GUILD COUNCIL MEETING: MARCH- sALT condemns picking up rubbish, screaming matches commence, and the Chair begs for order… here’s what you missed on Glee

Welcome back to the Glass  coverage of the Guild Student Representative Council (SRC) Meetings of 2024. This is our coverage of the March Council meeting held on Wednesday 13th of March at B-240, Kelvin Grove Campus. 

We will be bringing students coverage of these meetings throughout the year so you can access transparent and insightful coverage of the actions of your SRC.  

All current students can attend SRC meetings, and details of these meetings are available on the Guild’s social media and website. We encourage you to submit a motion to the SRC if you want to see change on campus. 


You can find the Council Meeting Minutes HERE once published.  

You can also access the meeting agenda and documents associated with motions raised at the meeting in this folder. 


The meeting opened at 6:09 pm (only nine mins late!) and began with an Acknowledgement of Country.  

The Chair, Taav’n Clark, took attendance. Many of the members joined online, but regardless, quorum was met (thankfully). 

Apologies were provided from Jovan Fersando International Students Officer and Jasper Bennett Business and Law Councillor. There were no leaves of absence.  

The Chair then called on the Secretary to confirm the minutes of the last meeting. Secretary Juliet Veskova thanked everyone for their attendance and confirmed the minutes from the February meeting are now available in the public folder. 

There was no business arising from the previous meeting.  


The Disability Collective report was delivered by Convenor Michael Pendergast. 

You can read the full report from the Disability Collective HERE

The Collective reported that they currently have 93 members which is an increase of 13 since the last council meeting and brings their total amount of members gained since Welcome Week to 32.  

Pendergast reported the Collective will be holding their first meeting of the year on the 14th of March at 5:30pm on Zoom, where annual elections will also be held. Nominations for the Convenor, Deputy Convenor, Secretary, Events Officer and Engagement Officer closed yesterday.  

The Collective participated in the Guild’s Block Party again this year, however stated they were “disappointed with the significant lack of accessibility of the event”.  

They did want to thank the Disability Officer, Guild Professional Staff and volunteers who assisted them on the day to rectify some of these issues and conceded that the outcome wasn’t perfect, but the effort was nonetheless appreciated. However, they reported that due to the lack of accessibility around the stall location, they experienced decreased engagement with less engagement than expected. However, they did still manage to engage around 50 students.  

The Collective also reported that they held two Welcome parties in Week 2, one in-person event at Kelvin Grove with six people in attendance, and a smaller online party. They said these events were successful overall and a good opportunity for Collective members to get together and celebrate the new semester.  

No other reports were provided from the remaining Collectives.  


The Chair then announced the successful candidates who were elected in the last council meeting.  

Education Officer: Calissa Leyden  

Clubs and Societies Officer: Hong Le  

International Students Officer: Jovan Fersando  


The Council then moved to speeches for candidates of the First Nations Officer position. There was just one nominee for the role, AJ Lee, who was invited to give his speech.  

AJ greeted the Council and spoke about his previous times running for this position, and reflected on his values, place in the community and some of the initiatives he would like to instate. The focus of his speech was to talk about what he would like for the SRC.  

“I’m sure many of you are already aware there is somewhat a disconnect between our positions and the outcomes in which we enact for the students,” he said.  

He said this disconnect was not necessarily the folly of the individual but of the system. AJ proposed an initiative that he believes would be better suited to mediate these issues, such as practices that instil compassion and a cognitive empathy approach.  

An example of this would be engaging in discussions and creating space before council meetings to discuss the motions being put forward so that others can understand the rationale and perspective of those ideas.  

“Does anyone know why Aboriginal people sit in a circle? The justification for that is that the circle has no corners and no head. And you are sitting down, so the differences in height are not so noticeable, right? So, no one’s head is higher than anyone else. So, practices like that can be achieved to mediate some of the issues involved with how things are done in this bureaucratic world,” he said.  

AJ said it was important for everyone to realise that they were all united under one cause – to benefit and represent students.  

No questions were asked. 

The Secretary thanked AJ for returning multiple times, saying it was a testament to his passion.  

