on the Education (Freedom of Association) Amendment Bill which would let tertiary students decide for themselves whether to join a student union.

The bill’s sponsor, Act list MP Sir Roger Douglas, argues that student unions are the only remaining area where the right to free association isn’t respected.

Individuals should be free to associate with any group they choose, he reasons, and the current law around students’ associations does not allow this choice.

Alf is attracted to this powerful point of principle. It’s called freedom of association.

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How Hone deals with racists and rednecks

May 6, 2009

It’s always a treat, getting Hone Harawira’s latest thoughts on the big issues of the day.

In the column he has written this week for his local newspaper, he’s into racism and his ability to sniff out – and deal to – rednecks.

And then last week, a student wrote a complaint to everybody he could think of, about the language that I was using during a lecture I gave at Waikato University, and I was immediately reminded of the He Taua incident that I had been part of all those years ago, and how some things hadn’t changed very much at all.

Over more than 35 years of public speaking, I have learnt to “sniff out” a redneck in the audience, and it seems that last week at Waikato, I’d picked out another one.
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Stars in their eyes in a vineyard

March 5, 2009

“New Telescope to Study the Birth of the Universe” is the heading atop a wondrous press release posted at Scoop today.

Auckland astronomers are involved in a new high technology telescope which has just been installed on a Marlborough vineyard, it says.

So far, so good.

Then it says –

It will be used to study the birth of the universe and to search for distant planets.

At that point, Alf admits to becoming bemused (a state not uncommon to him).

He had thought – until now – the universe had been born, created, whatever, a wee while back.
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