The University of Adelaide student union voted last week to cease all payments to the National Union of Students, saying the money was spent by “left-wing student hacks to jet-set around around the country and play Prime Minister”.
The motion’s passage will strip NUS of $17,000, Adelaide student rag On Dit reported over the weekend. It’s not clear if the uni will be de-affiliated with the peak student body, as the body officially linked to NUS is the Adelaide Uni Students Representative Council (which is an activist body but does not control finances). The SRC strongly opposed the motion, citing NUS’ successful campaign against university fee deregulation as proof the NUS represented student interests.
“The Young Liberals on the AUU board want to undermine the organisations that students have to resist, so as to clear the path for the Coalition government to pursue an anti-student agenda,” SRC president Tom Gilchrist said in a statement to On Dit.
Affiliation fees to NUS have come under scrutiny in recent years. Last year, Melbourne University’s student union halved the amount it was willing to pay the body (to $55,000) after concerns the union was paying too much. What NUS charges each university is not transparent, and the amount differs widely from university to university depending on the size of the student body and its relative wealth. Last year, the body rejected a request from Melbourne University’s union to produce a list of its affiliate unions and what they pay in fees, citing “commercial-in-confidence” considerations, according to Farrago.