The Coalition Shadow Minister for Universities and Research, Senator Brett Mason has kicked up a bit of a stink over the fact that Greens Senate candidate Simon Sheikh brought some pamphlets with him during a guest lecture at the Australian National University.
Rioter c_c™ actually wrote up an article on this, so I’ve included it here:
Word of alleged electioneering by Greens candidate Simon Sheikh during a lecture at ANU emerged through social media early Thursday. Making matters worse, the lecture was for a course run by Sheikh’s partner Anna Rose.
Woroni has now confirmed Ms Rose faces a formal investigation for alleged breaches of the University’s rules. A quote (from a recording) attributed to Ms Rose posted on social media late last night by a student in the lecture, gives some insight into the issue:
“I think often with apathy, it’s not that people don’t care it’s that they’ve never been asked to get involved. I believe Simon has a sheet going around, or a laptop going around, if you want to get more involved for his campaign for Senate.”
Whether Mr Sheikh himself engaged in any electioneering isn’t clear yet, his office claims to have only distributed a sign up list to be used by all the guest speakers to send students further information relevant to the course.
Whether this is even much of an issue isn’t clear. Many people, not least of which a room full of politics students, should be clued into the fact that pollies attend events with an element of self interest, in search of promotion. Some of those who attended have said they’re not fussed. Some of those who are agitating over this, have political interests at the opposite end of the spectrum to Sheikh.
If this lecture though turned into a party sign-up event, perhaps with an academic member of staff inducing people to join, that’s where it probably crosses a line.
To sum my thought on the matter up I’ll throw out the following two words.
So what if he had a volunteer handing out pamphlets? Does Brett Mason really think that University level Political Science students are going to be heavily swayed by a pamphlet? Is he terrified that Sheikh has found this untapped vein of future voters who obviously have no idea what different political parties are all about and is monopolising their attention? Is he sad he didn’t get there first?
I can’t help but wonder about the motivations involved when politicians send out these ridiculous press releases where they “slam” this stance or “call for” this response…
“I commend the ANU for swiftly moving to investigate the circumstances that led to Mr
Sheikh soliciting votes from students,” Senator Mason said.
It really sometimes feels like I’m their Dad and they just keep trying to dob each other in to me.
I feel like reaching down, picking them up and placing them on my knee.
I’ll gather up my sleeve and wipe away their tears and some of the dirt off their nose.
“Now now kids, calm down.”
“BUT DAD HE…”
“Shhh! I know, he’s being a stupid-head. But what you need to understand son is that you’re also a stupid-head, and Dad is very disappointed with the lot of you.”