Following the unfortunate hospitalisations at Electric Parade this past weekend, the University of Melbourne Student Union would like to once again affirm its commitment to drug harm reduction.

This incident, along with a number of other high profile tragedies over the last few months have highlighted the need for a broad approach to harm reduction that includes not only the provision of rudimentary pill testing kits, but also information relating to contraindications and safer practices surrounding the consumption of drugs.

Australians are some of the highest users of illegal drugs, with 41.8% of Australians aged 14 years and over using illicit drugs in their lifetime. Drugs consumed in Australia are among the most dangerous in the world due to huge variances in purity and a high incidence of toxic adulterants.

These issues disproportionately affect young people, with people aged 20-29 being more likely to have used illicit drugs than other age group.

UMSU passed a motion in 2016 supporting the implementation of a pill testing scheme because zero tolerance approaches have been ineffective and harmful. Instead of treating drug use as a complex health issue with societal and structural factors, Victoria Police and the Andrews government have reduced it to a criminal issue that can only be dealt with by suppression and force. Zero-tolerance policies cause active harm to individuals and communities in a way that is unhelpful and potentially devastating. Access to high quality methods of testing and information about safer drug-taking practices empowers Australians to make informed choices about their health and behaviour.

Our pill testing scheme is taking longer to roll out than we had expected to accommodate for this measured and evidence-based approach to reducing drug harm. We will be expanding the program to include education on steps that can be taken to ensure that you and your friends are as safe as possible. Our information sessions and publications will be available to you free of cost, and will include information on a wide variety of substances including alcohol, ‘party drugs’, psychedelics, and the broad class of stimulants used as ‘study drugs’. We will also be lobbying for high-level reforms in drug policy to allow for more accurate and reliable testing methods to be available to the public.

It’s no longer acceptable for Australians to expect that there will be drug-related hospitalisations and deaths every summer as if they are a permanent fixture of our festival and party scene. Through increased and improved drug education, the provision of high-quality testing services and policy reform, we can move towards a safer Australia for our young people.


Yan Zhuang
UMSU President

The University of Melbourne Student Union (UMSU) is appalled by the proposed changes to Newstart and Youth Allowance payments in the Social Services Legislation Amendment (Omnibus Savings and Child Care Reform) Bill 2017.

The proposed changes include a number of elements that will disproportionately and negatively impact students, including:

  • Upon being found eligible for Youth Allowance, individuals will still have to wait four to five weeks before receiving payment
  • Youth Allowance eligibility would depend upon the completion of mandatory activities, such as looking for work through ‘RapidConnectPlus’
  • Individuals aged 22 to 24 would no longer be eligible for Newstart payments ($528.70 per fortnight), and would have to transition on to Youth Allowance ($437.50 per fortnight). This is a cut of over 17%; that is, $2400 less per year

To put this in context: the Australian Council of Social Service defines “poverty” for a single adult at an income of less than $426.30 per week.

The proposed changes depict a unacceptable lack of awareness by the government for the concerns and needs of students. It is shameful that the Coalition have deprioritised student welfare to an extent that will cause serious ongoing financial stress to a significant segment of the student community.

UMSU condemns these changes, and will continue to advocate and fight for an equitable Centrelink system that puts the wellbeing of students above the drive for profit.

UMSU is further disappointed by the Department of Social Services’ statement that the proposed changes will “provide incentives to young unemployed people to obtain the relevant education and training to increase employability”. This implies that Centrelink benefits exist to provide incentives to find jobs. UMSU contends that it is the lack of jobs that necessitates these payments, and that it is the role of payments to ensure young people are able to maintain a reasonable standard of living when they are looking for work or studying full-time.

UMSU would also like to take this opportunity to remind University of Melbourne students that the Welfare department provides a free foodbank and breakfast bar, housing services and referrals to relevant support organisations.

Yan Zhuang
UMSU President

UMSU believes that all students should be paid in accordance with the law, regardless of the nature of their employment.

There are a number of tenancies in Union House, mostly food outlets, which are not operated by UMSU, but rather are commercial leaseholders with the University the landlord. The UMSU Legal Service has, from time to time, been approached by students employed by some of these retail tenancies in Union House as to their rights at work. In some cases, these students have instructed that their employers are paying under award wages and entitlements. In a number of these cases, the students affected have been international students.

While UMSU does not manage the operation or the leasing of tenancies on campus, we’re nevertheless deeply concerned that these unlawful practices are happening so close to home. Ensuring the ongoing welfare of students on campus is one of UMSU’s core missions. It is unacceptable that, at a time when many students are struggling to make money, a business on campus can profit from exploiting vulnerable workers.

In saying all this, we must acknowledge that the underpayment of international students is a systematic social problem. Students who work under the minimum wage often do so because they are unable to find work elsewhere, and need the money to survive. Often, unscrupulous retailers will take advantage of these students, while others turn them away with concerns based on thinly veiled racism – language barriers, visa constraints, etc. The onus is not on the students stuck in these situations to rectify their individual situations. Rather, it is the responsibility of the University and relevant government bodies to ensure that all students who attend university have the necessary safety nets in place to be able to support themselves.

This year, UMSU will be working closely with relevant bodies to ensure that all students are aware of their rights in the workplace. We will also be exploring ways we can lobby for structural change, so that students do not have to jump through these hoops to earn a decent living wage.

Information about minimum wage rates

Australian law sets the minimum wage rates, which establish the minimum amount that people must legally be paid for different kinds of jobs. It’s okay to be paid higher than the minimum rate set, but it’s illegal to pay less.

Just because you are young and eager to work doesn’t mean that an employer can take advantage of you and pay you less than you deserve. Before discussing pay with an employer, you can do some research to find out what you should be paid.

To find out more about minimum wage and pay rates, check out the Fair Work Ombudsman’s page:

According to them, the introductory hourly pay rate within hospitality is $17.70.

We strongly encourage any student who is concerned about their rates of pay or the lawfulness of their working conditions to contact the UMSU Legal Service {hyperlink}.

For more information, please check:

Feature Films & Live Comedy


  • Girl Asleep                                                                                                                    A820 MYE
  • Sully                                                                                                                              810 EAS
  • Bridget Jones’s Baby                                                                                                    820 MAG
  • Who Gets the Dog?                                                                                                      810 BOT
  • Spin Out                                                                                                                        A820 GRA
  • People Places Things                                                                                                   810 STR
  • Z For Zachariah                                                                                                            810 MOD
  • The Gift                                                                                                                         A820 EDG
  • Pan                                                                                                                                810 WRI
  • Jamaica Inn                                                                                                                  820 LOW
  • Turkey Hollow                                                                                                               810 THA
  • Nerve                                                                                                                            810 JOO
  • Maggie’s Plan                                                                                                               810 MIL
  • Cinderella (Disney)                                                                                                       810 GER
  • Robin Hood (Disney)                                                                                                    810 REI
  • Snow White & The Seven Dwarfs (Disney)                                                                 810 HAN
  • Belle & Sebastian: The Adventure Continues                                                              840 DUG
  • The Boy                                                                                                                        810 BEL
  • Aaaaaaaah!                                                                                                                   820 ORA
  • David Brent: Life on the Road                                                                                      820 GER
  • Mechanic: Resurrection                                                                                                830 GAN
  • The Clan                                                                                                                       860 TRA
  • As It Is In Heaven 2                                                                                                      839.7 POL
  • Our Little Sister                                                                                                             895.6 KOR
  • Touched With Fire                                                                                                        810 DAL
  • Storks                                                                                                                            810 STO
  • Sophie’s Choice                                                                                                            810 PAK
  • The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya                                                                     895.6 ISH


TV Shows


  • Banshee S3-4                                                                                                               810 BAN
  • The Wrong Girl S1                                                                                                        A820 WRO
  • Jessica Jones S1                                                                                                          810 JES
  • Outcast S1                                                                                                                    810 OUT
  • Curb Your Enthusiasm S3-4                                                                                         810 CUR
  • iZombie S1                                                                                                                    810 IZO
  • Futurama S6-7                                                                                                              810 FUT
  • Girls S5                                                                                                                         810 GIR
  • The Fall S3                                                                                                                   820 FAL
  • Agent Carter S1                                                                                                            810 AGE
  • UnReal S2                                                                                                                    810 UNR
  • Daredevil S1                                                                                                                 810 DAR
  • The Mindy Project S3                                                                                                   810 MIN
  • Bedlam S2                                                                                                                    820 BED
  • Fate/Zero Collection 1-2                                                                                               895.6 FAT



  • Attenborough: 60 Years in the Wild                                                                             591.51 ATT
  • Bush Mechanics                                                                                                           305.89915 BAT
  • Tickled                                                                                                                          306.77 FAR
  • For the Love of Meat                                                                                                    641.66 EVA

As January 26th draws ever closer, I’d like to take this opportunity to encourage my fellow University of Melbourne students to approach the day with an open and understanding attitude. For some, it is a day of mourning. For others, it can be a new start in a new place.

I’m not going to tell you how to act on Australia Day, whether you spend it in celebration or don’t. But as you go about your day, I encourage you to remember its history. I encourage you to think about what it is exactly that you are celebrating, and whose land you are standing on as you do so.

For many, January 26th is not a day for celebration, but rather of mourning. For the original owners of this land, it is a day to remember the atrocities that have been committed against them.

The atrocities that have been committed on the land we stand on, to its original inhabitants, is an ongoing process. The trauma and dispossession inflicted on them has ongoing repercussions. The process of reparation does not start and end with one national apology. The fact that our generation was not directly responsible for the actions that happened on the day that the First Fleet first arrived on Australia’s shores does not mean that we do not continue to benefit from it.

Australia Day should be a day of inclusion, a day for everyone to come together to celebrate what this country means to them. However, in its current state, this is not possible for many, and my heart goes out to those who are made to feel less, rather than more, Australian on this day.

I praise those who have taken action to make this day a more inclusive one, including Fremantle City Council and the Curtin Student Guild. It takes courage to lead the way regarding an issue such as this, and even more so after public backlash. I wish that in 2017, moves to create a more inclusive national day did not have to cause such controversy. I wish that the Australian people did not value the continuation of something that had ‘always been this way’ over the wishes of people who have been continually oppressed by it.

I don’t believe that moving the date of celebrations stops us from being able to celebrate the values we collectively share. Values such as acceptance, multiculturalism, and giving everyone a fair go and equal opportunities can only be strengthened by an acknowledgement that Australia Day is tainted. The day on which the first act of genocide was committed against the Indigenous people of this land should not be a cause for celebration. This debate, about what we value as Australians and how we demonstrate those values, must continue even after the day is over.

Looking into the future, I also take this opportunity to reach out to organisations closer to home. As one of the most diverse places in the country, the City of Melbourne has a duty to acknowledge the atrocities that were committed on January 26th. I encourage the City of Melbourne Council to think about their own celebrations, and the ways it can exclude groups of people. I further encourage other local councils to look at the example set by Fremantle in creating events that allow for inclusive celebrations to happen.

These actions by local councils need to be built upon at a national level and in the culture of how we celebrate this day. For this reason, we extend our encouragement to create more inclusive events to Triple J. Many in our organisation were disappointed with the decision not the change the date of the Hottest 100 and therefore failing to meet their words of Indigenous support with their actions. We encourage the organisation to reconsider their position so that this event may be celebrated at time when inclusive celebrations can be held.

Over the coming year, UMSU will be examining what we can do to make this a more inclusive day, whether that be lobbying the University to make the day an optional holiday, or writing to local councils to voice our stance.

If this is something you also feel strongly about, there are actions you can take. Demonstrations are happening across the country to allow people to show their support. In Melbourne, the demonstration will include people laying flowers on the steps of Parliament House to respect Aboriginal ancestors. You can find out more about the event on Facebook:

Indigenous culture and history is the foundation that this nation has been built on, and at times, over.

It’s time that our Australia Day celebrations reflect that.


Yan Zhuang
UMSU President

The University of Melbourne Student Union is excited by commitments laid out in the University’s recent Sustainability Plan and remains hopeful that these targets will be met.

While the University’s research, teaching and learning commitments are admirable, as well as their energy emissions, waste and water usage reduction targets, a clear pathway for implementation has not yet been decided upon.

The University also has had a track record of disregarding staff and students’ dedication to sustainability and their valuable ideas prior to the plan. Now that the commitments have been made and the relevant parties congratulated, implementation must remain a high priority for those who sit on the Sustainability Executive.

