University of Queensland Union

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University of Queensland Union
File:UQU Logo.jpg
Full name University of Queensland Union
Native name UQ Union
Founded 1911
Members 46,000 (2012)
Affiliation University of Queensland
Key people Kathryn Cramp (President), Matthew Hales (Secretary), Tom O'Connor (Treasurer)
Office location Level 4, Union Building (Building 21A), University of Queensland 4072
Country Australia

The University of Queensland Union (UQ Union) is a student organisation established to provide service, support and representation to the students of the University of Queensland. It remains the largest student representative body in Australia.


The specific aims of the UQ Union as defined by its constitution are:

a) to specifically promote the educational and academic activities and progress of the University community; and generally to further the aims, objects and interests of the University community;
b) to further the right of all people to a quality education on an equal basis;
c) to advance the interests of students in the fields of social security, health, welfare, equity, equal opportunity and cultural activities;
d) to represent students within the University and the community;
e) to financially assist affiliated bodies;
f) to provide quality facilities and services to students;
g) to foster the principle of student unionism; and
h) to do all such other things as are incidental or conducive to the attainment of these objects and the exercise of the powers of the Union.

Student services

The UQU operates most of the campus' student eateries, cafes, bookshops in addition to the university bar and cinema. These facilities and services are concentrated at the Union Complex at the St Lucia campus.

The UQU organises the university's orientation week ("O-Week") activities, regular barbecues and free bands, as well as a range of larger events, such as Oktoberfest and, as of 2009, the annual Toga Party. Recently the UQU introduced a club funding scheme that supports over 200 clubs and societies, including faculty, ethnic, and a variety of social groups; sporting groups, however, fall under the domain of UQ Sport. The UQU also provides a free legal service to university students. In addition, it also organises the weekly Wednesday markets at the St Lucia campus.

One of the other roles of the UQU is to see that minority groups on campus are adequately supported. To this extent, it provides a Queer Space at St Lucia campus and Women's Spaces at St Lucia campus and Gatton campuses. The Ipswich Campus Queer Room has since been closed down, as a result of frequent vandalism by the occupants. UQU also has queer, women's, environment, disabilities and Indigenous collectives to represent their respective interests.

Student representation

UQU coordinates student representation to the University through its Student Representation, supporting students to take positions on faculty and University committees, and the Academic Board. UQU recently successfully negotiated for the University to contribute 1 million dollars to the Union annually for student services. UQU also negotiated for the "formula marking" scheme (under which markers can deduct marks in multiple choice exams if a marker believes the student guessed answers) to be abolished[citation needed].

Postgraduate students

In 2011, UQ postgraduate students formed a postgraduate representative body within the UQU, called the UQ Association of Postgraduate Students (APS). This new body has been in regular contact with CAPA and sent a representative to the 2011 CAPA annual conference in Sydney.

Clubs and societies

The UQU oversees over 190 student run Clubs and Societies,[1] with a combined membership across these clubs of approximately 36,000 students. Clubs fall under one of four broad categories based on where they derive their membership base. These categories include: Faculty/School; International Students; Colleges; and General Interest.

Clubs play a vital role on campus, with the majority of social events at UQ being run by these student groups. The eight largest clubs by membership base in 2015 were:

Rank (by Number of Members) Name 2015 President 2014 President 2013 President Type Number of Members
1 UQ Law Society (UQLS) Georgina Morgan Tom O'Donnell; Daniel Maggacis Chad Hardy Faculty/School Based 5,000+
2 UQ Business Association (UQBA) Vihan Muthanna Thomas O'Connor Sambit Mishra Faculty/School Based 2,500+
5 Queensland University Exchange Student Society (QUEST) Zara Williams Kate Leeds Rachel English General Interest 1800+
3 UQ Engineering Undergraduate Society (EUS) Jessica Orr Tom Lucas Miranda McLachlan Faculty/School Based 1,500+
4 UQ Economics Society (UQES) Doug Holt Marko Bogicevic Nathan Johnston Faculty/School Based 1,400+
6 UQ Psychology Students' Association (PSA) Nick Carter Nick Carter Emma Prater Faculty/School Based 800+
7 Australian-Vietnamese Student Association (VSA) Tony Truong Tony Truong International 660+
8 Veterinary Student Association Caroline Edgehill Faculty/School Based 530+

Student newspaper

Semper Floreat (Latin: "May it always flourish") is the student newspaper of the University of Queensland. It has been published continuously by the University of Queensland Union (UQU) since 1932, when it began as a fortnightly newsletter of only a few pages, produced by one editor.


