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CAMPAIGN SECRETS: Campus Liberal power-house’s battle-plan revealed

FreshOne of the nation’s most impressive student political machines will be strutting its stuff at the University of Queensland elections. Many believe that “FRESH” is the most successful campus Liberal political machine in Australian history.

A secret campaign strategy document obtained by VEXNEWS from their successful 2009 bid reveals the highly professional, some might think manipulative, techniques used by the conservatives to maintain power at what has mostly been a left-leaning campus.

Some of the guidance for their campaign workers includes gems like:

– “Girls – hot clothing is a guaranteed vote-winner if you’re comfortable in it. A bit of midriff, leg, all good…If you think it’ll work, flirt,”.

If you’ve got it, flaunt it. Although if you’re up to no good, best to be discreet, urges the FRESH campaign plan:

“Don’t do dodgies in your team shirt. Ripping down lefty posters is tempting, ditto with stealing all their leaflets, putting their car up on bricks, whatever. However, it looks very bad if the team’s associated with this. Take your shirt off first.”

Presumably the shirt-removal applies mainly to the blokes or to the most adventurous of the young ladies.

Their advice to the Liberal lads is to dress down lest they be seen as a bit uppity:

know what the ordinary voting student goes for… this is our market. Guys – go casual bogan: no tie, suits or beige pants.

You don’t have to watch the Gruen Transfer to know sex sells. FRESH knows this too:

If you think it’ll work, flirt. Girls, you’re on an almost universal winner here. Guys will have to pick their battles wisely – don’t be a sleaze.

A little bit of deception goes a long way too, it seems. FRESH campaign workers are told to instruct international students that it is “compulsory” they vote. It isn’t:

International Students… Tell them they have received the wrong ballot paper and need to vote this particular. Tell them that it is compulsory they vote and need to vote this way. Do WHATEVER IT TAKES to ensure they vote…

It also encourages them to tell reluctant voters to “Just do it and stop being a queer.” A line which probably wouldn’t go over too well with gays and lesbians.

But the truth is the document is actually full of very good campaigning advice that shows just how slick and carefully organised the UQ Liberals are.

It wisely urges them to avoid:

Lefty campaigners, lunatic staff members, QUT students, bearded freaks, etc. Don’t waste your time on them.

That’s almost a life-lesson.

Those embarked on student elections this month would do well peruse this document and learn from the great success FRESH has had.


Comments are disallowed for this post.

  1. Good work FRESH people!

    Posted by Giuseppe De Simone | September 5, 2011, 16:18
  2. What a ripjob, the current crop of campus libs have just ripped off an old campaign manual from 2004 that I did up with Gar, Stirlo, Eddie, Jemma, AFJ & Kearney. They haven’t even bothered to edit Gar’s name out of the document on page 2 & 5 even though he graduated 6 years ago!!! Shame they didn’t include Gar’s campaign tips, they really were quite a laugh – with photos included! I might still have a copy on my HD, how can I send them through to Vex? Who is this Dan bloke that edited the thing? Can’t write to save himself!

    Posted by CLUTZ LULZ | September 5, 2011, 17:11
  3. if you need a manual to try to get students to vote for you, you’re probably the last thing they need running their union.

    Posted by Beige Pants Power! | September 5, 2011, 19:18
  4. Yeah thats right Beige Pants – union paperwork is for schmucks, far too much fun to be had without it.

    Posted by Bilbo | September 5, 2011, 22:35
  5. I and my lifelong friend ‘Percy’ are more than happy to ‘mentor’ any young chicks , just don’t tell her indoors or she crack it again. Corr I’d love some that young booty.

    Posted by Boofa | September 5, 2011, 22:38
  6. What a hoot! This is why Tony Abbott is doing so well and Sarah Hanson-Young so often looks like a wet hen.

    Posted by Zaf | September 5, 2011, 22:59
  7. The UQ guys aren’t even in the ballpark of most successful campus Liberals ever.

    Posted by Top Shelf Tony | September 6, 2011, 1:43
  8. What they really need to do to become the most feared political unit ever is to become ‘real students’ and buy ancient crap euro cars, raid the bargain bin at Lowes for a cheap suit, and get expelled from your political party. Then you need to go around and tell everyone how hopeless the opposition is and plot nasty campaign tactics but when they get in first cry like a baby when it happens to you instead.

    Posted by Real Students | September 6, 2011, 7:26
  9. I’m a QUT student and I have a beard. FML.

