In and Out of Work – Backpackers and Australia visa requirements

Below is the UGS I have created that focuses around a backpacker from The UK that is faced with the dilemma of having to find new work due to Australian visa requirements and also considering completing farm work in rural Australia to continue his travels and extend his visa in Australia for a second year.

As much as Australians go over seas there are also many people that come to Australia to experience and travel the Australian way of life and experience the different natural elements the country has to offer. Australia has many people coming in to travel and also look for part time work, but many get annoyed at the fact that they have to find new employment every six months, but when visiting the Australian department of immigration website it doesn’t elaborate on why it is that backpackers and travelers on a working holiday must find new work after only six months of employment.

It is difficult for some people who just wish to stay in one city and use it as a hub for their travels for the year they are in Australia, but it is also good, for people like James Roberts who I had interviewed, because he said that only being allowed to work for six months would give him that extra push to make him go and live somewhere else in Australia.

Farm work is also another issue for backpackers on a working holiday visa. They are confronted with long days in the hot sun, with some backpackers going to pick fruit in Queensland and being paid very low wages.

A Story in The Australian talked about how there was a decline in backpackers recently to Australia. Maybe looking at some of these rules, of having to find new employment after six months or having to do farm work if you want to extend your visa for a second year are things that could possibly be changed in order to attract more visitors to Australia.


Featured feature and critical review

Featured feature

The big C and me
By: Jill Baker
I enjoyed reading this article because I felt like it really made me think. It makes you think about something that is talked about openly in our society today. You hear about cancer on TV, on a friends Facebook page that is running for the cure, and celebrities like Angelina Jolie getting a double mastectomy. You hear about your friend’s mum that has passed from breast cancer, or your great grandfather suffering from cancerous tumours, but do we actually think about it? I know cancer is a very serious and scary thing, but until I read this article, it didn’t occur to me that I never took the time to realize what it actually means and what happens to a person and what they are put through when the have to deal with the big C. The fact that Jill Baker had written this article herself, I believe made it a more heartfelt and emotional piece of work. To recall all details of such a traumatic time in her life would have been very difficult and scary to be that open and honest about something that has rocked her world. It sounds pretty shallow to say that what really affected me in this story was when Jill had to shave her head. It was inevitable and she knew she was going to lose it anyways. I always knew that you lost your hair when you received chemo, but actually thinking about it made me realize how brave she must have been to go through everything she had gone through. Things like a shaved head, something I would be over the top emotional about, Jill faced head on because she had to, and did it on her own. What I learnt from this article is that writing in first person can be written so emotionally well that details of someone else’s private life that you don’t even know can really have an impact on you.

Where the hell is everyone?
By: Patrick Carlyon
A first read through this article might prove a bit difficult. There are many different stories and perspectives being told. You establish a sense of panic, confusion and horror throughout the story. It really makes you focus on what you are reading. Patrick Carlyon, the writer of the article, would have had to take the time to speak to survivors and understand their stories. I think he chose a really smart way to write the article, because it shows how hectic and sudden the whole event was and how no one could do anything to stop the fires. He would have sat down and listened to each person recall the details of their day and you get the sense that when people told their stories they would say, it happened so quickly. He portrays everyone in the story experiencing an event that crept up and surprised everyone. He took their details and described them so simply. The way he has written it builds great suspense for the reader. Using a timeline of people’s lives leading up to the disaster really shows how unexpected and quickly the situation got out of hand. I really liked this article because it made you want to continue reading. I couldn’t read it fast enough to know what happened next.

Monday Mourning
By: Kate Legge
500-word review

“Monday Mourning” by Kate Legge is a very powerful feature article written about a tragedy that had taken place in downtown Melbourne that affected an array of different lives. She gives in-depth details about the events that had taken place that Sunday night leading into Monday morning. Some of the themes she uses throughout the piece consist of 2 worlds colliding; good vs. evil, night and day. She talks about these everyday Melbourne citizens waking up in their “white collar innocence” on their way to work, and unbeknownst to them, they meet a world that is polar-opposite of what they would expect to encounter on a Monday morning. A world of wretchedness, as Legge describes it, is the monsters that lurk in casinos and strip clubs at this early hour. The central idea of this piece is one of horror and tragedy. It was written to make you think about what goes on at night, when most people are sleeping. There is another world that involves drugs, sex and violence.

