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Of course protests don’t work, and they definitely don’t have majority support either

Melbourne students protesting against the Budget attacks

The Australian Financial Review reported on Monday in an article called ‘Pyne seeks ad-hoc fix to appease students’ that the Grub, also known as Education Minister, Christopher Pyne, was willing to negotiate about some of the proposed Budget cuts to Universities.

Pyne floated negotiating on the interest rate on student debt. The current proposal is for it to become the government long term bond rate, currently 6%, rather than CPI (about 2.5%) This will apply to all debt from 1 January 2016, with current debts godfathered till December 2020.

Pyne is also prepared to discuss the level at which the obligation to begin repaying the debt cuts in. In 2014/15 it will be $53,345. The Budget proposed lowering this to $50,638 in 2016-17.

While any amelioration of the current Budget proposals seems to be an advance, Pyne is not prepared to negotiate on the big ticket items – the 20% reduction in funding per student and the de-regulation of fees. In fact he is prepared to sacrifice some small matters to keep the big ticket items, namely turning Universities into commodities whose only hope of survival is to sell their wares to the world.

As National Tertiary Education Union (Victoria)’s State Secretary Colin Long said at a Budget Fightback meeting in Melbourne last Saturday.”If you think competition drives quality, have a look at commercial television.”

Why did Pyne make this token offer? Last Wednesday tens of thousands of angry students demonstrated against the Budget attacks on higher education. The number of students and their passion convinced him he had to offer something symbolic.

Now is not the time to take the pressure off. Students can beat the vicious Budget attacks if they increase the demos and the passion, and begin to shut down the Universities by occupying them and calling on staff and the public to join them.

Now some paid apparatchiks for the one percent in the mainstream merdia have condemned the ‘violence’ and said the protests are outdated and won’t have support.

When the Sydney Education Network staged its protest on Q&A, a poll in Fairfax found 58% of the almost 30,000 respondents supported them.

Today a Fairfax poll in the Brisbane Times on support for student protests more generally has 65% of the over 3000 respondents giving full support to the students and their democratic right to protest. Only ten percent oppose the protests and the cause. Update: The Poll closed on Tuesday night and with over 3200 voting the percentage fully supporting students was 66%.

The protests have mass support. This is not just because these people are angry with the Budget. It is that they are finally seeing one group in society fighting back. They want to see that resistance to the Budget in all its gory detail generalised. They are inspired that after decades of quietism someone is finally fighting back.

There is one group that can lead a successful fight against the bosses’ Budget. That is unions. The leadership of the unions is, to put it diplomatically, not keen on a real fight-back. They want to manoeuvre us into waiting over 2 years to vote for the other party of neoliberalism, the Labor Party. We can’t wait 2 years.

Rank and file pressure has seen the Victorian Trades Hall Council call a Bust the Budget rally at 10.30 am on Thursday 12 June outside the VTHC at 54 Victoria St Carlton. This rally is during working hours. It means that for most workers to attend they will have to walk off the job. Good.

Unions NSW is holding a lunchtime rally at Parramatta Station on Thursday 5 June.

There is a community meeting on Busting the Budget in Brisbane in Level 2 of the Trades and Labour Council on Monday 2 June at 7 pm. Bob Carnegie will be a guest speaker.

Rank and file workers in other States and Territories should be agitating right now for their unions and trades councils to hold meetings to organise a work-time rally as a first step to Bust the Budget.

The next time someone tells you protests don’t work and lose public support, you have an easy answer. Christopher Pyne has already begun the first small steps to backing down and the student protests have overwhelming public support. To beat the Free Budgeteers we need to increase the passion and the protests and begin organising strikes.




Pingback from Of course protests don’t work, and they definitely don’t have majority support either | OzHouse
Time May 27, 2014 at 10:11 pm

[…] May 27 2014 by admin […]

Comment from Lorikeet
Time May 28, 2014 at 11:27 am

Sorry, I have not been able to catch up with you lately John, as I have been doing Jury Duty.

I saw some groups demonstrating outside the courts on Monday morning. One was the ETU. If I had time to stop, I would have said something like: “Listen guys, find someone else to give election funds to. Both Labor and Liberals enjoy crushing ordinary people.”

And speaking of the courts, now that we have a Coalition government in Queensland, there are heaps of men being empanelled on juries, while women and coloured people are largely rejected for service and are minority groups.

