Lively discussion, casual vacancies, and motions aplenty: March Guild Council meeting

Welcome back to the Glass coverage of the Guild Student Representative Council (SRC) Meetings of 2023. This is our coverage of the March Council meeting held Monday 27th March 2023 at B225, Kelvin Grove Campus.  

We will be bringing students coverage of these meetings throughout the year, so you have insight into all the goings-on in your Student Representative Council (SRC). These meetings include the motions that Guild Executives and other students put forward for the SRC to vote on, and which will directly impact your university experience.   

All current students can attend SRC meetings. If you want to see change on campus, we encourage you to put forward a motion to the SRC.  

COUNCIL MEETING MINUTES   

You can find the minutes of the meeting here once published.   

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

AND WE’RE OFF! 

The meeting was opened by the Chair Curtis Wenzel just after 6pm and began with an Acknowledgement of Country.   

Secretary Aamna Asif noted the following apologies for the meeting: Dylan Barrett (Creative Industries, Education and Social Justice Councillor, Grow), Amay Small (Business and Law Faculty Councillor, Grow), Celeste Muller (Glass Editor), Zoe Davidson (President, Grow), and Samantha Burbidge (Engineering Councillor, Grow). 

There following leaves of absence were noted – Ciaran Greig taking leave from 31 March to 12 April 2023. 

After discussion and headcounts by Madison Sheppard, Aamna Asif (via Zoom) and the Chair, it was acknowledged that quorum was reached. 

PRESIDENTIAL REPORT 

The Presidential Report was delivered by Secretary Aamna Asif on behalf of President Zoe Davidson. 

Asif briefly covered the following points: 

  • The governance team’s successful presentation to the Education Employment Legislation Committee, 
  • how the Guild is strategizing and identifying opportunities for better operation of the Student Guild Food Bank due to the increased demand,  
  • the Guild is in conversations with QUT about making improvements to the SafeZone app, and 
  • the success of Welcome Week and the Student Guild Block Party – over 1000 students per day per campus attended these events.

Asif closed the report by thanking the clubs and externals involved with the organisation and execution of Welcome Week and the Block Party, as well as the internal events and marketing team. 

CASUAL VACANCIES 

Current casual vacancies include the First Nations Officer and Engagement Officer.  

Engagement Officer is a casual vacancy. No formal expressions of interest have been received. But Asif has received questions and general interest regarding the current casual vacancies. She is currently awaiting resumes and official applications. 

ADDITION TO THE AGENDA – REMOVAL OF QUEER OFFICER 

Automatic motion tabled by the Secretary for the removal of the as absent SRC members R3.6 and R3.7. The motion was seconded by Madison Shepherd. 

The only as absent SRC member was Thanh Long (Oliver) Vu (Queer Officer, Grow).   

No one spoke against the motion. 

The Chair took a vote; 11 voted for, none against, 2 abstain. The motion was carried.  

Oliver Vu was removed from office and the Queer Officer position has now been posted as a casual vacancy

QUEER COLLECTIVE REPORT 

The Queer Collective report was delivered by Julian Trueman.  

Trueman reported on the activities of Queer Collective from beginning of 2023. The Collective has 167 registered members this year so far. This is a significant increase from 2022, which had a total of 255 member for the entire year. 

The Collective participated in Welcome Week activities and the Block Party, which were good opportunities to increase their visibility. 

There have been two meetings of the Collective so far this year, and both have been successful.  

There is currently a casual vacancy for Engagement Officer position within the Collective.

DISABILITY COLLECTIVE REPORT 

The Disability Collective report was delivered by Michael Pendergast. 

Pendergast reported on the activities of the Disability Collective from the beginning of 2023. The Collective has 45 registered members so far for this year, which is already an improvement from last year which had a total of 35 members.  

The Collective participated in Welcome Week activities and the Block Party. Welcome Week was very successful as many students were coming to visit the stall and a representative from the Collective spoke on the diversity panel. Pendergast said the Block Party was not as successful for their purposes. 

