‘It’s extremely inappropriate’: Tahlia Penn slams Oscar Ong’s conduct on Clubs Committee
Words by Ethan Penglase
Clubs Committee Chair Oscar Ong allegedly encouraged a ‘pro-life’ club to make an application to become a registered club despite the expression of interest being rejected.
Earlier in the year, pro-life club LifeChoice Adelaide submitted an expression of interest to become a registered university club to the Clubs Committee.
In the expression of interest, the Club described itself as a ‘pro-life student group committed to promoting the dignity of all human beings’ but clarified that it was ‘non-religious’. The application also notes that multiple student associations around the country have refused to register other LifeChoice clubs on the basis that it goes against their values.
The Clubs Committee seemingly agreed with other student associations and rejected LifeChoice’s expression of interest.
SRC Women’s Officer Tahlia Penn weighed in on the issue, saying “people can be entitled to their opinion of pro-life or pro-choice as long as they’re not going to make people feel guilty about their choice about their body.”
Penn said that it would be “over the top” if LifeChoice was to propagandise on campus as much as Socialist Alternative does and that she “didn’t like the idea” of the club having access to Union funds, though she did not explicitly oppose the registration of the club.
Despite having its expression of interest rejected, LifeChoice proceeded to make an application for registration.
Normally, clubs are required to make an expression of interest to demonstrate that they are significantly different from other university clubs and that they would benefit from registration. If the expression of interest is approved, clubs are then required to make an application that proves they have a constitution, a committee, and the minimum number of members required.
One member of the Clubs Committee told On Dit that Committee Chair Ong encouraged LifeChoice to submit an application, essentially bypassing the expression of interest requirement.
Ong may have encouraged the applicant to make the application because she threatened to ‘go to the media’.
“He’s kind of abusing his power” said Penn.
“If you go straight to the application then that defeats the whole purpose [of an expression of interest] and it derails the whole entire thing.”
This isn’t Ong’s first brush with rule bending. In April, Ong attempted to hold an unconstitutional meeting of the AUU Board Executive to allegedly usurp the AUU presidency.
Ong is the front runner to become AUU President should his team Progress win more Board positions this election — presuming ongoing support from Swipe Right and Unite.
LifeChoice Adelaide remains unregistered.