This boy will go far

At what appears to be a tender age, UQ Union President Colin Finke has perfected the art of the non-denial denial. Responding by email to a question from the Brisbane Times about the exclusion of all opposition parties from the Union elections (their names having been registered by Finke’s cronies), Finke stated

“These accusations are completely incorrect,”

“My understanding is that the returning officer [gym manager Alexa Faros-Dowling], an independent officer overseeing the UQ Union elections, has informed students that there are a number of registered parties running in the union elections.

“This attack appears to be no more than petty student politicking.”

It will be fascinating to watch Finke’s LNP career.

23 thoughts on “This boy will go far

  1. He seems to have mastered the modern political turn of phrase: conjering support for himself from someone who has not stated such support; refuting the accusations without any evidence; and belittling the newspaper by suggesting that the source of the accusations is related to a petty matter. The word “bullying” springs to my mind. I hope that his political career is cut short by some fortunate occurrence. I imagine he will be a good Lawyer.

  2. Speaking of this boy, how about ‘that boy’ (CanDo)
    I wasn’t sure where to post these lyrics but I guess here will do….
    A journalist in a recent article in the Weekend Australian looked up the lyrics of a song CN said inspired him during his election campaign in Qld. Here are the said lyrics

    “I’m criticised but all your bullets ricochet/ you shoot me down, but I get up/ I’m bulletproof, nothing to lose/Fire away, fire away…. I am titanium…”

    If this boy is as impervious as that boy – then we should be very worried indeed.

  3. There is clear evidence now that on the 10th of August, 2012, the UQ Union held an ’emergency’ meeting in which part of section 105 of their electoral regulations was repealed. This section protected the names of political parties for 10 years – including names such as the former main opposition party ‘Pulse’. [I note that the regulations and constitution for the Union only became available on their website late yesterday afternoon.] After this protection was repealed, the name ‘Pulse’ was taken by a group of students who are closely associated with the current incumbent party ‘Fresh’. For instance, Mr Colin Finke’s (the current UQU ‘Fresh’ President) brother, Mr Kelvin Finke, is registered on the ‘Pulse’ ticket as running for the administrative committee ( Further, the UQ Skeptics have shown the close relations on Facebook between Colin Finke and Rohan Watt (the Fresh Presidential candidate for this year):

    Notably, almost all of the members of the current ‘Pulse’ (fake) ticket attend either with Cromwell College (with Mr Finke) or St John’s College (with Mr Watt). Further, in an MX article earlier in the week ( Mr Finke stated that he had never heard of one of the other ‘Pulse’ candidates, Mr Zac Draheim, despite Mr Draheim also attending Cromwell College and despite them both being Facebook friends and there being photos of the two together (available on Facebook). Mr Finke has refused to answer questions related to his involvement with the Pulse ticket, as reported by Crikey (

    One student, who was put down on the ticket as ‘Pulse’ Treasurer – Tristan Black of St John’s College – has said that he was tricked into signing up by a Fresh member. You can see a screenshot of his statement on Facebook here: . It is quite clear that Pulse this year is a fake ticket created by students associated with Fresh, after they removed the electoral regulation protection of the name. This is supported by the fact that the people who are on this ticket have not come out and campaigned in the election at all.

    ‘Fresh’ and the UQ Union are now posting a lot of spin on social media about the decision of the Electoral Tribunal (established under the UQU Constitution) on the evening of Thursday the 23rd of August which held that Fresh had not acted in breach of the regulations. This is 100% true in a legalistic sense. However, contrary to how Fresh and the UQU are portraying the ruling, this does not clear them of wrongdoing. It does not address any of the concerns which I outlined above. The Tribunal found that Fresh had not breached the electoral regulations – but that is because they set the electoral regulations to suit themselves. This does not mean that there will be a free and fair election.

    There are also serious concerns about the transparency of the review process. Currently there is no publicly accessible information as to who is on the Electoral Tribunal or how to contact them. There is no information about how one can make a complaint. And there are no details posted about when and where any hearings are held. Further, in relation to the Returning Officer for elections (currently a gym owner from Caboolture), they can be appointed with the approval of only a few of the inner cadre of party members. They are not truly independent, as they should be – given they oversee the conduct of elections.

    There are also a lot of false information flyers that have been strewn around the university. One claims to be from a 5th year student who is independent from any of the parties and merely wishes to inform students that the new Pulse ticket (despite the evidence I outlined above) is really just a factional split. The source of these flyers is not identified. There is a real concern that this – and other campaigning activities of the Union – are paid for out of university money. There are currently no publicly available audits of the Union or information as to what it’s money is being spent on. The Union’s current status as an unincorporated body means they are not subject to the same strict accounting measures.