Furthermore, implementation cannot be done without first addressing the issues outlined below.


Despite the year long process of “consultation”, valuable ideas from staff to increase sustainability on campus are already beginning to fall by the wayside. The release of the Sustainability Plan has been pushed back from its original release date in September 2016 to now, a time when many academic staff and students are off campus over summer and unable to provide consultation. We call on the University administration to seriously reconsider how they communicate and engage with their staff on the ground, in order to ensure their commitment to sustainable governance practices.

Targets and Baselines

The development of the Sustainability Plan was largely facilitated by the Australian Centre for Corporate Social Responsibility (ACCSR), whose previous clients include Glencore Coal Assets Australia (Australia’s largest coal producer), and the Western Australian Department of Mines and Petroleum. Their influence can be seen throughout the report, where targets have been manipulated using a variety of different baselines and past reductions to justify weaker targets.

Throughout the plan, the University uses the achievements of student led campaigns as evidence of their own accomplishments, while many of their commitments remain vague. Some aspects of the plan are completely lacking any measurable targets.

These ambiguities must be addressed before we can be satisfied that the Plan properly covers all relevant areas.


The investments portion of the plan commits to developing a sustainable investments framework by the end of 2017, but with no assurance this will lead to meaningful divestment from fossil fuel companies. The plan also emphasises engagement with fossil fuel industries as a meaningful way to take action on climate change featuring heavily the opinions of university council member and ex-fossil fuel executive Robin Batterham.

UMSU sees engagement with fossil fuel companies as unacceptable. Stimulating the industry to undergo the fundamental and urgent changes necessary to mitigate the worst effects of climate change through shareholder engagement is extremely unlikely, especially for investors like the University of Melbourne with a relatively small fund. Given the incredibly tight timeframe we have to stop the worst impacts of climate change, and the clear recalcitrance of the fossil fuel industry in shifting to renewables, divestment from the Carbon Underground 200 should have been in the plan.

We call on the University to make the process of developing the divestment framework a transparent one, with staff and student divestment advocates and ethical investment experts to be included in the process. We hope the University will honour the deadlines they have set for themselves and have the processes planned by the end of March and the divestment framework released by the end of December 2017.

UMSU is dedicated to holding the University accountable on this issue, and will be tracking the University’s progress regarding the Sustainability Plan over the next four years at

You can find the University’s Sustainability Plan in full here:


Yan Zhuang
UMSU President

In the light of recent revelations about the enormous taxpayer-funded expenses politicians are claiming, the Government’s mismanagement of the Centrelink debacle is even more ridiculous and unnecessary. UMSU stands in support with all those who have been affected by this and calls on the Government to fix the Centrelink debt debacle and stop toying with students’ livelihoods.

According to data obtained from, politicians spent over $500 million in expenses between January 2011 and December 2015. However, the ones being made to shoulder the burden of restoring Australia’s economy has fallen to society’s most vulnerable, as the Government continues to try to recover a largely fictitious welfare debt.

The Centrelink Debt claw back has left many students alarmed and anxious that they owe thousands of dollars to the Government.

We’re all aware that Centrelink is slow, bureaucratic and an endless parade of hoops to jump through. But it has always fundamentally existed to take care of those most vulnerable in our society.

So why, all of a sudden, are students’ livelihoods threatened?

Centrelink’s debt recovery scheme is a broken system, the Government is using data and fluid algorithms to automatically formulate, often incorrect, debt notices. These notices are overwhelmingly targeted at vulnerable students, the elderly and people living with disabilities.

The Government has quite obviously made a grievous mistake. And every additional day it refuses to engage with the issue, every additional day it places the onus on those who’ve been wronged to correct its mistakes, is another day it continues to make a mockery of our social security system.

Recently, Simon Birmingham, the Minister for Education, appallingly attributed a rise in non-completion rates of University students to them having not thought their choices through. However, rather than blaming students, perhaps he would be more prudent to examine the dearth of efforts his own administration has made to ensure that students are sufficiently supported so that they can complete their degrees. It is exactly because of incidents like the Centrelink debacle, incidents which put unnecessary pressure on already struggling students, that students are likely to drop out of university.  

For all those that received Centrelink Debt Recovery correspondence, know that your Student Union is behind you in this period of injustice.

As the semester draws nearer, we at UMSU want to let you know what the future looks like for issues like this. We are committed to ensuring that students are not disadvantaged by the Government’s failings. We hope to implement a new campaign around Centrelink as a whole, to better educate students of their rights and responsibilities when conversing with the organization. In addition, we hope to provide more on-campus support for students struggling financially, including more resources on taxes and finances.

We also extend our sympathy to the workers at Centrelink who, while not being responsible for this mess, are the ones who are required to deal it, often while seriously under-resourced and underfunded. As a union, we reiterate that as much as the everyone’s anger is justified, it should not be directed at these workers, who deserve to be treated fairly and with respect.

If you’re feeling distressed upon receiving a debt recovery notice, UMSU offers a free legal service that can assist you with the process, which can be reached here:

Furthermore, the University offers a free counseling service to students, which you can find information about here:

Yan Zhuang
UMSU President

  • The divine invasion – Philip K. Dick 810 DIC
  • The way of kings – Brandon Sanderson 810 SAN
  • The wheel of Osheim – Mark Lawrence 820 LAW
  • Death’s end – Cixin Liu 895.1 LIU
  • Green Mars – Kim Stanley Robinson 810 ROB
  • The great glowing coils of the universe: welcome to night vale episodes –  Joseph Fink & Jeffrey Cranor 810 FIN
  • Crosstalk – Connie Willis 820 WIL
  • Den of wolves – Juliet Marillier NZ820 MAR
  • Elantris – Brandon Sanderson 810
  • Faller – Will McIntosh 810 MACI
  • Fantastic beasts and where to find them – J. K. Rowling 820 ROW
  • Gemina The Illuminae Files_02 – Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff 820 ROW
  • Swarm – Scott Westerfeld, Margo Lanagan & Deborah Biancotti A820 WES
  • The hidden people – Alison Littlewood 820 LIT
  • The city of woven streets – Emmi Itäranta 894.541 ITA
  • Fahrenheit 451 – Ray Bradbury 810 BRA
  • The children of men – P. D. James 820 JAM
  • Arcanum unbounded: The Cosmere Collection – Brandon Sanderson 810 SAN
  • Arrival – Ted Chiang 810 CHI
  • Runemarks – Joanne Harris 820 HAR
  • The fate of the tearling – Erika Johansen 810 JOH
  • Virgins – Diana Gabaldon 810 GAB
  • The girl on the train – Paula Hawkins 820 HAW
  • Dr. Knox – Peter Spiegelman 810 SPI
  • Lady cop makes trouble – Amy Stewart 810 STE
  • Slaughter park – Barry Maitland A820 MAI
  • The hit – Nadia Dalbuono 820 DAL
  • Ash island – Barry Maitland A820 MAI
  • Dead in the water – Tania Chandler A820 CHA
  • The trespasser – Tana French 820 FRE
  • The bone collection – Kathy Reichs 810 REI
  • The chemist – Stephenie Meyer 810 MEY
  • The ice beneath her – Camilla Grebe 839.7 GRE
  • Chaos – Patricia Cornwell 810 COR
  • Night school – Lee Child 810 CHI
  • Rather be the devil – Ian Rankin 820 RAN
  • The wrong side of goodbye – Michael Connelly 810 CON
  • Magpie murders – Anthony Horowitz 820 HOR
  • Never alone – Elizabeth Haynes 820 HAY
  • Signal loss – Gary Disher A820 DIS
  • Death in the clouds – Agatha Christie 820 CHR
  • Murder on the orient express – Agatha Christie 820 CHR
  • The fourth victim – Mari Jungstedt 839.7 JUN
  • Kill the next one – Federico Axat 868 AXA
  • Lovemurder – Saul Black 820 BLA
  • The whistler – John Grisham 810 GRI
  • Ink and bone – Rachel Caine 810 UNG
  • Pendulum – Adam Hamdy 820 HAM
