Got this in my email yesterday...
wonder if current MUOSS office bearers are aware of this.
International students miss out on taskforce spot
October 6, 2008
The Age online
INTERNATIONAL student groups are furious they have been excluded from a State Government taskforce set up to examine the problems they face.
The National Liaison Committee for International Students (NLC), widely accepted as the main representative body for overseas students, was not invited to join the taskforce.
President Eric Pang said he would be demanding an explanation why the committee had been left out, especially since it had worked closely with state and federal governments since its inception in 1986 to improve welfare for international students.
The president of the Federation of Indian Students (FISA), Raman Vaid, also slammed the taskforce, saying given that nearly 50% of international students to Victoria came from China and India, there should be direct representation on the taskforce from those groups.
The Overseas Student Experience Taskforce, led by the parliamentary secretary for industry and trade, Marsha Thomson, is expected to examine the shortage of accommodation for international students, personal attacks on students, workplace exploitation and social integration among other things.
Gautam Gupta, a member of the Federation of Indian Students, who has been working with Ms Thomson on how to improve safety for Indian students for the past two years, said the taskforce could not be taken seriously because it lacked representation from key international student groups.
"NLC has made comments that have been embarrassing for the Government and so has FISA and other representative organisations and they have been selectively kept out," he said.
Taskforce members include representatives from the Victorian Multicultural Commission, the higher education sector, the public and private vocational and training sector, the Department of Immigration and Citizenship, Victoria Police, the City of Melbourne and the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission. The student groups on the taskforce are the Australian Federation of International Students, a student services group established in 2002, and the Victorian branch of the National Union of Students (NUS).
Branch president Sarah Cole said the NUS recognised the NLC as the peak international students body and expressed surprise it had been excluded.
Professor Chris Nyland from Monash University, who has researched the plight of international students, said the taskforce had a good spread of relevant people but Indian and Chinese students groups should be represented.
The taskforce will report to the Minister for Skills and Workplace Participation, Jacinta Allan, rather than Parliament, within two months — after just eight hours of formal and confidential deliberations.
Opposition spokesman on tertiary education and training Peter Hall dismissed the taskforce as a sham, saying it lacked public accountability; had a "ludicrous" timeframe within which to work; and while its members were drawn from a wide range of fields, direct international student representation was missing.
"There's no opportunity for any public input into this at all and I think that makes the whole process a real sham," he said.
The taskforce met for the first time on Friday. Some members were not present. At least two representatives from the higher education sector have not been confirmed, and the representative from the only international student group, AFIS, was interstate.