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Politics

Aug 15, 2005

Student politics turns dirty at Melbourne Uni

Crikey reporter Sophie Black writes: The President of the Australian Liberal Students' Federation at the University of Melbourne has been named in the inve

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Crikey reporter Sophie Black writes:


The President of the Australian
Liberal Students’ Federation at the University of Melbourne has been named in
the investigation into the wrecking of a women’s room in the Student Union building. Julian Barendse, who says that claims of
Liberal student involvement are “ridiculous,” has been identified as one of the vandals to police.

Jim Round, an editor of student newspaper Farrago, told
Crikey that
he was working late when he heard male voices coming from the
nearby women’s room. Round says that he found
three men in the midst of the wreckage in the female-only safe room.
“But the one I
recognised was Julian,” he says. Round, who’s given a statement to police, claims he exchanged words with Barendse and
attempted to steal a photo of the young Liberal on
his digital camera. It was
at that point that Barendse bolted.

According to The Age Barendse is a part-time staffer for federal Liberal MP Tony Smith and
also consulted Education Minister Brendan Nelson on the drafting
of his controversial voluntary
student union policy. As for Jim’s claims that he caught Julian
red-handed, Barendse told Crikey, “Left wing Student Union office
bearers
often make false
allegations about Liberal students.”

“Liberals respect private property,” he said, “and while may we think that
women’s rooms are a waste of student money, we wouldn’t go after them in a
physical way.”

Barendse also responded to allegations made to The Ageby unidentified Liberal MPs that the Young Liberal Movement was being
“infiltrated by far-right zealots.” “It’s
pretty
poor that state MPs
attack liberal students and get involved in campus politics, it’s
pretty petty
and extremely gutless that they cannot even put their names to it,” he told Crikey.

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