    Posted by Bearded QUT Student | September 6, 2011, 9:54
  10. it’s funny because they were caught out! It’s tragic because the dark arts 101 had to be written down. If Slippery Pete Slipper runs again please work on his campaign.

    Posted by bravo | September 6, 2011, 10:17
  11. let’s face it Bilbo, young liberals are the last people anyone on a university campus wants to go near, even for some free beer. the greatest tip the manual could give is to renounce their Liberal Party memberships infront of potential voters, or deny they have anything to do with them in the first place. (ie, hide those copies of Atlas Shrugged tucked into your old school socks etc)

    Posted by Beige Pants Power! | September 6, 2011, 12:29
  12. Lol! Great

    Posted by Jefferson | September 6, 2011, 14:52
  13. clutz lulz: bearing in mind that it is a dan wong abortion of a document produced in 07/08 by a quite diff generation of uq libs. you know, the ones that killed the left.

    Posted by vote boat | September 6, 2011, 15:40
  14. Campaign Tactics
    By Garnett Hall

    Believe it or not campaigning isn’t particularly hard. The most important quality of good campaigners is confidence. At first, approaching random people is quite daunting. You won’t know what their political leanings are, you won’t know if they have had a bad day, in fact, you won’t know much about them at all. However, you will quickly get used to it as you find that most students think just like you do and that you can inspire people to take an interest in how their union is run.

    There are two main forms of verbal campaigning which you may choose to take part in. These are your outdoor or “Great Court” style where you approach unknown people (either 1 on 1 or to a small group) around university, & you indoor or “Lecture Bash” variety where you speak to a lecture-room full of students briefly before class begins. Each has a distinct flavour and requires a different approach. For introductory purposes, we will focus only on the former.

    Basic Outdoor Campaigning

    STEP 1: Target Acquisition.

    Pick your target, your time is precious. Don’t waste your efforts trying to talk sense into the man-hating bull-dyke. These people will never come around. The same generally goes for hippies, socialists, or just about anyone with dreadlocks.

    You will find that most students look fairly normal, and these are our core supporters. Talk to them first and foremost. Avoid people who look like they are in a hurry. Don’t be afraid to approach cultural/ethnic groups as we traditionally receive a lot of support from such groups as Islamics, Chinese, Taiwanese, Indians, etc. Keep in mind that whilst they might agree with us, they may very well hate eachother (e.g. Chinese vs. Taiwanese). Antonio is very skilful at securing support amongst these groups and if you would like to know more than I encourage you to speak to him.

    STEP 2: Opening Line.

    This is just like talking to hotties at bars – cheesy pickup lines will not work. The most effective method is to be simple and direct. You can’t have a standard line either, as it will sound forced, you should have a few basics, and be ready to modify them based on the target and the situation (time, place).

    Prior to voting week, I tend to open with lines such as, “G’day. Do you know much about the upcoming student elections?”
    Most students have a vague idea and first years will be clueless.
    Other possible derivations include:
    “Hey Mate. You heard about (policy line)”
    “Hey guys, get some of this into ya”
    “G’day. Have you heard much about the elections or my team Fresh?”
    Alternatively, to just get them talking:
    “Hey Mate. How’s it going? “
    “G’day lads, got a second?”
    During voting week you will need to change your pitch a little bit. In the preceding weeks, your aim was to generate interest and awareness, whereas in voting week your primary goal is to get that person into the voting booth right now.

    A good line to use is “Hey mate. Voting for the union elections is taking place this week and we really need your support. Voting only takes 5 minutes and it’s your chance to help Fresh win power and do something useful with the union”

    Most students won’t know when voting week is, despite the fact that all the teams have been hammering them with propaganda. Also, most students will now know you are a campaigner and some will think of you as an annoyance. This is where you need a really good sales pitch.

    STEP 3: The Spiel

    Students can often be preoccupied, but it is your task to convince them that it is in their interests to take 5 minutes and vote immediately. Don’t let them tell you they’ll do it tomorrow, they won’t – people are slack and it is this apathy amongst normal students that lets the freaks win positions.

    Follow up with something like “What faculty are you in? Did you know that four out five Voice Faculty officers quit? If they ask none of the Fresh candidate quit” Mention faculty specific policies, and try to talk about our relevant faculty candidate to increase name recognition.

    Let people speak to you, by now you have hopefully sparked their interest and they will begin to mention issues that concern them. Comment on the topics they bring up as it is our stance on these issues that will decide their vote.