This feature, I believe, was one that was written to make citizens aware of the laws that are in place, and when something this tragic happens, the laws should be changed. The story aimed at making Melbournians aware by giving evidence of what happened, shining a light on the laws of gun regulations and 24-hour liquor licenses. By writing in this way it provokes people to consider laws they may not have previously thought about, and question why they are the way they are.
There are many lives in this story that come together to produce a well-rounded and well-researched piece. This event was preceded by a court case that described all the happenings of that early morning and the people involved. Legge did a good job to investigate the lives affected from all aspects to create a very detailed story. David Brearley said, “ Public interest in cases of this size and complexity can dry up very quickly without regular features to sustain it (Writing Feature Stories 2004 p.142).” Obviously the public was very shocked by what happened, but I believe by having Legge write a story in this way made this evidence more interesting rather than just facts so it could attract a broader audience. From this article, I’ve learnt that to write a good story you have to do your research. I like how Legge has gotten background information on the lives of the dancers at the Rhino club, and the people on their way to work in the morning and thing’s they have dealt with in their lives. I like how she has an account of all details of the event that had taken place without even being there. With an example of the John Marsden case that is featured in writing feature stories, David Brearley said that he attended all court cases of Marsden and frequently spoke to him off the record. He attained more than enough information for a feature article, and it seems like this is also the same path that Legge has taken in writing “Monday Mourning”. Having reference to Professor John Currie, the director of addictive medicine and mental health, allows the reader to see that from a professional viewpoint that this type of behaviour only leads to trouble, further instilling the readers thoughts on the lives of night crawlers and the laws that allow them to roam the city at night. To provide an unbiased approach for the story, Legge also provides a quote from the gun lobby liquor industry advocates. This provides for a well-rounded article that allows the reader to create his or her own opinion. Overall I really enjoyed reading this feature article and the way it has been written makes me want to know more.

What would you pay for higher education?

In Australia alone 307, 050 students from overseas were enrolled in higher education as of the 30th of June 2012. While most International students come from Australia’s neighboring countries China, and India, there are still students from all over the world wanting to experience the Australian lifestyle.

Universities in Australia charge International students the highest amount of tuition that can be charged, no matter which country they are from. The average amount of tuition each semester for an International student is around $12,000. After providing you with those numbers, it is pretty easy to imagine that Universities are making a pretty penny for these student imports. While it’s hard to pinpoint, what exactly, makes students want to come to Australia and study they still arrive every year looking for those new experiences and the hopes of a great education.

These students understand what is expected of them financially and intellectually, and hopefully they prepare themselves to be able to afford living and studying abroad. What most students don’t realize before they enter Australia is that, although they pay the highest rates to be able to attend Universities in Australia, they are also expected to pay full price for their transportation as well.

Jennifer Hsu, an International student advisor at Deakin University, came to Melbourne from Taiwan with her family at the young age of 15. Jennifer has expressed that, “Even attending the Presbyterian Ladies College I was expected to pay full fare for my public transportation and nothing changed once I started attending Deakin University.”
Jennifer has had to pay full fare for her public transport even at a young age, when all of her Australian friends would be offered the student discount. Jennifer now deals with complaints, as a student advisor, from International students having to pay full fare. Even though these students are paying thousands of dollars each semester to study.

From a 2013 report released by ‘The International Education Advisory Council of Australia’ they have communicated that every year students flock to Australia with the hopes of a better life and a better education. Some cities in Australia just haven’t been able to keep up with the growing population of International students. The overall voice of the report is to create more support for the anticipated growing rate of these students.

The report has indicated that although in 2010, there was a decrease in International students to Australia; they still see an overall growth in the Industry. Australia experiences a 7 percentile increase for every 4 years, experiencing 3.4 million students in 2009 and predict the growth will continue and anticipate 7 million by 2020. The council wants Australia to be ready and prepared for the masses. The strategy over the next few years will be to create a friendly and safe environment for students to live and achieve their goals. The main objectives expressed in the report are to be able to support these students with safe and affordable living, health, and transport.

It seems great that Australia is strategically thinking about how they will sustain these students, but why have Victorian international students never been offered student fare pricing for public transport?

All other states in Australia allow their international students to obtain a concession card for cheaper transport. New South Whales is engaged in a trial concession card for international students, in the hopes that they can attract more students than competing states. These concession cards have the potential of saving these students up to $800, but many opinions are saying the paperwork is too much of a headache to actually participate.

The National Union of Students, NUS, is a group that represents all University students studying in Australia. This student run organization played a large role in helping international students in NSW obtain rights to student priced fares.
They are currently attending Universities within inner city Melbourne promoting their cause. They wish to raise more awareness on the subject that international students are forced to pay full fare transport. Their cause proved successful in NSW and they hope to be able to bring the success to students in Victoria as well.

Lucinda Qiana is a supporter of NUS and is frequently attending Universities across the state to promote awareness of the subject. Lucinda is an international student from China and has been studying in Melbourne for the past 6 years. “We are bringing the issues to Parliament, because all students should be treated as equal.”
Is what Lucinda say’s when people ask why she is representing the national union of students.

