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State of the Union: Tasmania University Union 1899-1999

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Alexander, A (1999) State of the Union: Tasmania University Union 1899-1999. Tasmania University Union, Hobart. ISBN 0-9592353-2-9

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Abstract

Welcome to State of the Union, a pictorial history of the Tasmania University Union. This
book is one of many projects initiated by the Union's centenary committee, and
congratulations must go to the committee's chair, Deidre Parker, and other members for
their efforts in reclaiming our past, and looking to the future.
The past is often sadly misplaced in our headlong rush into tomorrow. Yet history is the
key to understanding our present, and the foundation upon which we will take our next steps
forward. Alison Alexander has done a great service to Union members, and the wider
community, in bringing to life the rich and varied history of one of the most progressive
student organisations in the nation. I would also like to thank two of the Union's key
supporters in 1999: Richard Flanagan, former President and Centenary Patron of the Union;
and Professor Don McNicol, the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Tasmania.
It is a sad irony that the Union celebrates a centenary of service to its members in the
same year that the Federal Government seeks to sabotage this and other student
organisations across the country.
The folly of the Federal anti-student policy can be seen here whilst reflecting on the
collected memories, writings and artifacts of the past century. It has been a long journey
from the original small tin shed to our current organisation of over 9,000 members, twentyone
Student Representative Council officers, and more than 60 staff. Looking back, it is clear
the Union has never lost sight of its central commitment to supporting students and
encouraging an active student culture.
This commitment has never been more important. The dream of free and equitable access
to education is rapidly fading under the assault of dramatic funding cuts to Universities,
decreasing student incomes, and the imposition of up-front fees. Tertiary education is
rapidly becoming the preserve of those who can afford it, entrenching a social system based
not upon merit but upon accident of birth.
More than ever, students need a collective voice. Student representatives play a key role
in their contributions to University Council, Academic Senate, and many committees. Now
indispensable to the University, the Union also funds catering outlets across the campus,
sports clubs and societies, a post office, news agency, darkroom, shop, housing scheme, bar,
and art galleries. The Union assists with the provision of a computer room, book store,
hairdresser, bank, health service, travel agency, and counselling and employment guidance. The Union is much more than this, though. It is the union of all its disparate members,
and strives to serve and represent them throughout their University lives. The Union is the
backbone of the University's cultural life; the result of the dreams and hard work of a
century of members, their representatives and staff; and the emblem of the indomitable
spirit of students.

Item Type: Book
Publisher: Tasmania University Union
Collections: University of Tasmania > University of Tasmania Special Collections
Additional Information:

Communicated with the kind permission of Alison Alexander. © Alison Alexander, 1999 Further dealing in this work, other than fair dealing under the Copyright Act 1968, is not permitted

Date Deposited: 15 May 2014 00:38
Last Modified: 18 May 2014 22:05
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