Far right

We demand an apology from Victoria University

We the undersigned have put together a letter of protest addressed to Victoria University (where Overland magazine is also based) regarding the university’s hosting of a Q Society fundraising event on Friday 10 February. We will be regularly updating with signatures; feel free to add your name in the comments below, and we’ll add you to the list.


To Vice Chancellor Peter Dawkins and the Victoria University Council

It is with alarm and disappointment that we protest Victoria University’s decision to provide a platform to the far right anti Islam organisation Q Society.

On Friday 10 February, the Q Society hosted a fundraising dinner at Victoria University’s city convention centre in Melbourne. The event, deceptively titled ‘Defend freedom of speech’, was to raise funds for legal fees related to a defamation lawsuit by Mohamed El-Mouelhy, a Halal certifier. The Q Society is well known for associating Islam with terrorism and lobbying parliament to ban Halal certification.

In 2014 the Q Society toured far-right Dutch MP Geert Wilders, who advocates a total ban on Muslim migration. At the Q Society fundraising dinner held in Sydney on Thursday night, Larry Pickering, cartoonist and VIP guest said, ‘Let’s be honest, I can’t stand Muslims.’ Cory Bernardi, former Liberal Party senator, was a keynote speaker at Friday night’s event in Melbourne. Bernardi has been a vocal opponent of Islam, opposes reproductive freedom for women and has linked same sex marriage to bestiality.

Victoria University has a very diverse student and staff population whose human rights and freedom to go about their daily lives are threatened by the repressive and reprehensible ideas of the Q Society.

Providing a venue for the Q Society contradicts the university’s vision of being ‘…open and excellent, creating exceptional value for any student from any background and uplifting the communities in which we operate’.

It also threatens Victoria University Safer Community strategy, which is designed to foster an inclusive and safe environment for staff, students and the broader community.

Hosting the Q Society contravenes the University’s policy that clearly states that facilities will NOT be made available for:

a. Unlawful activities or activities that may be a breach of University policies.
b. Activities that are in conflict with or deemed incompatible with the University’s values or strategic direction.

We demand the university issue an apology and donate any money received from the Q Society or any affiliated institution to the Islamic Society of Victoria University or other related student and/or staff bodies.

Yours in protest:
Paul Adams, Branch President NTEU VU Branch
Margarita Windisch, VU Community Services/Development teacher
Professor John Tully Honorary Professor/Educator PhD
Bill Daly, VU staff, Senior Manager Quality & Compliance
Jo Williams, VU staff, lecturer in Education
Dorothy Buck, VU Emeritus Professor of Psychology
Dr Jenny Lee, Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing and Literary Studies
Colleen Hartland, Greens MP for the Western Metropolitan Region
Sue Bolton, Moreland councillor
Jeff Sparrow, Honorary Fellow, VU
Emeritus Professor Michael Hamel-Green, College of Arts and Education, VU
VU Pride
VU Women’s Collective
VU Theatre Company (VUTC)
Mizan Ahmed, PhD student and sessional academic, College of Engineering and Science, VU
Mikhaila Hargraves, VU student
Bernedette Bonnano, VU Community Services/Development teacher
Tina Grimes, VU Community Services/Development teacher
Maria Strofalis, sessional VU staff member
Trish Hayes , sessional VU Social Work teacher
Jacinda Woodhead, Overland editor, VU doctoral graduate
Alex Skutenko, Overland staff member
Jennifer Mills, author, Overland fiction editor
Kath Wilson, PhD, former Overland co-editor
Alison Croggon, Overland contributor
David Garland VU NTEU Branch Committee member
Sarah Tartakover, Lecturer in College of Arts and Education, VU
Kate Davison, Overland contributor, PhD student at University of Melbourne
Maddison Stoff, Overland Contributor
Alex Gerrans, Overland Contributor
Anna Branford, VU staff
Jacob Andrewartha, VU student
Mel Balkan, VU student
Niki Wight, VU student
Claudio Uribe, VU student
Cameron McInnes, VU student
Jay Ampersand, VU student
Megan Johnson, VU student
Rebecca Nancarow, VU student
Michelle Smith, VU student
Lisa Farrance, Overland Contributor, VU PhD Candidate, previous VU Researcher (ICEPA and FOBL)
Michelle Thompson, sessional VU staff member
Brianna Stevenson, ex VU student, current youth worker
Fleur Taylor, former VU student
Robert Bollard, (VU BA, PhD and Grad Dip in Teaching), former sessional lecturer and tutor
Katey Bellew, VU student
Maria Matthews, VU student and former VU student-as-staff member
Angela Clark, former VU student
Leeanne Gooch, former VU student
Sarah Palmer, ex VU staff member
Dr Nilanthi Kanapathilipillai, St Vincents Hospital
Beck Sheffield-Brotherton, former VU student
Julie Butler, former VU student
Rebecca Tucker, former VU student, current CD worker
Vikki Steeneveld, former Social Work student and VU staff members (careers)
Sandra DiGiantomasso, local community worker
Jay Daniel Thompson, staff member
Sue Leigh
Maria Chalke, tax payer
Marian Grantham, former vU student
Nicole Hilder, former VU staff, librarian
Lynne Healey, volunteer worker
Vickie Minaso, former VU student
Jai Moore, VU student, Student As Staff
David Vakalis, former VU student and staff member
Rhiannon Jacksonberry, former VU student and Off SetArt Journal team member
Jennifer Leah Sultana, VU student
Dr Lachlan Clohesy, NTEU National Council and VU NTEU Branch Committee Member
Michelle Harrison, VU student
Marsha Emerman, VU Sessional Screen Media teacher
Phil Evans, VU alumni and Development Coordinator of Friends of the Earth
Brew McKilligan, local Community Development worker
Toni Mcgrath
Elaine Speight-Burton, lecturer, Academic support and Development, VU
Jess Sloan, former VU studen
Fikret Pajalic, Overland contributor
Amra Pajalic
Kris Chainey, former VU student
Emilie Collyer, playwright, poet and Overland contributor
Marta Skrabacz, Overland contributor
Amy Wilson, VU student
Peter Thrupp, Overland contributor
Siew Fang Law, VU staff
George Sampson
Anna Campbell
Paul Reiner
Shannon Woodcock, writer and academic
Sylvia Martin, biographer
Vas Kasidis, University of Melbourne researcher
Shelley Turner, VU social work
Katelin Farnsworth
Anne Myers, former VU student
Meghann Clark
Dr Tracey Ollis


Image: Bayside bus at rally against Q Society / Andy Fleming

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  1. Please add my name to the above letter. Thanks,

  2. appalling ‘oversight’ review VU policy immediately…please add my name as lecturer Academic support and Development, VU

  3. As a former student of VU, I am appalled at the decision to allow this hate and bigotry to have a stage at their facilities. Please add my name.

  4. The ideology and concepts of Q society are so senseless and bias towards a certain religion and to its followers.

    Please add my name in protesting against such an inappropriate act.

    Mizan Ahmed
    PhD student and Sessional Academic
    College of Engineering and Science
    Victoria University,Melbourne

  5. Please adjust my details? (Written when was first just a VU letter):
    LIsa Farrance, Overland Contributor, VU PhD Candidate, previous VU Researcher (ICEPA and FOBL)

  6. I am disgusted that VU played host to this fear fuelled conference. I am terribly embarrassed to be a part of the Victoria University alumni community and will be telling everyone I know to boycott VU until amends have been made. This is totally unacceptable.

    Nathalie McLean

  7. sign me up and all those in favour of a united diverse Australia keep up the good work. Divisive politics for political gain never results in good outcomes

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