25 Sep 2010

Voluntary student union bill a step closer to law

7:52 am on 25 September 2010

Joining a student association union could become voluntary for students under a bill by the ACT Party, which is to have its second reading in Parliament next month.

ACT MP Heather Roy's Education (Freedom of Association) Amendment Bill seeks to remove any requirement for a student to join a students' association, from 2012.

Mrs Roy says tertiary students are the only people in the country who are forced to join a union.

She says distance students who cannot use student association services and part-time students who have to pay the full fee would particularly benefit from a voluntary system.

The Labour Party says the current law gives students the choice to have voluntary or universal membership through a referendum, and that choice is being taken away.

The bill has the backing of the National Party and is expected to have its second reading in a month.