Protest against VSU – 28 April

Something over four thousand turned out for one of the biggest student-based demonstrations in Melbourne in recent years – colourful contingents from a range of campuses, supported by trade unionists, especially NTEU members.

Proceedings began as usual with speeches at the State Library, with Martin Kingham of the CFMEU pledging support and reminding students that their fight is a common struggle with the trades unions – he called for large student turnout in support of the planned union rally on 30th June.

A noisy march led by amazingly energetic cheerleaders went down Swanston St, along Bourke St to Parliament House, where a small group in blue t-shirts were stationed behind police lines. The afternoon ended with a concert and food in the Treasury Gardens, with Rod Quantock regaling the crowd by cutting Brendan Nelson down to size.

Banners leading march

The head of the march

A great cheer marked the arrival of the contingent from VCA:

Huge 'heart' - captioned VSU ripping the heart out of student life

And this group too – ?from Melbourne University:

Students with placards - Queer Depts. save lives, etc.

On the steps of the State Library (we’ve seen this image before somewhere …)
Student with anti-Howard placard

More photos from the rally and march:

Placard - VSU causes lung cancer

Martin Kingham on PA truck

Martin Kingham – “Your cause is our cause …”

Fleur Taylor on PA truck

Fleur Taylor of Socialist Alternative drawing inspiration from the student struggles against Kennett

Cheerleaders in pink tutus

Representatives of the whole spectrum – except a certain shade of blue, perhaps.

Massed red flags


More things threatened by VSU (if you’re wondering why they’re looking up, check the next photo):

Placards referrign to closure of student cafes etc

Research officer from NSU on the job:

Well-known student union officer with camera on balcony viewing march

Another threatened area:

Placrds referring to closure of Arts Depts.

NTEU members make common cause with students:

NTEU placard held up to camera

Not clear if this the full membership of group. Their pro-VSU heckling was met by a powerful chant of “Howard’s a wanker”, which may not have done much to raise the tone of debate, but what can you reply to the sort of thing shown in the next photo?

Pro-VSU students  outside Parliament House, behind line of police

Placard with modified cartoon on Sadam Hussein

Had a lot of trouble getting a fix on this group during the march, and finally caught them in the gardens – quite appropriate really:

Students from Environmental Science on grass at Treasury Gardens