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One-party election goes on

August 27th, 2012

The Soviet-style one-party “election” for the UQ Union is rolling on, and so far the University has not acted to stop it, though there are some hopeful signs. Here’s an open letter supported by a wide variety of student groups, including many that would normally be regarded as conservative in their orientation. There’s a petition here, which I urge readers to sign.

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  1. Ikonoclast
    August 27th, 2012 at 13:37 | #1

    Just a thought. The UQ Senate, the Law Dept. and the School of Political Science and International Studies (POLSIS) at UQ ought to make this situation a case study and an objective practical exercise in introducing full democracy to the UQ Student Union. This democracy ought to be fully informed by involvement of the relevant state and national laws and the AEC (Australian Electoral Commission).

    Given that;

    1. The Student services fee is compulsory;
    2. These monies are largely transferred to the union;
    3. How the Union committee and executive spend this money affects the student polity; and
    4. Student politics is the learning ground for democratic and other political principles for our future intelligentsia; then

    It is not acceptable that the Sudent Union be an unincorporated, undemocratic body without free and fair elections and not conferring adequate general democratic rights and protections to all students. Intervention of the sort to require free and fair elections is not paternalism. It corrects the oversights and confusion created by inadequate past policy. It simply holds the student body to the same democratic standards expected of formal political and workers’ union elections in our Australian democracy.

  2. Dan
    August 27th, 2012 at 13:48 | #2

    Just. Wow.

    I find it unbelievable that the people affiliated with Fresh comfortable with this sort of thing…?

  3. Moz
    August 27th, 2012 at 17:04 | #3

    Looks very much like overreach to me. So I’m even more interested in what has happened in past years than what this lot have done this year. I assume it’s bad, but I’m curious about how far back up that slippery slope we have to go to see reasonable behaviour.

    On the other hand, I’m fearful that this will give the Queensland state government ideas. How much control do they have over the equivalent electoral process?

  4. Bring back Birdy at Catallaxy
    August 28th, 2012 at 06:30 | #4

    I was teaching at UQ in 2007-2008 when the Fresh incumbency began, and in the second of those years the signs were already ominous – front tickets impersonating the Greens, and vandalism of the Women’s Room and Queer Room IIRC. It’s also worth noting that one Wyatt Roy was a Fresh candidate in an election in this period. He has since gone on to be the Short Boy in Longman in the Federal Parliament.

  5. Bring back Birdy at Catallaxy
    August 28th, 2012 at 08:56 | #5

    Another one of many irregular aspects of the whole affair is that the UQ Union is an unincorporated body. During my time in student politics it was generally considered desirable from a number of angles, by people across the political spectrum, for university student associations to incorporate, and the Griffith University Act 1998 specifically requires the student council to be incorporated.

  6. Antonio
    August 28th, 2012 at 10:42 | #6

    Unfortunately, most groups of political students will contain some young people (esp. first year students) who are overenthusiastic, yet to learn acceptable social norms of political debate and thus resort to stupid behaviour like vandalism or graffiti. It happens in both Left and Right. The case mentioned above was dealt with under University disciplinary procedures and the Union quickly removed the vandalism.

    The running of dummy tickets is a perennial problem in student politics which also happens across Left and Right. The previous UQU rules instituted in 2008 regarding ticket registration were inspired by similar rules at QUT, Melbourne Uni and Adelaide Uni which made it much harder (but not impossible) to register dummy tickets. The new rules though are ridiculous.

    In terms of Incorporation, when I was Union Secretary in 2003 I tried everything to incorporate the Union. I even FOI-ed the University’s files regarding incoporating the Union and UQ Sport dating back from before WW2. Very long story short, the University has consistently refused to allow either organisation to incorporate fearing loss of control.

  7. Jim
    September 7th, 2012 at 17:15 | #7

    Do these kids undertaking this dubious behaviour realise how much of it is documented on the web including their names?

    Given that most advertised graduate jobs are grossly over subscribed, employers focus on a process of eliminating applicants with a poor academic record and / or evidence of poor character as a first step.

    Because graduate applications typically provide little insight to a candidate’s character, the first thing many prospective employers do is trawl the web looking for supplementary information. Any whiff of a poor character, and the application is assigned to the bin. Why bother with an applicant that might have a dubious character when there are hundreds of graduates with a good academic record and a good character?

    Involvement in dodgy student union behaviour (real or not) might win you 15 minutes of fame while at university, but the cost can be a world of pain in the competitive graduate job market.

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