  4. I am deeply surprised that the young liberals have held the student union since 2008.

    What is happening to the youth of today? Young people, through inexperience and arrogance, are supposed to want to change the world, just because they think they can.

    Sadly, politics is like elite sport: if you are not cheating, you are just not trying hard enough! Just ask Lance Armstrong.

    It is routine for politicians to try and tip the scales their own way. Everything from electoral systems to campaign finance laws are tailored to entrench incumbents.

    Why type of political system should be in place if the worst always get to the top? Should it be based on voice or exit?

    p.s. at my first student union annual meeting, there was an attempt to amend the minutes of the previous meeting to totally change what was decided in the previous year.

  5. This whole situation is a disgrace and a blight on the University of Qld. If the Chancellor and Senate of UQ are not concerned about this situation then they certainly should be. The public has already seen significant issues of corruption and nepotism surrounding UQ administration. This is an another clear example, albeit in a different sphere on campus.

    The Brisbane Times announced in May that “The University of Queensland’s nepotism scandal will be the subject of a public report to be issued by the state’s misconduct watchdog.”

    The ABC also reported in May, “The University of Queensland is carrying out an integrity review in the wake of last year’s enrolment scandal.”

    One would have thought that blatantly undemocratic Student Union behaviour (in the ethical sense) would be an integrity concern for the whole university. Or is the governance group of UQ not concerned about ethics?

    Another thing to note is that the UQ itself admitted (after the whistleblowing) that an enrolment scandal cover-up had occured. One online article I have discovered (on the Western Heart Libertarian/ Conservative) site notes the following;

    “THE University of Queensland has made redundant the whistleblower who brought to light the nepotism scandal that cost the Vice-Chancellor Paul Greenfield and his deputy their jobs last year.

    Phil Procopis, the institution’s top misconduct and fraud investigator, left the university this week after 18 years’ service.

    The Courier-Mail can reveal (sic) that it was Mr Procopis who first brought the affair to the attention of senior officials including the Chancellor, John Story. The newspaper understands that Mr Procopis went to the Chancellor in early September after stumbling across the irregular admission of a close relative of Mr Greenfield to the university’s medical faculty while investigating an unrelated matter.”

    Is this all evidence that something is still wrong at the University of Qld?

    (The CMC announced on 28/5/12 that it will prepare a report on its University of Queensland investigation.)

    Perhaps someone should also refer the Student Union or rather “Fresh” and associates behaviour to the CMC. It may be that actions have been committed which warrent investigation by the CMC.

  6. My much longer post is in moderation. I’ll repost my main suggestion.

    Perhaps someone should refer the UQ Student Union or rather “Fresh” (and associates) behaviour to the CMC. It may be that actions have been committed which warrent investigation by the CMC.

  7. @Steve at the Pub

    Where members of the public or any professional or craft group want to form an unincorporated body (for any purposes such as sporting clubs, interest groups and even student groups) would you abolish their right do so?

  8. Best thing we could do is ensure that Student Union elections like Worker Union elections are overseen by the Australian Electoral Commission. Furthermore all constitutions (where union (student or worker officials and representatives are elected) should be legally vetted by appropriate bodies to ensure the fundamental democratic and non-discriminatory nature of said constitutions.

    I used to be involved in a Union and Union elections as a worker representative. I always held that my first goal in debates and elections was to see that democractic principles prevailed. My second goal was to win elections or win debates for my point of view. I never used dirty tricks. I always fought whene necessary for my opponents to get an equal hearing. When people (particularly hard bitten union officials) realised these things about me they thought I was I was a very eccentric fellow indeed. It’s a pity that holding basic and thorough-going democratic principles makes one appear eccentric and even naive. This should not be so in a supposedly deomcratic culture.

  9. @Steve at the Pub

    ” the best thing we can do is prevent any former student union types from ever entering real politics.”

    A red-letter day to find me in agreement with SATP and Ikonoclast at the same time!

  10. In the not to distant future, it maybe it’s in operation now, political parties willpower be recording in great detail the antics of these juvenile budding politicos, so the most damaging material is in hand to release should they ever become ‘a contender’. Wise politicos hold the bad stuff back till the opponent has gone a long long way because there is much more value is dispatching the full matured opponent who is the product of a lot of investment than nipping some chump in the bud. Might explain why so many things come out from long ago with people wonder “and why didn’t we hear anything about this year ago”.

  11. The CMC says it cannot conduct an investigation of UQU because it is not a government entity. It (UQU) does however receive substantial university money every year. They are the only realistic option for intervention. The students opposing them cannot fund a civil court challenge which is the other legal option.

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