President Grilled While Libs Bake
Monday, April 23 2012
After a tough interview on 3AW, UMSU President Mark Kettle faces questions about the Student Union not laying a wreath for ANZAC day.
The University of Melbourne Liberal Club raised $340 at a bake sale today to fund a wreath to be laid at the Shrine on ANZAC Day. The sale was prompted by the University of Melbourne Student Union decision not to lay a wreath on behalf of the Union at the Shrine this coming Wednesday.
UMSU president Mark Kettle has been forced to defend the move, after Charley Daniel contacted Neil Mitchell’s program on 3AW this morning to raise the issue. Minutes of students’ council meetings refer to Mr Kettle saying the Union would not lay a wreath because it “glorifies war,” but Mr Kettle has strongly denied this on air this morning and to Farrago this afternoon.
Ms Daniel said that discussion about buying a wreath was suppressed by Mr Kettle at two meetings, with minutes showing that this issue was not voted on at the meeting on 30 January. Discussion centred on whether laying a wreath would condemn or support war and overlap with University of Melbourne events on campus.
After the discussion, a second motion was made, moving that the original motion not be voted on. This subsequent motion was passed, resulting in the original motion to lay a wreath not going to vote.
Ms Daniel said at the bake sale today that it was “disappointing” that the issue had gone so far, citing the increased funds available to UMSU in light of the SSAF.
Kon Moisidis, a member of the Liberal Club present at today’s sale, labelled the event a “very good success” but said it was “regrettable that we had to take action in to our own hands.”
Mr Kettle maintains his position saying “the liberals were in the union in 2010 and undertook no efforts to put forward a wreath when they were in control of the Student Union. They have never brought forward a motion of this in the past.”
Mr Moisidis told Farrago that the issue shows “how out of touch the student representatives are from the student body.” Mr Kettle has labelled the push for a wreath “playing politics with quite a serious issue.”
The Student Union has never laid a wreath at the Shrine, according to Mr Kettle, “nor has any other student union, nor could we find any record of any other trade union as well.”
Forty people, including members of the Liberal Club are expected to present two wreaths at the Shrine on Wednesday after the ceremony. One has been donated by Kelly O’Dwyer, a federal Liberal MP. One wreath will be on behalf of the Liberal Club, and the other on behalf of students, according to Ms Daniel.
Mr Kettle committed on air this morning to facilitate discussion around laying a wreath at the Shrine on Wednesday at tomorrow’s students’ council meeting.
Audio of Mark Kettle and Charley Daniel on Neil Mitchell’s morning program is available here.