There have been two meetings of the Collective so far this year, and both have been successful. 

The Collective recently held their elections, and there are casual vacancies for the following positions: Secretary and Events Officer. 

ENVIRONMENT OFFICER REPORT 

The Environment Officer report was delivered by Environment Officer Isabella Foley (SAlt). 

Foley spoke about the recent NUS Climate Action protest. Student unions and Environment Officers across the country organised protests in their cities. Over 100 students attended the NUS protest in Brisbane and participated in events leading up to it, like banner making and placard painting. Other climate action groups like Blockade Australia and Extinction Rebellion also supported the protest. 

Upcoming climate action events include the protest of BHP and the Scarborough Gas project. 

“I think it’s clear that there is a real appetite for climate activism at the moment, especially given that the Labor and the Greens and all of their attitudes towards the climate are constantly in the news as a never-ending reminder that we are actually in a climate crisis.” 

Foley asked for people to speak on the work of the Environment Officer; what they think has been going well, or if they disagree with the strategy she thinks we should have in the union. She said she believes we should “make this union less like a business and more like a fighting body for student rights”. 

Ciaran Greig ( Glass, Editor in Chief) said how great it is to see people doing activism and taking action on things. 

Harley Manley (Disability Officer, Grow) said while it’s great to see the activism in the Guild, he thought there should be more diversity in some of the events and effort to make sure things around the university are sustainable.  

Foley responded and said activism is really important because it’s something students can actually engage in. “Protests are important because they actually attack the people in society who hold down ordinary groups of people and who are the ones who are pushing our climate crisis forward.” 

Foley said she that in addition to climate protests she has also organised events like banner painting and speak outs against the housing crisis. “Activism is one of the most ‘cut to the core’ strategies we can use to fight for student rights, and that’s what I am trying to promote this year in our student union.” 

She asked again for the Guild to provide real material support for activism. 

Madison Shepherd (Clubs and Societies Officer, Grow) raised a point of information, asking for clarity on what Foley meant when she said the Guild hadn’t provided enough material support. 

Foley spoke about the proposal she put forward regarding the NUS protest and how it was not supported by the SRC. She also stated that the only SRC members who attended the protest were editors of Glass, despite the SRC voting in support of the motion at the January council meeting. 

Shepherd apologised for not being able to attend the protest, and she also thanked Glass for our “comprehensive reporting” on the event. 

Manley explained why he was unable to attend the event. He also spoke to the monetary support Foley had asked for and stated he thought it would be better to purchase higher quality goods which were made in a sustainable and environmentally conscious way. He stated his concern was purely about the sustainability of the resources Foley asked to purchase (this included stickers and t-shirts). 

QUT student Erin Milne spoke and said she also liked the Glass coverage, in particular showcasing students who attended, which shows other students that there are actually people on campus who are participating in events like these. 

She also said she thinks that speaking about big, outside, real issues is important and is relevant to the university. She said Foley has been paying for supplies herself, and that the Guild should be covering the cost of these supplies.  

This was followed by a lengthy discussion among the executives about working in collaboration with one another, and how to best involve other executives in discussions and decision making.  

Foley said she believed student office bearers should have autonomy over their portfolio, and executives could have different ideas on things but people shouldn’t vote down proposals to spend student money on student issues.  

Foley brought up she was not elected on the same ticket as the other executives. She said the President has told her she was not allowed to call herself the Environment Officer of the QUT Student Guild on numerous occasions, that she feels she cannot put forward a political position, and that this undermines the democratic nature of student unions.   

Asif spoke to the statement that the President stopped Foley from calling herself the Environment Officer. She said she didn’t believe this statement was true, and that to her knowledge the only time Foley was asked to take signage down was when she made unauthorised signage stating “QUT Student Guild Environment Officer” and “Eat the rich”. Asif also said the Student Guild have had complaints from QUT asking to remove certain social media posts.  