Year President Secretary Treasurer Ticket
1981 David Barbagallo Fiona McKenna Nigel Pennington Labor Right
1982 Ken Macpherson Fleur Kingham Nigel Pennington Labor Right
1983 Fleur Kingham Danielle Bond Paul Lucas (politician) Labor Right
1984 Tony Kynaston Ric Moore Karen Axford Labor Right
1985 Brad Bauman Kate Greenwood Tony Kynaston Liberal/ Labor Right
1986 Jillann Farmer Jenny Fox Mark Herbert Labor Right
1987 Andrew Lamb Jorge Jorquera Scott Barclay Ind/ Left
1988 Dirk Moses Robyn Finken/ Andrea Napier Mark Bahnisch Labor Right
1989 Victoria Brazil James Jarvis Julian Sheezel National/Liberal
1990 Jane Lye Kirsten Greathead Rebecca Keys Reform/Labor Right
1991 James Gifford John Briggs Donna Sinopoli Liberal
1992 Michael Kleinschmidt Anne-Marie Valentak Marcus Clark Liberal
1993 Sandy Brown Daniel Varghese Martin Bush SEA
1994 Murray Watt Jenny McAllister Mary Thorpe Focus-Labor Left
1995 Maya Stuart-Fox Timothy Ward Michael Caldwell Labor
1996 Jody Thompson Luke Myers Michael Barry Liberal
1997 Cynthia Kennedy Anna Straton Jamie Dawson Labor Left
1998 Bede Nicholson Katie Connolly David McElrea Labor Left
1999 Matthew Carter Alissa Macoun Benjamin Turnbull Labor Left
2000 Sarah McBratney Matthew Collins Rebecca Lang Labor Left
2001 Juliana Virine Angela Setterlund Adam Kent Labor Left
2002 Christopher Vernon Lisa Chesters Aaron Meadows National Organisation of Labor Students-Labor Left
2003 Aaron Marsham Antonio Ferreira-Jardim Jemma MacGinley NOLS- Labor Left / Liberal
2004 Margot Balch Jonathan Hames Michael Wright Vision - Labor
2005 Leah Sanderson Jorn Herrmann Alex Main Focus-Labor Left
2006 Lucinda Weber Erin Fentiman N/A Thrive-Labor Left
2007 Julie-Ann Campbell Diana Mackay N/A Voice-Labor Left
2008 Josh Young Lisa Colyer Ben Riley Fresh - Liberal
2009 Brandon Carter Luke Walker Lisa Colyer Fresh - Liberal
2010 Michael Zivcic Michelle Delport Robert Hilmer Fresh - LNP
2011 Benjamin Gorrie Brodie Thompson Hannah Bona Fresh - LNP
2012 Colin Finke Brodie Thompson Linda Cho Fresh - LNP
2013 Rohan Watt Kieran Shaw Priyanka Luecke Fresh - LNP
2014 Joshua Millroy Rachel Paterson Nathan Johnston Reform - Labor
2015 Kathryn Cramp Matthew Hales Tom O'Connor Reform - Labor
2016 Michael Lucas Gabii Starr Nora Abdalla Reform - Labor

For much of the Union's history voting was done for individual positions not group tickets, in some years, such as 2003, this resulted in the President being from a Labor Left ticket and the Secretary and Treasurer from a Liberal ticket.

Vice Presidents

Year VP Student Rights VP Campus Culture VP Gender and Sexuality Ticket
2009 Robert Hilmer & Aurelia Connelly Matthew Chadwick & Sam Bool Nick Sowden & Laney McLaren Fresh
2010 Brayden Soo & Rory Broadbridge Alexander Tate & Alisha Musil Christopher Balean & Laney McLaren Fresh
2011 Michelle Delport & Isaac Robertson Nelson Martoo & Kiran Srinivasan Duncan Stubbs & Natalie Keys Fresh
2012 Bridget Young & Kieran Shaw Abby Nydam & Nathan Flett Rohan Watt & Ashleigh Ross Fresh
2013 Elliot Johnson & Harrison Bolt Jonathan Hair & Jared Peut Anthony Deacon & Eloise Shaw Fresh
2014 Laura Howden & Richard Lee Natalie Morris & Stephen Kakoniktis Kathryn Cramp & Lotte Scheel Reform
2015 Isabel Manfield & Shannon Fogarty Daren Tan & Gabby Menolotto Amy Jelacic & Annie Danks Reform
2016 Olivia Amsden & Riley Williamson Ange Ou & Thomas Parer Madeline Price & Beth Lyn Reform


In recent years the UQU has become the only student association in Group of Eight university which does not accredit with the National Union of Students.