Engagement Officer Deepika Sharma further reflected this sentiment and welcomed AJ back to the council.   

The Chair asked if the Secretary would like to make a motion to move in camera, but they said this wasn’t necessary.  

The council unanimously appointed AJ Lee to the role of First Nations Officer. 


“Make Education Free!”  

The first motion was moved by Engineering councillor Georgie Dobbs and seconded by Erin Milne. You can see the full motion from them HERE.  

Dobbs moved that the QUT Guild stand for the abolition of HECS-HELP, the wiping of student debts, and the return of free tertiary education.  

Dobbs said this motion was brought in response to an article published by Glass “against free education and in defence of HECS”.  

(P.S.- if you would like to read the article that kicked up a storm you can find it HERE! 

“I think the arguments that were put forward were actually, really, really wrong and right-wing, and it’s something that students should fight against,” Dobbs said.  

“I think it was neo-liberal; it’s about rationalising education, saying free education would just result in taking advantage of the system, and I think when you actually look at the situation here in Australia, the immense pressure that students are under, free education is actually more relevant than ever,” Dobbs said.  

CIESJ Councillor Erin Milne seconded the motion.  

Milne said that free education is more important now than ever, especially with the government trying to increase the price of university, for example, by making arts degrees more expensive recently.  

“It would cost the government about $4.3 billion a year for 10 years just to pay for students to have their first degree for free and completely funded, so that’s maybe over a little of 1% of what the government spent on nuclear submarines,” Milne said.  

Milne discussed the cost-of-living crisis and the fact that the last thing students need is to be worried about HECS being indexed each year and talked about the poor treatment of international students and the extreme costs that come with studying in Australia.  

A student from Left Action stated they are “keen to see how Labor Right justifies their position”.  

The Chair asked if anyone wanted to speak for or against the motion and there was no response.  

Women’s Officer Lauren Cuthbert raised a point of information and said “In that article, a lot of what it says is basically – and I agree with your stance to be clear – that before we make tertiary education free, we should be focussed on subsidising and lessening the other costs that come with tertiary education. And I’m just wondering if you have an opinion on that and what could be done from that perspective? Because I agree with your stance that it should be free, but that’s not all the article was talking about”, Cuthbert said.  

Isabella Foley responded to this question by saying that “the justification for why we can’t have free education being that you need to rob peter to pay piper, that we need to fix one problem before you tackle another, or something like that”.  

Foley said the main barrier to education today is that it is “a tax on the working-class students who come to university, and the thing that indexation taught us is that it is a growing tax.”  

Once Foley concluded her response, a member of Left Action commented, “I think someone from Labor Right should respond to that. This is the most basic part of being a student unionist is being for free education for all.”  

The Chair tried to bring order but was continually spoken over by this student.  

When asked for their name, the student responded by saying “don’t worry about it” and laughed.  

The Chair said this person was named and was asked not to continue to demand people speak.  

The Chair stated, “if they choose to do so, they have the right to do so.”  

A member of Left Action then quipped “it’s not a demand, it’s an argument. It’s an argument not a demand, no one is demanding anything from anyone”.  

The Chair further stated that inviting people to speak is sufficient, and that discussion cannot be forced.  

Left Action called on Glass to comment, acknowledging that the author of the article was not present.  

The Glass Editors who were present, Jess Morgan and Tione Zylstra, said that they agreed with the sentiment of the motion (that education should be free), but disagreed with the idea that student media should not be allowed to publish opinion articles that might be controversial. They also argued that Left Action’s statements seem to be confused with the point the article was trying to make. 

Declan Kerr, a member of Left Action, laughed saying “That’s a bit of a furphy I think, because the thing was the article was called ‘why education should not be free’ or something along those lines, and the argument [the author] was making was that education should not be free.”  

“We are putting this motion [foward] because it’s actually significant when the Editor of our student newspaper makes those arguments from the pulpit of the student newspaper, and we think that they don’t have a right in the student union,” Kerr said.  

Zylstra commented that she is unsure whether Left Action misread the article and said that the author was talking about the boundaries in place within education that are making it difficult for educational equality to occur and that the article focussed on poverty and accessibility.  

