Newspaper article The Chronicle (Toowoomba, Australia)

Hansen Stirs Memories of Campus Ban in 1997

Newspaper article The Chronicle (Toowoomba, Australia)

Hansen Stirs Memories of Campus Ban in 1997

Article excerpt

SWANNELL

PETER SWANNELL

THANKS to a worrying half-memory of an early Pauline Hansen, and my friend Google, I've just located the August 13, 1997 front page of USQ News.

I had forgotten that there was a thing called USQ News back in those days when I was about a year into my time as Vice-Chancellor. The heading was "One Nation is no good on campus".

Memories came flooding back; it was at the start of the whole Hansen One Nation thing.

Two days earlier the USQ Student Association President, Paul Barnes, had been urged by a group of international and indigenous students to declare the Toowoomba campus as a "Hansen-free zone'.

This was in support of students protesting against the One Nation Party and Ms Hansen's anti-multiculturalism statements.

They were not dissimilar to those still littering her present policy positions.

I made a decision then that was inevitably controversial, particularly on a university campus. I decided, despite the threats to freedom of speech and the right of individuals to hold minority or even ridiculous views, there was a limit to what should be tolerated, even on a university campus.

With the overwhelming support of management, many staff and students, I decided that campus facilities will not be used for any One Nation meetings. I refused to permit Ms Hansen to address the campus and suggested she was not welcome on or around the campus.

There was a little buzz among a small number of people but I had done my homework. She cancelled her formal visit and was never given a forum in which to spread her racist or more extreme nationalistic views.

I was reported at that time as saying "Ms Hansen's views are just wrong. Australia is a model of multiculturalism in the Asia-Pacific rim and we have an obligation to protect the interests of our international and indigenous students". …

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