    STEP 4: The Close

    Now that you have hopefully convinced this person that Fresh is the team to vote for there is a few more things you must do.
    1. Tell them when and where they can vote. (October 11 – 15, all refectories)
    2. Tell them how important it is that they do actually vote for us and how much the union will suck if VOICE remain in power
    3. Make sure they understand that we need them to vote for everyone on our ticket for all positions. We tend to win faculty officer positions quite easily but votes can dwindle when it comes to middle management and councilors.
    4. Give them a how-to-vote card and any policy sheets they are interested in.
    5. Thank them for their time and their commitment to make the UQ Union a better institution

    That’s the basics. The big trick is to have confidence in yourself and to know our policies well. People will be encouraged to vote for you if you show yourself to be passionate, knowledgeable and friendly.

    Good luck!

    Posted by vote boat | September 6, 2011, 15:41
  15. FRESH should be honest about their campaign tactics and include “mimic the tactics of Jackie Kelly’s husband in the federal election and hand out fake pamphlets purpoting to be from PULSE”.

    Total idiots. About 100 people have the document to prove it.

    Posted by Dirty Tricks | September 6, 2011, 18:07

    Rules of campaigning

    1. No arguing with another team in team shirt (they are not going to
    vote for you, and it is likely to real voters away). In fact, no arguing
    in general. If you’re running, you should be talking to students. Get
    hacks or campaign coordinators to argue with others. Or set your friend
    in civvies up to do it.

    2. No hanging round the stall (looks clicky, and your team mates are
    going to vote for you already, so no need to talk to them).

    3. No ripping down posters, picking up other teams leaflets, or any
    other anti-social acts in team t-shirt (people make significant
    decisions about teams by how they seem them act.

    4. If you say you are going to make a lecture bash, make a lecture
    bash!!!!! If you’re not sure, say so. Set your phone/watch to remind
    you, and make sure you make it!

    5. Your shirt must be clean, your breath fresh, and your armpits
    deorderized. You are going to be working hard, talking to the most self
    obsessed and image conscious individuals in the world, first years. We
    all know that it’s the real person, not the image, but that’s cause
    we’ve got through the crisis of what clothes we were, and what our hair
    looks like, but many of the people who vote for us haven’t.

    6. Leaflets and posters are good, talking is better. Talking to people
    is how the left wins elections. We’re sincere; we believe in what we’re
    doing, we’re smarter, nicer, and generally better-looking than any other
    team. Don’t stoop to other teams level, we have to make people believe
    the big dream, and see their place in it. Honesty works, but embellish.
    Few are an effective enough pollie to lie sincerely in a passionate way
    that you inspire others, it takes years of practise. But everyone can
    take a good truth and make it great.

    7. Recruit, recruit, recruit. Give people roles during the campaign
    (campaign volunteer, potential special elections candidate (if you still
    have special elections). Giving people a job and a friend, and you’ve
    got them for life.

    8. Make it fun. Hair shirts are not sexy. Enjoy campaigning, and being
    part of one of the most committed, energetic and powerful teams you will
    ever be in your life. Draw strength from others, and make sure that the
    energy you give inspires the rest of the team.

    9. Go hard. You have a choice, between a couple of hard weeks, and then
    a great year, or a bit of a fuck around, and then a year of regret and
    rage. Soo much rage

    10. If you run into a group of people who already support you, give them
    the lines that will help them persuade others.

    11. People vote for you cause
    a. They are left wing students who support the union, and someone from
    the team has talked to them and made a connection
    b. They are young and impressionable, and they’ve met someone nice from
    the team who’s made a connection
    c. Their friends have made a connection with someone in the team and
    have told them to.
    d. They identify with the team, and feel like they are a part of it.
    College kids vote for their friends in the right because it’s part of
    their shared identity as college kids.
    e. They are fiercely independent analytical people who read all the
    leaflets/and the election semper, and have decided you make sense (about
    1%). And you’ve talked to them.
    f. They thought you were cute when you talked to them.

    12. Why do people listen:
    a. To learn? What does the union do, how do elections work, who are the
    other teams These people want to understand, give them objective and
    informative information.
    b. To converse: people listen because they want to talk about something,
    and campaigning gives them a chance to discuss all the things they’ve
    heard. These people want to see you listen to them, and engage
    c. To hear the end of a story. If they’re interested, or there is a
    problem crisis that they are waiting to hear the resolution to, they’ll
    listen. These people want you to tell a great story that has a natural
    end and makes them feel good about who they are.

