The right-wing president of the University of Queensland student union has refused to answer questions over why his ruling “Fresh” party secretly registered the name of a rival group and then installed his brother as a candidate for next week’s student elections.
Colin Finke, the Young LNP-linked union president drafted last year by campus Liberal powerbroker Brodie Thompson to sit atop the $16 million fiefdom, released a statement yesterday headed “Democracy alive and well at University of Queensland” in response to Crikey‘s exclusive report on the fracas.
But despite inviting follow-up questions, he has dodged direct queries over why Fresh had registered the name of Pulse — the established brand of the progressive opposition. When the real Pulse submitted its ticket it was told by returning officers that the name had already been taken.
Finke’s brother is now believed to be running “against” Finke as a “Pulse” candidate.
Early this morning, the real Pulse hit back, alerting media to the fact they were unaware of the change until August 14, and by that stage the name had been snaffled.
“The incumbents have simply stolen the name,” Lorelei Links, organiser of the “Democracy 4 UQU” movement, said. “When our team was rejected, we only had 48 hours to put together a totally new campaign, so our candidates decided to withdraw and no longer legitimise this corrupt process.”
Opposition councillor Flynn Rush attended the August 10 council meeting that passed the changes, but says he was physically denied access to printed copies of their text.
Voting will commence next week and dissidents have promised a wave of activism until democracy is restored.