According to C20.1, Union Council must meet once a month from February to November. Why then was the first meeting of the 101st Union Council in April? Why were there no meetings in February and March?
Why were there no meetings May, June, July?
– Laurence McLean
– represent the students of the University in matters which may concern them:
– maintain communication between the students and other sections of the University community, and
– provide a range of services to the student body.
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August, 2012, the UQ Union held an ‘emergency’ meeting in which part of section 105 of their electoral regulations was repealed.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 After this protection was repealed, the name ‘Pulse’ was taken by a group of students who are closely associated with the current incumbent party ‘Fresh’.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 (http://i50.tinypic.com/vxegk.jpg). Further, the UQ Skeptics have shown the close relations on Facebook between Colin Finke and Rohan Watt (the Fresh Presidential candidate for this year): http://i50.tinypic.com/110isy8.jpg.
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 (http://i48.tinypic.com/nl5z83.jpg) 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 (http://tinyurl.com/ccc249m).
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: http://i48.tinypic.com/24y91ma.jpg . 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.
– Rebecca commenting on my ‘How Far Can FRESHs Corruption Go?‘ article.
The sneaky changes made to the Regulations were not done twelve months ago. The changes documented earlier in my blog between the old and new Regulations were done through my own copies, the ‘old’ copy I received on the 27th February 2012. If the changes weren’t made by then, then that’s not 12 months, FRESH. Why would you believe FRESH when they lie about these things? Why would FRESH need to lie if they were telling the truth and were honest politicians? Enjoy the following evidence.
‘Old’ Regulations, received 27-02-12:
‘New’ Regulations, received 20-08-12 after original email conveniently lacked attachment of Regulations, a document all candidates were supposed to recieve, I had to ask the Returning Officer specifically for it:
This news article distributed by the University of Queensland itself claims to rectify its policies to ensure transparency. Yes, the University claims to publish the UQ Constitution and Regulations on the UQU website, but does not specify whether these documents will be up-to-date. They may offer ‘evidence of any recent changes to these’, but they will not specify exactly which parts of the Constitution or Regulations have been altered and/or in what way. The report also claims that ‘UQU Annual Reports, including financial summaries’ will exist, but UQ does not specify whether these will be complete and correct when they are released!
At least we can be thankful for the promise of an ‘appropriate, publicised UQU general complaints and appeals procedure is in operation’. However, it leaves me wondering; how come this kind of procedure was not in place before now? If an engineer builds a bridge, she doesn’t wait for it to collapse before she assesses the issues with its construction.
This report also claims there to be an Electoral Tribunal hearing tomorrow (Thursday 23rd August). I know I’m excited to hear the proceedings.
If the University was really intending to pull the Union together, it would not be making these loose claims that could easily be manipulated – just to get us exactly where we were before this incident occurred. I’m looking for a total analysis of the Constitution and Regulations. I want all systems of the UQ Union to be audited and validated. I want there to be absolutely no room for misconduct whatsoever in future elections or any other Union associated activity. These claims from the University offer security in none of these points, and its students deserve more.
NOT GOOD ENOUGH, UQ.
In the past few days there have been a lot of comments posted on our wall regarding the current student elections and we would like to take this chance to clarify a couple of things and remind you why UQU is here and what we aim to provide for all UQ students.
Firstly, we would like to make it clear that UQU is an entirely separate entity to FRESH. The only connection being that the current student executive is made up of FRESH representatives, as FRESH was the winning ticket in the 2011 election. An independent returning officer is brought in to manage the elections each year and UQU has no role in the process.
The only agenda UQU has is ensuring that the university experience for UQ students is an amazing one. We focus heavily on the commercial operations of the organisation to ensure that the Union is sustainable long term and can continue to provide the services, activities and events that we do. We employ nearly 300 professional staff who work hard to guarantee that the UQ student experience is one of the best university experiences available.
UQU does not rely on student contributions to maintain the services we provide and as a UQ student you are automatically a member of UQU with full access to all of our services, a point we pride ourselves on as the vast majority of Student Guilds/Unions/Associations around Australia require members to pay an annual membership fee.
We ask that all students take on board the information that we have provided here and keep in mind that UQU staff have no part to play in the student elections and should be treated with respect at all times, as they are simply trying to improve your time at university.
This was received via the UQ Union Facebook page.