Brendan Laws

Education (Coursework) Officer

coursework@gsa.unimelb.edu.au

I’m Brendan, a Masters student in the Melbourne Graduate School of Education, and I’m running for Education (Coursework) Officer as part of Left Action. I’m running to fight against the University’s budget cuts and for the rights and dignity of students and staff to be respected over profits. I have been unwavering in my focus on social justice during more than a decade of experience as a student activist, teacher, community organiser and unionist. I have organised many dedicated campaigns for student and workers rights, environmental justice, refugee rights and against privatisation of public institutions both in Australia and the US, and I’ll bring this experience to fight for Members of the GSA. The grotesque fee hikes at a national level and “restructuring” at a local level have laid bare the greed of government officials and university administrations. They’re cutting millions of dollars in resources and hundreds of staff positions, while overworking remaining staff and hiking fees on international and domestic students. The quality of education and the well-being of the university community is suffering, so it’s time to take a stand. If elected I’ll work tirelessly to unite students and staff in fighting for what we deserve.

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GSA Education

GSA Education

GSA Education represents the activities of the Education (Coursework) and Education (Research) Offic

7 months ago

GSA Education
GSA Education is happy to announce that UMSU students’ council just passed a motion committing the student union to unequivocally standing in solidarity with Palestinians against the Zionist Israeli state. The motion was proposed by the UMSU People of Colour Department department and affirms that Israel is an apartheid state continuing to ethnically cleanse Palestinians, through brute force and ongoing colonial expansion. It also commits UMSU to boycotting Israeli institutions and corporations. This is a huge victory for student unionism and the student movement more broadly, one which should be welcomed by anyone who opposes genocide, oppression, and imperialism. It also could not have come at a more important time, with Israeli forces launching yet another attack on Palestinians in the last few weeks of Ramadan. Students around the world and in Palestine continue to play an important role in the ongoing fight against apartheid. The recently passed motion can and should embolden students and student unionists at Melbourne Uni to throw themselves in the struggle for Palestinian justice and self-determination! ... See MoreSee Less
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9 months ago

GSA Education
Protest the shrine to Robert Menzies!University management wants to hide the Menzies Institute - a $7 million Liberal Party hub led by Peta Credin and Georgina Downer - in plain sight.The campaign to kick the Stop the Liberals - Menzies Institute off our campus rejects the attempt to normalise such an undemocratic and unwanted Liberal Party think-tank. Next Thursday evening the Institute is opening an exhibition to Menzies. This is yet another attempt to normalise the legacy of a politician who orchestrated nuclear testing on Indigenous land, sympathised with Hitler, and undermined the trade union movement. Join us at 5pm on South Lawn to demonstrate that students and staff won't stand for this whitewashed history - or for the implantation of the Liberal Party on our campus. ... See MoreSee Less
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10 months ago

GSA Education
GSA Education stands in solidarity with student unionists and activists within the Adelaide University Student Representative Council (SRC), who have had their political independence and access to resources revoked by the right-wing Young Liberal/Progress coalition in control of SRC Board. Last year, this Board banned the SRC from taking political positions without executive approval. They also decreed to block funding for any activities in conflict with the Board's political positions. And it goes without saying that the Board's politics align nicely with cost-cutting, profit-driven, socially conservative agenda of University management. These measures constitute an affront to student activism, democracy, and freedom of speech. What's more, they fly in the face of the most basic principle of student unionism: political independence. It's important to recognise that Adelaide University is not an aberration. So long as student unions adopt dual structures that concentrate power in unaccountable Boards, monopolised by aspiring managers sympathetic to University management, student unions stand to be defanged by conservative politics and bureaucratic tyranny. Please show your support for Adelaide University activists by adding your name to their statement below!Statement: Defend Student Democracy at Adelaide Uni!On 30 November, the final day of the 2021 Adelaide University SRC’s term, the Young Liberal/Progress (a right-wing student faction) members of the SRC Executive passed a restrictive funding “agreement”. The document banned the SRC from taking positions opposed by the Adelaide University Union board. No such agreement existed before, and it was passed by people who would be unaffected by its terms in 2022. Breach of the agreement gives the AUU pretext to terminate SRC funding. A motion rejecting this undemocratic agreement, moved by SRC President Ana Obradovic and seconded by General Secretary Billy Zimmermann, was carried by an overwhelming majority at the first SRC meeting in 2021. Today, this agreement was used to veto SRC payments for O’Week materials. AUU Board President Oscar Ong, of the right-aligned Progress faction, blocked funds for the SRC’s Counter Guide (a publication critical of management’s staff cuts and faculty mergers) and antifascist stickers to counter fascist stickers put up on campus. At its last two meetings, the SRC allocated money from its budget to produce these materials. The SRC President learned via email that Ong had prohibited payment for or distribution of the materials by way of a directive to AUU staff. Ong told the AUU that the SRC “shouldn’t be promoting the NUS [National Union of Students] material” and “shouldn’t be paying for any Counter Guide related costs”, nor “allow them to be circulated in any of our O’Week stalls or events, including the AUU-SRC O’Week stalls or events”. These moves are an attack on activism and student democracy. They curtail the constitutional independence of the SRC from the AUU Board. The agreement entrenches the power of the Young Liberal/Progress coalition – two factions the student body voted overwhelmingly to remove from this year’s SRC. It commits SRC members to the policies of a university management most representatives were elected to oppose. It undermines the right of the SRC to make democratic decisions according to its own constitution and rules about how its funding and resources are used.The student newspaper On Dit has also been subject to attempts to control content they publish. Student democracy is important. In the context of attacks by management and a world of inequality, students should defend the independence and democracy of our student unions so that they may genuinely defend student interests. We reject the AUU’s behaviour as a political attack on the SRC by the right-wing Young Liberal/Progress coalition. The right in the AUU are undemocratically subverting the decisions of the SRC. The vetoing of SRC funds undermines the ability of student unionists to fight for student rights. It must be opposed.Please contact Ana Obradovic on FB: fb.com/obradana, 0423 825 646 or helloanaobradovic@gmail.com if you’d like to be added as a signatory. Please include your name and any relevant titles or positions.SignatoriesUoA SRC:Ana Obradovic, SRC PresidentBilly Zimmermann, SRC General Secretary Nix Herriot, SRC Environment OfficerJames Wood, SRC Education OfficerRamon O’Donnell, SRC General CouncillorJack Crawford, SRC Postgraduate Officer (HDR)Mat Monti, SRC Queer OfficerDhuruva Padmanabhan, SRC International Student OfficerUlian Cox, SRC Welfare OfficerJames Dimas, SRC General Councillor Tom Wood, SRC Social Justice Officer Georgia Thomas, SRC Women’s OfficerAlicia Turner, SRC General CouncillorLiam Johns, SRC Rural OfficerFalie Klieve, SRC Disability Officer Chanel Trezise, SRC General Councillor Steph Madigan, SRC General CouncillorMarilee Hou, SRC Ethnocultural OfficerEdward Satchell, SRC Postgraduate Officer (Coursework)GoFundMe: gofund.me/a044e3afFull statement and signatories: docs.google.com/document/d/14bTI9TbZwaiyIhenUKQTvVK2HX8BO4k07mxgwQeLwHU/edit?usp=sharing ... See MoreSee Less
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