1991-1992, the union was run under the umbrella of the Liberal (or Young Liberal) party. 1994- 2007, the union was almost exclusively under the control of parties aligned with the Labor party, usually the left leaning wing. Liberal students regained full control for a single year in 1996 and won a majority of the split executive in 2003.

2008 - 2013, the Union was run by a party under the banner "Fresh" (Liberal National Party of Qld.)

Since 2014, the Union has been run by Reform (a Labor/Independent coalition).[2]

2012 Student election controversy

File:D4UQU poster.jpg
An anti-FRESH poster by D4UQU, calling a boycott of this election

In 2012, there was controversy surrounding the conduct of the annual student elections. The incumbents made rule changes that resulted in other teams submitting their nominations in an incorrect manner. This specifically related to last minute changes to union election rules removing the protection for previously used party names, which resulted in campaign material for opposition parties becoming unusable. This resulted in all other opposition parties (including "Pulse" and "I just want my voucher") having their names invalidated. These Allegations were denied by the current President.[3]

Minutes and a recording from the 101st UQU Council meeting show that new regulations were brought in on 10 August.[4][5] The recording shows that an objection was raised by Councillor Flynn Rush on procedural fairness and constitutional grounds, though this was circumvented through amending the factual basis for the objection. The incumbents did not give the requisite 5 'clear days' notice as per the UQU constitution.[6][7] The regulation changes went ahead regardless. They were not available until elections and nominations opened.[8]

The 2012 union president stated that members of the Pulse party "can complain all they want" but had 12 months notice on the introduction of new regulations on the use of registered ticket names, and that the 'last-minute' changes to the regulations were to different provisions (namely the timing of the electoral process to reduce it from 4 weeks to 3 as well as adding an entirely new process/form for nominations).[citation needed]

In response to the situation, an activist group titled 'DEMOCRACY 4 UQU' was started by a number of Fresh opposition groups concerned about how the measures introduced affected the student elections. Their goal was to correct what they perceive to be an unbalanced and unfair election process.

UQ deputy Vice Chancellor (academic) Professor Mick McManus, said in response to the situation that UQ was concerned that this issue had a significant impact on students and would be considered in full and addressed appropriately, and that the university would work to resolve the issues.[9] On 22 August, the University announced that the current union administration would be required to provide access to the constitution and changes to it, financial reports, and notices and minutes of meetings held under the current union on its website.[10] Graeme Orr, Professor of Law at the University of Queensland, has pointed out in a radio interview that the power of the electoral tribunal convened to assess whether the elections were held properly was limited only to whether or not the electoral rules were violated, not whether they are valid or were created in accordance to union policy.[11]

On 24 August, the University declared that in line with their funding agreement with the University Of Queensland Student Union, they would carry out an audit into the management of finances.[12] The results of this audit are available online.[13]

On 29 August, hundreds of students gathered at UQ's great court to protest against Fresh and call for democracy.[14]

On 3 December, the annual general meeting of the UQU was cancelled after those calling it neglected to inform students and most members of their own executive, resulting in too few people present for the meeting to be openend. However, the outgoing Vice-President spoke briefly about the conduct of Fresh, slamming their circumvention of the wishes of the student body by locking out the opposition that was likely to win any open, fairly managed elections, Fresh's misuse and embezzlement of funds, and their use of the union as a vehicle for particular members of the LNP's youth wing.[15]

Notable alumni

The UQU has produced a number of notable alumni including Governors-General of Australia, CEOs, Chief Justices of Australia and State Premiers.

See also


  1. "UQU Clubs and Societies".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "UQ union turns left after fraught election". The Australian. 11 September 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. "SMH/Brisbane Times Article on student unrest". The Sydney Morning Herald.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. "102nd UQU Council Meeting".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "102nd UQU Council Meeting Minutes".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "See C55 of the UQU Constitution".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. "UQU Constitution".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. "University of Queensland to hold hearing over union Fresh's 'dirty tactics'". The Courier-Mail. 22 August 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. "Opposition candidates withdraw from University of Queensland student union election after incumbent party changes rules".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. "University committed to transparency".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. "UQ student elections cause a stir".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. Kirkland, Janelle (24 August 2012). "UQ management considering an audit of UQU". UQ News. Retrieved 2013-03-18.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. Jason Tin (29 August 2012). "Students rally at the University of Queensland to protest election tactics of ruling Student Union party". The Courier-Mail. Retrieved 29 August 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links