Newman Society Censured on Australian Campus — Won’t Toe Pro-abortion Line

Newman Society Censured on Australian Campus — Won’t Toe Pro-abortion Line

The Student Union at Queensland University have shown themselves to be opposed to differing opinion and free speech like many other secular universities around the world.The school’s Newman Society has been censored and threatened with disaffiliation from the student union because union leaders believed the group’s “pro-woman” and “pro-pregnancy” campaign took a stand against abortion.

The poster and leaflets, displayed on a booth outside the student café, did not mention abortion but featured a photograph of an eight week old child in the womb, and offered compassion and support for young women who might find themselves facing the difficult challenge of an unplanned pregnancy.

. . . . .

Joshua Young, president of the student union, gave this explanation for the union’s actions against Catholics on campus: “I know the Newman Society thinks the union is being heavy handed, but the student union voted in 1993 for free, safe abortion on demand so all women have a genuine choice when faced with unwanted pregnancy.”

From a student body of 30,000, a total of approximately 3,500 voted in the 1993 referendum, with about 1900 in favor of abortion rights, 1400 against, and 200 abstaining.

When asked if the vote precludes other views being advocated in campus debate, Young said, “It does.”

One debate, one time settles the question forever?
But I’d bet that if the pro-abortion side had lost the vote they would have kept campaigning.

Before readers of this article judge the union president in his actions, you may not know that the union president’s hands are tied by the current rules of the union.

As the uq union is a voluntary association, all materials produced by student clubs affiliated to the union need to be approved by the union president. If the union president approves material that is against union policy as previously determined by referendum then the president can be summarily dismissed from office.

In this case the Newman Society put the union president in a very difficult position. They didn’t seek the approval of the president for their materials before they distributed them. Then when the president told them that the material could not go out with the official sanction of the union because it contravened settled policy, they cried foul.

It seems that this entire exercise was a cynical publicity stunt on behalf of the Newman Society to gain publicity by flagrantly violating rules for union-affiliated clubs - which they were clearly aware of. The Newman Society know full well that they could have distributed materials on campus as “UQ Catholics” or whatever.

However, what they really wanted to do was cause trouble for the conservative union exec and get some publicity out of the whole exercise. If the Newman Society REALLY felt passionate about this issue, they would assemble the 1500 signatures required to hold a new referendum instead of trying to manipulate the union president into breaking the very rules that he has to keep!

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit