“It also creates tension towards the harmonious study environment for international students”
A conglomerate of 26 organisations including all 11 of NSW’s universities, the National Union of Students, the NSW police force and four museums have co-signed the government’s warning that said: “the NSW Government, education providers, industry peak bodies and international student organisations do not support the OSA and NLC and they are not recognised as bodies representing international students in NSW.”
The government’s response highlights the seriousness of the issue, which has been going on for years according to the Council of International Students Australia (CISA) – the nation’s peak student representative body advocating the needs of Australia’s 500,000 international students.
CISA has received numerous accounts from students who have allegedly been harassed and initiated by OSA representatives.
“The intimidating behaviour towards international students by any organisation which claims to represent the needs and interest of international students is certainly concerning; at the same time, contradictory,” Thomson Ch’ng, President of CISA, told The PIE News.
“It also creates tension towards the harmonious study environment for international students,” he added.
The NLC retaliated by saying it did not not understand why Andrew Stoner – NSW’s deputy Premier – wants to be the public enemy of “the Chinese, the Indian, the Muslim and all other Multicultural Communities in Australia by defaming NLC and our SAFETYCard programme”.
The OSA’s website advertises a telephone hotline for students seeking to acquire the card, which it also claims will give students discounts at local galleries and museums – all of whom have refused the OSA’s request for discounts.
The OSA’s site also carries the government logo and a myriad of university emblems that are not approved and currently infringing on trademark rights. NSW Fair Trading has launched an investigation into possible breaches of Australian consumer laws by the OSA.