Senate debates

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Bills

Higher Education Legislation Amendment (Student Services and Amenities) Bill 2010; Second Reading

6:01 pm

Photo of George BrandisGeorge Brandis (Queensland, Liberal Party, Shadow Attorney-General) Share this | Hansard source

Thank you, Senator Mason. Let freedom ring! They won 57 per cent of the primary vote. There were other candidates as well but of the two principal teams the Fresh team won 57 per cent of the entire field earlier this year. They won 12 of the 15 positions on the Union Council. They won every position on the union executive. They won every unpaid office bearer position. A more comprehensive slaughter of the forces of compulsion by the forces of freedom could scarcely be imagined. And this is the product of what we were told would be a degeneration into almost non-existence of student activity on campus as a result of voluntary student unionism. As always, in the contest between the authoritarian cast of mind and the belief in freedom, freedom triumphed.

I want to use this opportunity on this very sad day, when the forces of academic freedom and the freedom of students to choose their own university experience are suffering this woeful setback from this shabby alliance between the Labor Party and the disgraceful Greens, to pay tribute to some of the people who at the University of Queensland campus have been instrumental in those achievements. Many of them are friends of mine. They are people like Josh Young, who won the presidency of the UQ Union in 2008; Brandon Carter, in 2009; Michael Zivcic, in 2010; Ben Gorrie, in 2011; the gentleman Colin Finke, who has just been elected president for the ensuing year, 2012; Brodie Thompson, who has just been elected as union secretary; Christian Hayes, who has just been elected as the editor of Semper Floreat, the University of Queensland union magazine, and was also, I am told, the campaign manager for the successful Fresh campaign in recent weeks. They are young people like Kiran Srinivasan; Kieran Shaw, who was elected union vice-president; John Stubbs, who was elected as a union councillor; and Elliott Johnston, who was elected as the Business, Economics and Law faculty representative. The list of the people on the campus of my old university who have accomplished this magnificent victory for the forces of freedom in the last five years could not be complete without mentioning Ben Riley, who was elected a student senator of the University of Queensland and was very active for many years in the University of Queensland Liberal Club and is currently the state president of the Young Liberal Movement, and Laney McLaren, who was a long-time vice-president of the University of Queensland Union. Those people in Brisbane, at the lovely campus of the University of Queensland on the bend of the Brisbane River at St Lucia, follow in the tradition of Michael Kroger, Peter Costello, Tony Abbott, Tony Smith, Sophie Mirabella, Brett Mason, Mitch Fifield, Scott Ryan and all of the others on the Liberal side of politics who have dedicated themselves as students to the cause of freedom.

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