Getting back to those who want to stop protests, I think you will find they are mainly comparatively wealthy people living on superannuation who wish to increase their source of income to include every possible government utility, university, hospital and service.

Comment from Kay
Time May 28, 2014 at 1:37 pm


I wasn’t aware that anyone actually wanted to “stop protests”!! The complaints/comments were only about how rowdy/violent, or otherwise, they had become. And, suddenly these non-existent people who supposedly want to “stop protests” are “mainly comparatively wealthy people living on superannuation who wish to increase their source of income to include every possible government utility, university, hospital and service.” You’ve said some really crazy things, but what on earth does this mean?? How exactly are those accursed superannuants managing “to increase their source of income to include every possible government utility, university, hospital and service.”??? This really is one of the silliest things you’ve ever said – and that’s saying something!! We all know you are jealous of/intensely dislike superannuants, but this comment really takes the cake!

Comment from Lorikeet
Time May 28, 2014 at 4:18 pm

Time will easily prove my comments to be very insightful and intelligent and not based on my personal finances.

Think of the word “privatisation” and the federal government’s stated agenda to invest retirement funds in our public hospitals (on TV today).

Think also about my comments dating back years about investment bankers screwing workers and service recipients in Aged Care.

For goodness sake, please catch up and stop spreading the Fiberal Party’s propaganda.

Comment from Ross
Time May 28, 2014 at 6:53 pm

If the Unions were fair dinkum about helping their members and Australia, they’d have top of their agenda, new Govt Banks.

When even our inflationary money gets created as debt by OS central banks, growth is pointless, since the more we grow the debt outstrips growth. Much of our growth also gets created as debt.

Comment from Kay
Time May 29, 2014 at 7:56 am


You are stuck in a hole with your never-changing views on the dastardly UN and its plans to rule the world; UN bankers making all the decisions re where we all spend our money; terrible UN Covenants destroying the world; and the forced euthanasia of all oldies. All the kinds of rubbish one can read on conspiracy theory web sites.

And not only have you now launched off into imagining that people object to student protests (no evidence of that at all), but suddenly it’s all the fault of superannuants! And that is coming from someone who has demonstrated again and again that her understanding of superannuation is zero, zilch, nada!

On another blog, so many have tried to educate you on certain subjects on which they are very knowledgeable, but you are incapable of learning – except from conspiracy sites. So we have all given up and in general, except for the occasional comment to contradict you, we just let you rave on in ignorance. Sadly, you are a lost cause when it comes to common sense.

And we get the message – you hate Labor, the Coalition and especially the Greens; you love PUP, KAP and the DLP. You never stop exhorting people to vote for them. And you accuse others of political propaganda! You are the queen of propaganda.

Comment from Ross
Time May 29, 2014 at 6:38 pm

Kay I think Lorikeet is a lot more aware of the political realities than yourself. See

Bankers do run the planet because they create $ trillions from nothing as debt for our Govts.

How much debt is the world in ? $ 58 trillion and it was created as debt by private banks from nothing. Much of the debt is a lie.

Comment from Lorikeet
Time May 29, 2014 at 10:16 pm

One day Kay will take a chill pill and stop sinking the boot into people who are streets ahead of her pro-Coalition propaganda.

By the way, Kay, I never read conspiracy sites. I simply pay attention to what is happening in the world, and sometimes I even attend forums and seminars put on by the government.

On another blog, 2 people have suggested that Kay needs to learn some manners and have respect for those who are more knowledgeable than herself.

Just today, Kay was corrected by an accountant who supported my view of superannuation. He and I both support a return to a government pension system.

Comment from Kay
Time May 30, 2014 at 9:52 am


Who knows what the future may hold. There are many, many commentators who think they know. None really has more credibility than the other. If you look back in time, very few, probably none, predicted the future accurately in its entirety.

We all like to read commentators whose world view is similar to our own. It doesn’t make them right, though. Capitalism has had a chequered history of booms and busts, but in the past, it has adapted and survived. Human greed is hard to kill. So is optimism.

Comment from Kay
Time May 31, 2014 at 5:17 pm


I spent much of my HR career advising other employees on superannuation options – federal and state public sectors. My entire financial existence is based on superannuation – from various sources. I think I’m a little more knowledgeable than the average on super. And that includes your leftie accountant friend. You are both entitled to your views of course, but it doesn’t necessarily mean yours are informed points of view.

Re the other blog: I get a lot of support and very positive comments. So why would I worry re a couple of chip-on-the-shoulder lefties?