University of Queensland Senator Drew Pavlou has walked out of a hearing that was considering his expulsion this morning.
Senator Pavlou’s legal representative, Tony Morris QC, explained to press that the Board would not release documents that he considered essential to Pavlou’s defence.
“I called for the documents which under the Charter for this body, they are required to make available to Drew. They stood down for 10 or 15 minutes,” Mr Morris explained.
“After those 10 or 15 minutes, they decided they would not be requiring the production of documents which I consider essential to prove Drew’s innocence. Once that occurred, we made clear that we were not going to participate in a hearing where they did not comply with their own Charter.
“Where it goes from here we don’t know. They may make a decision without hearing from us further, they may change their mind and invite us back and agree to comply with their charter. But ultimately, I don’t see this stopping anywhere short of the Supreme Court,” he said.
Mr Morris also suggested to the Board that some members may have a conflict of interest.
“There was a discussion about the proposition that the two staff members should recuse themselves from sitting on the panel, since the University not only pays their salary, but was telling them what decision they should arrive at.”
The University told Semper that the University’s policies aren’t driven by politics.
“We completely reject the claims that this ongoing disciplinary matter is a free speech issue; student disciplinary matters are initiated in response to complaints made to the University,” a UQ spokesperson said.
“It is entirely reasonable and appropriate for the University to provide a safe environment for students and staff, both on campus and online, to protect their welfare and mental health. Part of this is ensuring complaints are fairly considered through a standard, confidential disciplinary process, which is being followed in this case.
“Eroding or undermining these processes reduces the likelihood that students and others will feel safe to report behaviour which they feel is inappropriate or unacceptable.
“For this reason, we cannot respond or engage in discussions on our student disciplinary matters – even if this means we cannot correct inaccuracies that misrepresent the University,” they said.
It is unclear at this time whether the disciplinary board proceeding went ahead without Mr Pavlou present.
Photo: John Bryant, freelance journalist