Left Action then further called on other members of the SRC to provide their opinions on the matter.  

Newly appointed First Nations Officer AJ Lee questioned what actually happens after this motion is passed. They queried what Left Action and the SRC would be doing as action items if this motion were to be passed, beyond just condemnation.  

Left Action deflected this question by stating that people should just make their arguments for why they agree or disagree with the topic.  

“Even if it is just to say I agree, I think it’s worthwhile to hear,” Milne said.  

Milne said the Guild should rebuild a fighting student body, not one that lays back and lets their rights be attacked.  

The Secretary queried how free education would be actioned on a larger level and what the incentive would be to the Government.  

Left Action further deflected this by stating “we can’t just convince them” and that we shouldn’t have to accept the premise that education is a way to generate business and money.  

“There isn’t a way to convince them,” they said.  

They said that a militant student movement is the only way to continue to fight for student rights and free education.  

They then proceeded to name Treasurer Archer Skinner, amongst others, stating that “they’re members of our union who do not actually agree that university should be free and that HECS is the best way to run education”.  

“You should defend that position if you actually have it,” they said to Skinner.  

Skinner responded, “Well you’ve already accused me of having it, so what’s the point in talking about it.” He stated he was ready to move it to a vote. 

Skinner was continually heckled by the member of Left Action who was previously named and refused to provide his name. 

This demand was further expanded on by Foley, who discussed Labor Right’s views.  

Skinner responded that he was attending this meeting in his position as Treasurer, and that he is not here as a representative of the Labor party.  

Left Action repeatedly discussed the views taken by Labor Right at last year’s NUS conference.  

Skinner responded that they were not at the conference and were at Student Council.  

“I agree with the motion that the Guild should support free education,” Skinner said and confirmed he would be voting in favour.  

“This is a silly way to go about it, the back and forth, and the assumption of positions and personal attacks is just silly,” Skinner said.  

Left Action continued to comment, and the Chair tried to regain order, but was again repeatedly spoken over and laughed at by members of Left Action.  

“This is not productive, I feel this is detracting from the spirit of what these meetings are supposed to be, not the content of the conversation, but the format of the conversation – these two second back and forth, ‘don’t call me names’ and whatever, unless anyone is speaking against the motion, I will consider there to be two people speaking for the motion and we will move to a vote unless anyone would like to speak against,” the Chair said.  

There were 12 votes FOR the motion, 6 ABSTAINED and none against. The votes are as follows:  

FOR: Juliet Veskova, Archer Skinner, Paulina Luisce, Lauren Cuthbert, Ethan Johnstone, Eli Spencer, Milani Rawlinson, Calissa Leyden, Ella O’Brien, Erin Milne, Courtney-Elyce Lewis, Daniel Soltermann.  

ABSTAINED: Aaron Bui, Deepika Sharma, Mal Fituch, Hong Le, Jasper Vermeulen, Maya Rawlinson.  

*NOTE: It was unclear whether Maya Rawlinson abstained or voted for the motion, as she arrived late and stated she abstained because she did not hear the motion at all. Members of Left Action then heckled her, asking if she supported free education, to which she said she did. However, it is unclear if this can count as a vote for the motion since she was not privy to the motion or any of the discussion.  

CIESJ councillor Erin Milne and a member of the Left Action group then stated, “Wait? So, the President of the Guild abstained on a motion for free education. Interesting.”  

The motion passed.  

It’s the QUT Guild Environment Office, not the QUT Guild Greenwashing Office  

This motion was moved by Isabella Foley and seconded by Erin Milne. You can read the full motion HERE! 

The motion was two-fold, stating:  

“1. The QUT Guild opposes greenwashing and will not support companies trying to engage in it;  

2. The QUT Guild supports community activists like Ipswich Battles Incinerator Schemes in their fight against Cleanaway and Remondis”  

“This motion is being moved in response to what is the most visible campaign that anyone has conducted, or the most visible event that anyone with an elected officer position has done thus far in the year. A couple of weeks ago I guess it was, Milani [Rawlinson] ran a clean-up Australia Day event – it was posted by the Guild, and that consisted of picking up rubbish in the Botanical Gardens. Which I think, is pretty much a classic thing that is basically greenwashing. It is greenwashing to say that the climate movement should basically be limited to an individual going around a park picking up rubbish,” Foley said. 