This was again followed by a lengthy discussion among the executives about how to manage differing viewpoints, the democracy of a student union, the rules and regulations of the Student Guild, and whether student officers should have independence in how they manage their portfolio.  

Greig recommended that executives go and look at the council meeting coverage by other student publications, like Honi Soit, to see how student executives from other unions operate. “Look at how they run, look at how their elected officers’ campaign for their students, look at how divisive it is. Look at how you have different factions arguing for different things. They come to resolutions, and they get shit done.” 

Oscar Davison (outgoing President, Board member) said there had been a few comments about the length of council meetings. He stated that council meetings will run however long it takes to get through all the items on the agenda. “You folks have been elected to represent students and there is a requirement of that to come to these meetings.” 

Juval Stephens (Board member) raised a point of order asking whether the Environment Officer had actually presented their report. The Chair confirmed they had presented their report, and this is the ongoing discussion from that presentation. 

Milne said it’s bad to hear that the President of the Student Guild has not defended an elected officer to the University, regarding the work they were trying to do in their portfolio.  

Stephens raised a point of information stating he didn’t think it was appropriate for students to be making statements regarding what other executives have said when they are not there to defend themselves. 

Usama Shafiq (Treasurer, Grow) reiterated that it’s important to respect the regulations and constitution of the Guild. He also said he did not feel comfortable with the tone of the council meeting (specifically swearing), and he does not feel this is how the executives should behave as student representatives.  

The Chair attempted to remind the executives of the rules and to be respectful of one another. However, he was interrupted numerous times. He stated the next time this happened, that person would have to leave the meeting.  

THE ENSUEING MOTIONS…. 

The Chair raised the motion to accept the Environment Officer’s report. The motion carried. 

The Chair raised the motion to accept the Disability Collective report. Manley seconded. The motion carried.  

The Chair raised the motion to accept Queer Collective report. Shepherd seconded. The motion carried. 

NO TO WAR AND NO TO AUKUS 

Current student Erin Milne moved for the SRC to oppose the Labor Government’s military spending and drive to war. The motion was seconded by Declan Kerr (Science Councillor, SAlt). 

Milne spoke about how “disgusting” it was that the Australian government was happy to spend $368 billion to buy eight submarines, but there is currently a housing crisis and a cost-of-living crisis. She said this same amount of money could pay for 1.4 million public housing units. 

“I think it’s really important that the SRC doesn’t stand by while the Labor government hurtles towards war, right alongside the US and UK, and it’s really important that we call out this kind of hypocrisy and oppose it at every step.” 

Kerr spoke for the motion. He said this is one of the most important issues of our time, and this is exactly the kind of issue that student unions should care about.  

No one spoke against the motion. 

Foley clarified this motion does not have any action points, and they are asking the Guild to support the political stance.  

Foley asked anyone who was voting to against to speak to why they were voting that way. 

Aaron Bui (Post Grad Officer) voted against; he said he did not agree with the motion and did not agree with the statement that it was about militarism and protecting democracy. He also stated that he felt Foley was not willing to listen to anyone who disagreed with her, as she would routinely interrupt when they were trying to speak.  

The Chair took a vote; 5 voted for, 5 voted against, 2 abstained. The motion was not carried.  

THE QUT GUILD OPPOSES TRANSPHOBIA AND THE FAR-RIGHT 

Current student Georgie Dobbs moved for the Guild stand against the far-right and its campaign of transphobia. The motion was seconded by Isabella Foley. 

Dobbs said the far-right are trying to destroy the gains of the LGBTQ+ community and women’s rights. She also spoke about the recent speaking tour of Kellie-Jay Keen/Posie Parker, and the country-wide protests that were organised against her.  

“I think the success of the protestors against Kellie-Jay Keen and her narratives, in both Australia and New Zealand, show that organisation in the streets is far more effective in combating the far-right than any legislative operations.” 