“Having to pay so much for tuition as an international student is already a burden, and I shouldn’t have to worry about transport as well. It’s not one issue, it’s many issues of people being treated as equal.” Lucinda and other NUS supporter’s were recruiting students and teachers to sign a petition at Deakin University when I met up with her to ask a few questions. They plan to be at Deakin University every Friday to get as many names on their petition as possible. They had been to other Universities within the city since Monday and had already received 3,000 signatures on the petition to present to Parliament.

When speaking with Gavin Hodgkinson, a Deakin Union of Student’s Association or better known on campus as DUSA, he had expressed his concerns and knowledge on the issue by saying, “I agree that it isn’t fair that all student’s don’t receive concession, and I do recall the University looking into supplying all international students with concession cards, but after some investigation, the University realized it would be too costly and they would not be able to afford it.”
He expressed that; “ The government most likely wouldn’t be considering offering concession for international students because statistics showed acceptance of international students was down in the past two years.”

With the Education Advisory Councils action plan, and the international students continuing to create awareness on an issue that is so significant to them. Hopefully Victoria will follow the examples set by other Australian states and provide an easier and more affordable transition for these students into an Aussie lifestyle.

Pitch for feature story on international students

Topic: International Students
Angle: No concession cards

I would like to do a feature story on a topic that is familiar to me, which is international students that come to Australia to study. My angle of the feature story will reflect how, in the State of Victoria, international students are not granted concession cards for cheaper public transport. It is the Universities that have students fill out concession card forms and then take them into a Victoria public transport office, to be stamped and approved. There they will get a piece of paper laminated stating they can pay concession fares. I know that although I am an international student, I have to keep my opinion out of the piece and focus on the research I have found.

Through the research I have provided, in Australia, all States have concession for international students. Victoria is the only State that is lacking cheap transport for International students, although Victoria has the second highest number of international students just under New South Whales. It is Victoria’s third largest export, after iron ore, and coal.

I believe this story would interest a local news outlet because it is an angle that a lot of Australian citizens do not know about. There is a lot of information around the subject and seems that it can be written about from many different angles. There are recent government reports that talk about a 30% increase in international students by 2020 and more support in accommodation and transportation would create an easy transition for international students into an Australian lifestyle. I have attached links for the government reports and others at the bottom of my pitch. I believe it is a good story right now because with these statistics showing growth in the next few years, they will have time to discuss such topics and be able to provide a solution for the growing international student population.

Research: Secondary Sources

1. Department of Immigration and Citizenship
I took information from this website regarding where International students come from and how many International students come to Australia. I found through their media resources the student visa statistics. It gives information on when visa applications are being processed and how many international students are in Australia at one time. Also shows the growth and decline of International students. It was said that in 2012 there was a slight increase in International students coming to Australia and might have been because Universities no longer had a cap on the amount of international students they could enroll.

2. Australian Bureau of Statistics
From the Australian Bureau of Statistics website I found percentiles of international students studying in Victoria vs. studying in New South Whales. There are many international students studying in the rest of Australia, but their numbers are nowhere near comparable to those of New South Whales and Victoria. Later I will touch on concession for international students in all States. The statistics also provided where Australia is ranked in the world for number of international students they accommodate.

3. Australian Education International–%20Educating%20Globally%20FINAL%20REPORT.pdf
I found information on how International students are a large factor in Australia’s economy. It provides information on the revenues received by each state from international students. The website had information that talked about infrastructure and how legislation couldn’t keep up with the growing number of international students. That’s why such things as concession transport lag.
International Education Advisory Council predicts there will be an increase of international students into Australia by 2020. Concession for all students is an action plan they would like to be able to implement between now and that time. It’s not a case of whether the government wants to provide these services for international students. It’s getting the government to catch up with the growing demand of international students.

4. Universities Australia
An organization that was established in 2007, released a “ten point action plan” that was developed to create a safer Australia for international students. Universities Australia decided that they needed to implement a plan to make it safe for international students. The 10-point action plan covered many different topics like, improving safety of students, providing affordable accommodation and concession travel cards.

5. News article
I found heaps of news articles on the subject of international students wanting fair public transportation. Many were in Victoria, but most news articles were focused on NWS. NSW now has concession fares for international students, but they are only 30% discounts, not 50% like domestic students. The concession in NSW is only a 12-month pilot program to see if concession for international students is practical.

6. Academic Journal
Robertson, S 2011, ‘Cash cows, backdoor migrants, or activist citizens? International students, citizenship, and rights in Australia’, Ethnic & Racial Studies, 34, 12, pp. 2192-2211, SocINDEX with Full Text, EBSCOhost, viewed 22 April 2013.
One article focused on international students as “cash cows” who are made to pay full price tuition upfront to be able to have an education in a different country. Although international students produce some of the highest revenues for Australia, they don’t provide many breaks, like concession travel.