Foley stated that the ‘Clean Up Australia day’ event is sponsored by organisations such as Amazon, Coles, and Cleanaway, who are all known to be large contributors to carbon emissions, waste and other environmental concerns.  

Foley said that Cleanaway in particular were focused on, as a “particularly egregious company here in Queensland” due to the dump owned by Cleanaway in Swanbank, Ipswich, which is described by Left Action as “a carcinogenic dump which is responsible for 25,000 complaints from residents, responsible for 47% more likely chance to contract lung cancer if you live in this area next to this dump”.  

Members of Left Action said that by the Environment Officer participating in Clean Up Australia Day, she is contributing to the greenwashing of these “disgusting” companies. 

“I think if you ask any young person what they thought about it [Milani’s actions] they would say that this is disgusting, and they would think that the system that allows companies to pollute the earth like this is also disgusting,” Foley said.  

Erin Milne seconded this motion.  

Milne said that “the issue with stuff like this comes with the strategy that it promotes that individual people should take responsibility sort of themselves, for what’s happening on the planet right now. Even though the majority of pollution that gets emitted is not by the majority of people, but by a select few companies.”  

Milne said that these companies sponsor events like this with the intention of greenwashing their actions.  

“The Guild should not be helping these companies do things like this, by participating in events like ‘Clean up Australia Day’,” Milne said.  

“I just don’t think that picking up rubbish kind of by yourself is going to do that, because it’s just a drop in the ocean.”  

Ethan Johnstone brought up a point of information stating that whilst he agrees that greenwashing is no solution to climate change, he believes it is misleading to represent the statistics regarding the dump in Swanbank in this matter.  

“Because what you are positing is a causal link, when there is no data showing causation between the location of the waste management facility and raised rates of cancer in the area. Rather, the source shows increased rates of lung cancer in several areas that are known to be of a lower socio-economic demographic, for example, in that same source the greater Caboolture area has a rate 62% higher than the national average of lung cancer, whereas there are decreased rates in the Brisbane CBD.” Johnstone said.  

Johnstone explained that these higher rates of lung cancer also occurred in areas where cigarette usage was higher, for example.  

“I believe it is disingenuous to your cause to represent the data as a causal relationship between the two, more should be done on the company’s behalf to lessen their climate impact, and I think that point should be important enough to stand on its own.” 

Milne responded saying that both Cleanaway and Remondis have been “in trouble” with the government as a result of complaints against the dump.  

The Chair then asked if anyone would like to speak against the motion or raise a point of information.  

Ella O’Brien sought a point of information. She said it was clear the Environment Officer was trying her best to make a difference, asked how Left Action proposed policing the companies the Guild works with. “Do you intend to create a list or approve just as yourselves, who you think is greenwashing or how does that look as an actionable item?”  

Foley stated that she “rejects the argument that individuals in the Guild are trying their best or whatever”.  

“I think it sets the climate movement backwards, and it sets climate justice backwards – when people pursue a strategy of literally like, you know, trying to go around and pick up rubbish in a garden!”  

Foley said that in terms of ‘actioning this’, there should be a move to rebuild the climate change movement, where people go and protest for the climate.  

“I think it is important what individuals do. Actually, what Socialist Alternative wants to come to this council meetings and argue, is that it is important the choices that you make,” she said.  

“Are you saying though, that as a member of the socialist society [referencing Left Action] that you would not want to go and pick up rubbish?” queried Health Councillor Maya Rawlinson.  

“Uh, it kind of is what we are saying, yeah,” member of Left Action said.  

The Environmental Officer then asked to speak against the motion.  

They started by saying they are aware how large of an issue greenwashing is and that they have studied a unit in greenwashing as part of their degree. 