Student Eli Spencer spoke for the motion. He said that he sees value in this motion because it’s important to show that the Guild does not support transphobia or the far-right. 

No one spoke against the motion. 

The Chair took a vote; the motion was carried unanimously.
 

LABOR’S CLIMATE SAFEGUARD ONLY SAFEGUARDS POLLUTERS 

Isabella Foley moved for the Guild take a stand against Labor’s Climate Safeguard mechanism. The motion was seconded by Declan Kerr. 

Foley said this policy is claimed by the government to be directed at meeting their emissions reduction target of 43% reduction by 2030. She said this is a paltry attempt to curb climate change; the mechanism does not count all types of emissions, contains no ban on future fossil fuel projects and focuses on creating more climate credits.  

John Longwill (Welfare Officer, Grow) asked for clarification on how the carbon credit system works and why it’s “cooking the books”. 

Foley explained how climate credits work in favour of companies who have enough cash to buy as many as they need and do not actually work towards eliminating greenhouse gas emissions. “These are mechanisms designed to make a market and a profit off giving the green tick to polluters.” 

Kerr spoke for the motion. He said this was an important issue because the latest data clearly states the 1.5°C target is no longer possible to achieve, and we need accelerate climate action faster. In addition, the mechanism does not consider the emissions that come from Australia’s export of fossil fuels, which is where the majority of our emissions come from.  

No one spoke against the motion. 

The Chair took a vote; the motion was carried. 

QUT GUILD OPPOSES BHP AND THE SCARBOROUGH GAS PROJECT 

Isabella Foley moved for the Guild to endorse the protest against BHP and Scarborough gas project and publicise the protest on its social media accounts. The motion was seconded by Erin Milne. 

Foley said the Scarborough gas project will emit 1.3 billion tons of emissions in its lifetime, and that this project will make Australia’s emissions targets redundant.  

The QUT Guild Environment Officer, along with the UQ Union Environment Department, has organised community action outside the BHP Office in Brisbane’s CBD for 1pm, Friday March 12. BHP has a 20% share in the Scarborough gas project, and the protest is designed to raise awareness of this destructive action. 

Milne spoke for the motion. She said it’s important to keep the momentum going and continue to encourage students to attend these events, after the success of the recent NUS Climate Action protest. “I think it’s important that we don’t let the government get away with pretending to be more concerned with the environment than they actually are.” 

No one spoke against the motion. 

The Chair took a vote; 7 voted for, none against, 5 abstained. The motion was carried. 

AND THE LAST MOTION OF THE NIGHT… 

That subject to Constitution clause 45.2., the SRC amends its regulations to provide clarity in the following two sections by updating the numbering. Particularly being Regulations that exist in R5 and R17. 

In simple terms, there are two small errors in the Regulations where the incorrect numbering has been used or a number is missing.  

The motion was moved by Juval Stephens. The motion was seconded.  

The Chair took a vote; 8 voted for, none against, 2 abstained. The motion was carried. 

GENERAL BUSINESS – DAVISON PRESENTS APOLOGY 

Oscar Davison presented the only piece of General Business – “On behalf of the Student Representative Council and the Student Guild, I would like to extend a sincere and genuine apology to Ms Skidmore for any pain, suffering or loss of enjoyment of life she has experienced in connection with her time in the role of Engagement Officer.” 

Finally, the Chair asked to confirm the last meeting minutes. The motion was seconded. 

The Chair closed the meeting at 7:56pm.  

These meetings are open for all students to attend and make motions for the SRC to vote on. If you want to attend the next meeting, the details will be posted on the Guild Noticeboard.   

Celeste Muller
Celeste Muller

Celeste (she/her) is a Meanjin/Brisbane based writer and Editor at Glass Media. She has a Bachelor's degree in Design (Interior Design) and is currently studying Journalism and Economics at QUT.

Articles: 51

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