de·moc·ra·cy noun \di-ˈmä-krə-sē\
a : Government by the people; especially : rule of the majority
b : a government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised by them directly or indirectly through a system of representation usually involving periodically held free elections
It’s a mighty nice theory, isn’t it?
A Government ruled by the very people it seeks to serve. So, surely, if some 98% of submissions towards a piece of legislation are against it, than the Government should be bound to throw said piece of legislation out. Or at least not to pursue it further, let alone force it through to the final stage despite ongoing opposition.
Well this, my friends, is precisely what has happened with the Education (Freedom of Association) Amendment Bill.
98% of submissions were against this Bill.
Which means that, out of the 4,400 submissions about the Bill less than a hundred were in favour.
Yet still this Bill marches forward, how is this representative of the people that the Government is meant to represent?
Or are they simply ignoring the student and education voice because their voter base isn’t drawn from that area?
Labour and the Green Party have already promised to rescind the Bill should they take Parliament in the upcoming election.
In fact Labour has been busily filibustering anything they can get their hands on, with the idea that they could delay the Bill past the wind-up of this Parliament. Unfortunately they missed a beat earlier today, allowing ACT to call a Procedural Motion to Report Progress on the Royal Society Bill they’d been debating.
This means that they will be debating the VSM Bill tomorrow.
This means that after tomorrow the fate of student representation in this country will be decided.
I, for one, am steeling myself for the worst.
There’s scuttlebutt that this Bill could be Legislation within a fortnight.
Which is absolutely heart-breaking.
Not because of how hard we fought against it last year but because of the implications for the next generation of students. And the ones after that. And the ones after them.
They don’t know what they’re about to lose.
Because this is, I’m sorry to say, a death knell for Students’ Associations around the country.