  • The disappearance of Adele Bedeau – Graeme Macrae Burnet 820 BUR
  • Fight like a girl – Clementine Ford 305.420994 FOR
  • The panama papers: Breaking the Story of How the Rich and Powerful Hide Their Money – Bastian & Frederik Obermaier 323.445 OBE
  • Abandoned places – Henk van Rensbergen 779.96 REN
  • Hillbilly elegy : A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis – J. D. Vance 305.562092 VAN
  • Reinventing IKEA : 70 DIY Projects to Transform Ikea Essentials – Isabelle Bruno & Christine Baillet 684.1044 BRU
  • The Scholl case: the Deadly End of a Marriage – Anja Reich-Osang 364.1523092 REI
  • Into the darkness: The Mysterious Death of Phoebe Handsjuk – Robin Bowles 364.15082 BOW
  • The boy behind the curtain – Tim Winton 928 WIN
  • The panic virus : A True Story of Medicine, Science, and Fear – Seth Mnookin 614.47 MNO
  • Fair game: The Incredible Untold Story of Scientology in Australia – Steve Cannane 299.9360994 CAN
  • Animal: The Autobiography of a Female Body- Sara Pascoe 305.40207 PAS
  • The Pollan family table – Dana & Lori Pollan 641.5 POL
  • The misadventures of awkward black girl – Issa Rae 305.48896073 RAE
  • Universal: a guide to the cosmos – Brian Cox 523.1 COX
  • Why the future is workless – Tim Dunlop 331.12 DUN
  • The 101 greatest plays: From antiquity to the present -Michael Billington 792 BIL
  • Homo deus: a brief history of tomorrow -Yuval Noah Harari  909.83 HAR
  • My family and other animals – Gerald Durrell 590 DUR
  • The witches: Salem, 1692. A history – Stacy Schiff 345.74450288 SCH
  • Hygge: a celebration of simple pleasures. living the Danish way – Charlotte Abrahams 151.1 ABR
  • Smith & Daughters: a cookbook (that happens to be vegan) – Mo Wyse & Shannon Martinez 641.5636 MAR
  • Songs of a war boy – Deng Thiak Adut & Ben Mckelvey 927 ADU
  • The art of frugal hedonism : A guide to spending less while enjoying everything – Adam Grubb & Annie Raser-Rowland 332.024 RAS
  • 101 ways to live well – Victoria Joy & Karla Zimmerman 616.98 JOY
  • Frantumaglia: a writer’s journey – Elena Ferrante 928 FER
  • Murder at myall creek – Mark Tedeschi 305.89915 TED
  • Absolutely on music: conversations with Seiji Ozawa – Haruki Murakami & Seiji Ozawa 784.2092 MUR
  • True girt: the unauthorised history of Australia, Volume 2 – David Hunt 994 HUN
  • Atlas obscura : an explorer’s guide to the world’s hidden wonders – Joshua Foer, Dylan Thuras & Ella Morton 910.202 FOE
  • Suck less: where there’s a Willam, there’s a way – Willam Belli 818.602 BEL
  • The cook’s table : 130 recipes to share – Stephanie Alexander 641.5 ALE
  • Lonely planet’s where to go when : the ultimate trip planner for every month of the year – Sarah Baxter 910.202 BAX
  • A Woman Looking at Men Looking at Women: Essays on Art, Sex, and the Mind – Siri Hustvedt 814.54 HUS
  • The wife drought: why women need wives and men need lives – Annabelle Crabb 306.8723 CRA
  • Food freedom forever: letting go of bad habits, guilt, and anxiety around food – Melissa Hartwig 613.2 HAR
  • The princess diarist : a sort of memoir – Carrie Fisher 791.43028092 FIS
  • Born a crime: Stories from a South African Childhood- Trevor Noah 927 NOA
  • Dig: Australian Rock and Pop Music, 1960-85 – David Nichols 781.640994 NIC
  • Do humankind’s best days lie ahead? – Steven Pinker, Alain de Botton, Malcolm Gladwell & Matt Ridley 303.44 PIN
  • Lion – Saroo Brierley 927 BRI
  • Queen of Katwe – Tim Crothers 927 CRO
  • Time travel: a history – James Gleick 530.11 GLE
  • Tokyo – Rebecca Milner & Simon Richmond 915.2135 MIL
  • The barefoot investor : the only money guide you’ll ever need – Scott Pape 332.02400842 PAP