7. Academic Journal
Jakubowicz, A, & Monani, D 2010, International Student Futures In Australia : A Human Rights Perspective On Moving Forward To Real Action / Andrew Jakubowicz With Devaki Monani, n.p.: Canberra, A.C.T. : Academy of Social Sciences in Australia, 2010., DEAKIN UNIV LIBRARY’s Catalog, EBSCOhost, viewed 22 April 2013.
Another academic article spoke about how there is still a lot of racism towards international students, and that they don’t feel welcome in Australia. Society still doesn’t treat them as equals but from a survey taken at Melbourne University, most students surveyed wish to stay in Australia after they have studied to work live and create a life.

8. Public transit sites for Melbourne and Sydney
There have been arguments in news articles about Victoria having competitive public transport fares, and that is why they do not offer concession fares to international students. I have researched this and compared fare price to see if that is the case.

9. New South Whales Government Site
Government report stating the beginning trial of concession cards for International students.

10. Public Transit Users Group
This website gives information on public transport from a lobby group perspective. Answers questions about Melbourne’s public transport and makes it more user friendly. Answers any questions or concerns. Includes things regarding new developments happening within the public transit sector.

Primary Sources

1. Gavin Hodgkinson
DUSA Advocate 03 9244 6356
Recently talked with Gavin about concession transport for International students and he told me that a few years ago, the University was looking into paying for concession cards for international students themselves, but after some research on costs it was found out that it would cost the University millions of dollars, so the campaign was dropped. He couldn’t think of anything going on at the moment regarding this issue. He knew that statistics said the last 2 years international student acceptance was down and that may have an effect on whether or not things like concession would be considered.

2. Maddy Sexton
DUSA-Burwood campus coordinator 61 401 076 013
Gave me some information about concession. It costs 3$ extra to get your concession card laminated, which she thinks is ridiculous. Everything is just a money grab. She remembers hearing students talk about concession transport for international students during O-week.

3. Public Transport Victoria 1800 800 007
I couldn’t find any specific one person from the PTV website, but I wanted to call there customer service line and ask if the subject of concession for international students is brought to their attention, and what PTV has to say about it.

4. Jennifer Hsu
International Student Adviser
Deakin International Support, Student Life +61 3 92446142
Talk to a student advisor about the issue and if she will put me in contact with international students that have maybe had a bad experience. Talk about what her experiences are with concession transport and Deakin University.

5. Education Services for Overseas Students Legislation
1 300 615 262
Contact number from the Australian Government website featuring the council report that talk about a massive increase in International students by 2020 and improvements to make life for these students better, like having concession for international students.

6. International Education and Research Taskforce
+61 (2) 9338 6859
Information taken from the NSW government page regarding a ‘taskforce’ that was established to protect the rights of international students.

7. Council of International students Australia (CISA)
President: Aleem Nizari 04 1484 2329
A lobby group established for the betterment of international students, run by international students. CISA is based in Melbourne but they were active participants in helping international students in NSW establish concession transport.

8. National Union of Students (NUS)
Johnny Zhang
International Office 03 9650 8908
International student I met at Deakin that is a representative of the organization who was getting students to sign a petition to send to the Victoria legislature to get them to pass a law to allow international students concession.

9. Public Transit Users Group 03 9650 7898

10. Academic
Shanthi Robertson
He is an expert on the subject of international students migrating to Australia. Local professor at RMIT, so I will be able to arrange an interview or be able to call him.
‘Cash cows, backdoor migrants, or activist citizens? International students, citizenship, and rights in Australia’.

11. Dutch exchange student
Saski Hortensius
Talked about how she gets concession transport, but does not have a concession card because she doesn’t pay when she uses public transport.

12. National Union of Students supporter
Lucinda Qiana
Lucinda is a Chinese student who has been in Australia for 6 years. She believes all students should be equal and international students should have concession travel as well.


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HENRIETTA, C 2012, ‘State lags on cheap travel for students’, Age, The (Melbourne), 7 November, Newspaper Source Plus, EBSCOhost, viewed 22 April 2013.

Robertson, S 2011, ‘Cash cows, backdoor migrants, or activist citizens? International students, citizenship, and rights in Australia’, Ethnic & Racial Studies, 34, 12, pp. 2192-2211, SocINDEX with Full Text, EBSCOhost, viewed 22 April 2013.

Jakubowicz, A, & Monani, D 2010, International Student Futures In Australia : A Human Rights Perspective On Moving Forward To Real Action / Andrew Jakubowicz With Devaki Monani, n.p.: Canberra, A.C.T. : Academy of Social Sciences in Australia, 2010., DEAKIN UNIV LIBRARY’s Catalog, EBSCOhost, viewed 22 April 2013.
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Concession travel on public transport in Australia | Council of Australian Postgraduate Associations. 2013. Concession travel on public transport in Australia | Council of Australian Postgraduate Associations. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 24 April 2013].

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