They acknowledged the impacts of the involved companies, however noted that this should not undermine the impact that Australian volunteers had on the environment by participating in Clean Up Australia day, and listed the statistics regarding the impact of Clean Up Australia Day:  

A close-up of a graph  Description automatically generated

They also noted that hey she did not use Cleanaway’s services as the pickup organisation and used the Brisbane City Council instead.  

Cuthbert asked whether the Environment Officer thought the actions of Clean Up Australia day overrode the bad actions of the companies involved.  

They responded that Clean Up Australia day does not at all cover up the actions of the companies involved, however there is a benefit to having Clean up Australia day.  

They also clarified that Left Action had only listed the negative companies associated as sponsors of the event, however, there are various other companies that sponsored the events that are known for their positive impacts on fighting for climate justice. For example, Climate Council of Australia, the Australian Marine Conservation Society, the United Nations Australia, and Oceanwatch Australia, among many others. 

Milne reiterated the point of the motion and the fact that the Union should stand against greenwashing.  

O’Brien asked another point of information following this discussion, again asking how the Guild intends to police their involvement with companies who engage in greenwashing.  

O’Brien drew attention to the fact that the Guild uses Coles for the Foodbank. However, Left Action has highlighted Coles as one of the companies guilty of Greenwashing. They asked Left Action if they believe the union should forgo their relationship with Coles at the expense of keeping the Foodbank stocked, in order to stand against greenwashing.  

A member of Left Action said this is not what they were suggesting.  

Discussion commenced between Left Action and the Environment Officer regarding what the central element of the motion was.  

The Chair then stated that the time allotted to the motion had been exceeded and asked if the Council wanted to move to extend the discussion further. Foley raised this motion, and it passed.  

Foley then responded to the Environment Officer stating that picking up rubbish, ultimately has no impact on climate change.  

“I think it is right wing for an elected office bearer to convince students that the active strategy we should take up is to pick up rubbish. I think that sets the climate movement back, and limits our horizons, to what is not only possible to actually you know, end the climate crisis, but what we need to start that challenge today,” Foley said.  

“The most visible thing any elected officer has done in this union all year, is go out into the botanical gardens and pick up rubbish! That is a disgrace to be honest! Like what are you all doing?” Kerr said.  

“We are arguing that the perspective that every officer has been taking in this union so far is the wrong perspective, and I think actually we are arguing that that should change. I think [the Environment Officer] has shown that there is a wrong perspective in the union,” Kerr said.  

The First Nations Officer raised a point of information, stating “are you saying that the event that took place does not engage at all with any sort of environmental conversation? Environmental awareness or experience, that may lead to further involvement of individuals into the environmental space of wanting to commit to action? Because I feel like it makes a lot of assumptions”.  

“You are using the basis that people have this opinion that climate change is an issue, which might be reasonable, but I don’t think it’s reasonable to say that every person wants to be involved in protests or politics, or that this is the only way to do things,” Lee said.  

Foley responded that by limiting actions to picking up rubbish caused a setback in the climate change movement.  

The discussion moved toward the need for protest and the mobilisation of student unions.  

Science Councillor Courtney-Elyce Lewis said that just because this is the first event the Environment Officer has run, does not mean they are limiting themselves and the climate movement to picking up rubbish.  

The Chair then moved to a vote.  

For: Lauren Cuthbert, Ethan Johnstone, Erin Milne, Georgie Dobbs, Daniel Soltermann. [5]  

Against: Aaron Bui, Archer Skinner, Deepika Sharma, Eli Spencer, Mal Fituch, Caliss Leyden, [6]  

Abstained: Juliet Veskova, Paulina Luisce, Milani Rawlinson, Hong Le, Ella O’Brien, Jasper Vermeulen, Maya Rawlinson, Courtney-Elyce [8]  

The motion was not carried.  

Cops out of Mardi Gras 

The third and final motion for the evening was raised by Declan Kerr. You can read the full motion HERE! 

The motion stated:  

  1. QUT Guild opposes the attendance of police at queer demonstrations and recognizes the role cops play in queer oppression  
  1. QUT Guild condemns the role of NSW Labor in getting the police contingent reinstated.  

