Aug 20, 2012

University of Qld students rebel over ‘corrupt’ election

Fierce protests have rocked the University of Queensland's St Lucia campus after the ruling Liberal clique changed regulations to ensure this week's union election was a one-horse race.

Andrew Crook — Former <em>Crikey</em> Senior Journalist

Andrew Crook

Former Crikey Senior Journalist

Fierce protests have rocked the University of Queensland’s St Lucia campus after the ruling Liberal clique changed regulations to ensure this week’s union election was a one-horse race.

Right-wing office bearers led by UQU president Colin Finke passed secret alterations to union regulations that allowed opposition groups to maintain their name for 10 years. The change effectively means that every group aside from Fresh has been disqualified before a ballot has even been cast.

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14 thoughts on “University of Qld students rebel over ‘corrupt’ election


    God I’m glad I’m out of student politics. I loved the union, and I loved being on the staff, but the baby politicians where utterly unbearable.

    It was terrifying looking at the junior wings of the parties and think that one day these little sociopaths would one day be our leaders.

    I saw a great union with a decade long tradition of almost entirely non party aligned reps being voted in torn limb to limb by a party I’ll decline to mention deciding it wanted our NUS spots and then running 50 candidates for the 10 seats all crossing the beams on their preferences , gaining control, firing half the staff (including people who had been there for decades in positions utterly unrelated to student politics) replacing them with personal appointments from the new president and then changing the rules to disqualify all the independents who had worked for years to make it a great organiation.

    Absolute travesty. And here we see it happening in QLD too.

  2. The Old Bill

    Ah yes, the training ground of our future politicians, University politics. No wonder we can’t get anyone decent to run federally. Even at student level, it is all back stabbing and back room machinations, rather than serving the people who “elect” you.

  3. john2066

    Its really ironic that liberal students are running a union which largely gets its money from compulsory dues and government.

    Seriously, this argument is a great great argument for fully voluntary student unionism. The alternative always always leads to a mess.

  4. henriporte

    As the scandals at UQ go from bad to worse, it does raise the question: at what point will the university step in to restore the integrity of this once great organisation?

  5. beachcomber

    Campbell Newman will try this on at the next election. He’s already kicked the Opposition out of the Parliamentary precint, cut the number of Opposition MPs on Committees so that he always has the numbers, kicked the cameras out of Parliament, started charging the media to use rooms in Parliament, and scrapped Public Funding of elections. It’s not a huge jump to legislate a One Party state.

  6. Tall Poppy

    ‎***The entire university needs an ethic cleansing — namely in the form of a ROYAL COMMISSION — from Coal $eam Ga$ and the $mart $tate Institutes to the $chool of Medicine and the Regi$trar$ and $enator$… an empowered student body with switched-on representation could definitely facilitate this (because the faculty/staff and the university’s so-called ethics reforms certainly won’t — and the internal investigations director was just made redundant if you didn’t already know!), so keep up the good fight and do whatever you can to keep publicly exposing the university’s dirty laundry and confront the powers-that-shouldn’t-be… a ROYAL COMMISSION is the only way that UQ will ever be made right again and sustainable***

    It’s pretty obvious that UQ is feral on every level, from the student body govt to the chancellory… no wonder people like ex-VC and his daughters (yes there are 2) have been able to get away with their dodgy doings for so long — the rubberstamp student govt doesn’t hold the maladministration accountable at all! They’re all just a bunch of rich, parochial private school kids and daft international students riding off their parents who also went to UQ and/or the reputation of the university…

    The university truly is the (in)breeding ground for all that is wrong with Queensland society and politics, if not Australia on the whole (yep, the governor general and the federal treasurer are UQ alumni too — but would that adversely affect a ROYAL COMMISSION?) … but the above-the-law elitism, conflicts of interest and coverups are to be expected from a sandstoned uni that was founded by the blood monies of a lawless serial killer!

  7. Tall Poppy

    The student government should serve as an important check-n-balance to the University, but that’s obviously not been happening for the last ~6 years (the same time period that the UQ admin has gone feral) … it’s all related but no one wants to see/admit that because the truth is confronting, and nobody wants to jeopardize the reputation of their precious University; shameful that people put their self-interested bottom-line before the greater good and the truth, but sadly that is to be expected from irreverent, anti-whistleblowing Australia.

    This election debacle is just the tip of the iceberg — the problems are systemic at UQ and have been for a very long time. The student body should wake up to that fact, and the Union could really be a much-needed catalyst for change (like it used to be decades ago!), but only if the leaders are willing to step up to actually hold themselves AND the University accountable.

  8. jordan ketty

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  9. Simon Roberts

    I see your moderation is working well Crikey! ^

    It really underlines what babies the front bench of the LibNats are. Why are they still interested in what is happening in student politics? How weird. And why is Crikey covering this? It is mind-bogglingly trivial!

  10. zut alors

    We breed them carefully up here in Queensland, determined to keep the ‘bent’ gene in our politically inclined.

    A smile came to my lips on learning the UQU President is a F1nke.

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