Kerr explained that this motion was in regard to the recent murder of gay couple Jessie Baird and Luke Davies, at the hands of Constable Beau Lamarre-Condon, a current member of the NSW Police force.  

[If you are wanting further background and context of this story, then check out the article published by the ABC HERE!]  

In response to the murder, the organisers of Mardi Gras in Sydney initially uninvited the police force from marching in the parade. After pressure was exerted by the Sydney Labor Government, the police were then re-invited.  

Kerr raised this motion to establish that “the police have absolutely no place at Mardi Gras, the police have absolutely no place at Queer demonstrations, they should not be invited”.  

Kerr explained the history of police presence at Mardi Gras, and the history of brutality, oppression and repression.  

“It should be recognised that the role of police is not one where they can be placed in the role of allyship, but actually, that they are the enemies of Queer people, their role in society is to harass Queer people, to repress them, to try and keep them in the closet – and that is one of their key roles,” Kerr said.  

Queer Officer Eli Spencer was invited to second this motion. Spencer accepted this and seconded the motion.  

Spencer discussed his complete support for the motion and re-iterated his view that police do not belong at Queer events.  

Eli said he has emailed and reached out to the organisers of Mardi Gras and the NSW Police to express his disappointment and how shameful he thought it was that they invited the police.  

The Women’s Officer raised a point of interest and added that when the police asked to be allowed to march, they were invited back under the pretence that they would not march in uniform – and they did march in uniform.  

“I think that is really just disgusting,” they said.  

Foley called on President Aaron Bui to show solidarity for this cause and speak on behalf of the Guild on the issue.  

The Chair asked if anyone wanted to speak for the motion.  

Health Councillor Maya Rawlinson also spoke for the motion, stating it was not appropriate for the police to march in their uniform, however noted that it was a challenging decision regarding not discriminating against queer police officers.  

A member of Left Action responded that queer police officers have always had the right to attend the parade as private citizens.  

“I think gay cops are still cops, they are not friends of the LGBTIAQ+ community. I think that if a queer police officer is uncomfortable with the way that the institution that they are a part of, treats queer people, they should resign from the police force. As long as they are a police officer, their net effect on society is a negative one,” Kerr said.  

Kerr discussed broader notions of the role of police in society, saying they only serve the rich and powerful, and are not here to keep people safe.  

The Queer Officer stated that there are other alternatives to having police presence – such as queer friendly security.  

A member of Left Action again asked for members of Labor and named the President and Treasurer amongst those they wanted to speak in regard to the motion.  

“Aaron – I think you as the President should take a stance on this,” they said.  

Members of Left Action then began to heckle him.  

The Chair asked for order, but members of Left Action continued to yell and speak over the top of him despite his pleas for order.  

“Is bullying allowed in this office?” the First Nations Officer asked.  

This statement was met with collective groans from Left Action.  

The Chair continued to beg Left Action to stop speaking over people and being rude, and said the discussion was no longer being productive. Meanwhile, Left Action continued demanding comment from Labor party members.  

Eventually, the Chair moved to a vote.  

For: Juliet, Deepika, Paulina, Lauren, Ethan, Eli, Milani, Mal, Calissa, Ella, Erin, Georgie, Maya, Courtney, Daniel. [15]  

Abstained: Aaron Bui, Archer, Hong Le, Jasper V. [4]  

The motion was passed. 

There was no further general business, motions without notice, or questions.  

Clubs and Societies Officer Hong Le provided a brief update. Firstly, she discussed the club’s leadership conference which had a large number of attendees. Following that, she discussed Welcome Week being highly successful and discussed increased memberships across Clubs and Societies. They also held the “dress as your club event” which was also a successful event. More information will be released soon regarding the funding rounds. Hong notified everyone of the upcoming Coffee Catchup to be held on the 28th of March with the information on the QUT Guild Instagram and on Qpay.  

Health Councillor Maya Rawlinson asked Left Action if they were interested in collaborating on a Health Faculty event. They said they would be in touch.  

The Chair notified everyone that the next Council meeting will be held on April 17th at Gardens Point at 6pm.  

The meeting closed at 8:19pm.  

Articles: 108

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