    13. Why don’t people listen
    a. They are selfconscious. They think everyone is going to see them
    talking to the strange union person, and are thinking about what others
    might think of them (trick, engage, get them to talk about themselves)
    b. They think you’re going to stay there forever. Make clear at the
    start that you’re only talking for a short period of time.
    c. They feel like they are in an unnatural role, that they are
    uncomfortable with, such as the person being politically persuaded.
    Encourage them to take a role in the conversation (the questioner, the
    what happened next, the discusser)
    d. They see other people not listening. People mimic others, so start in
    any area with an easy group, and then work on harder ones.

    General campaigning tips
    1; Fool yourself into thinking every person you speak to you’ve known
    since primary school
    2; Genuine smiles
    3; Don’t be afraid of certain types of people- Mature age students,
    International students, jocks, freaks, people you wouldn’t usually
    approach- talk to everyone!

    1; Make eye contact with everyone
    2; their questions feed off more questions
    3; be on their physical level- crouch if they’re sitting
    4; approach the person who has spoken last

    Roping and Voting
    1; Until they walk through the doors with the `how-to-vote’ in their
    hand, you still have work to do!
    2; The difference between winning a position often comes down to a few votes
    What to do:
    3; The aim is to approach a student who is walking somewhere (mainly
    close to the refecs) that they have to come with your then to vote (for
    THRIVE of course!)
    4; Be mind-numbingly happy!
    5; Eye-contact, polite, friendly
    6; Your message will evolve personally
    7; Know what you’re on about
    7; Walk along side them
    8; Don’t ask yes or no questions.
    9; Ask personal questions
    10; Humanise yourself. You don’t need a spiel- don’t let yourself sound
    fake or rehearsed. Have a natural conversation

    Liberal warnings:
    1; Liberals (JOLT) use their strong friendship groups
    2; Libs start off with 1800 set votes. We have to catch up!
    3; Its all about keeping the person you’re speaking to away from
    liberals. A classic trick for the liberals is to walk in between you and
    a voter
    4; You are ALWAYS the more rational, coherent and calm campaigner
    5; Students will be stressed
    6; If you’re getting harassed by a Liberal and losing the battle, tell
    the student to make up their own mind
    7; If a situation’s getting heated, and arguments develop with other
    teams, leave the student to vote. Walk away politely.

    Desperate times
    1; They need to vote THAT VERY INSTANT
    2; The last day of voting calls for desperate measures. Why aren’t you
    voting? Why don’t you care? Keep talking to them.
    3; This one person you speak to can potentially save the Union with their
    4; When people tell you they’ve already voted, they’re lying!
    5; If you’re getting desperate, don’t be afraid to get down on your heels
    and shuffle after them! (Thanks for the advice Doof!)
    That said, there are plenty more fish in the sea. so keep on trying!

    Some questions you may come across.

    Hasn’t Thrive been in for 10 years? Isn’t it time for a change?
    1; We are not exactly the same group as last year- Im actually in (2nd)
    2; Around 4 of our candidates have been involved in the Union previously,
    which gives us experience running the Union. Most of our team though are
    new, and have recently gotten involved because they believe in the Union
    and what it can do.
    3; This year Focus held only 13 of the 27 office bearer positions.
    4; (For NRAVS, BEL, EPSA and HS) JOLT has represented you faculty for the
    last 5 years.

    Where does my Student Services Charge go?
    1; The University levies the Student Services Charge and the Union
    receives just over 50% of that (57%). UQ Sport and the University
    Administration get the rest.
    2; A great deal of the budget goes into employing professional staff to
    assist students and give free advice on education, welfare, legal and
    other issues. Other fund go into student campaigns and activities, clubs
    and societies, etc.
    3; Insurance policy/peace of mind.
    4; Also currently supports students who represent and advocate on behalf
    of the student body.

    Are you going to discount services by 20%?
    1; Most of the Union outlets either just break even, or run at a loss, so
    that prices are kept reasonable and so students on every campus have
    access to services.
    2; Under VSU offering that discount would be financially irresponsible
    and leave no money to put into student activities or support services.

    Why does the Union have a Women’s room and a Queer room?
    1; Traditionally all of university is a `safe space’ for heterosexual males.
    2; It’s a myth Women and Queers don’t face discrimination anymore.
    3; Collective spaces allow every voice to be heard and provide support to
    students who are often marginalized or discriminated against.
    4; The Women’s room is one place on campus where Muslim Women can take
    off their Hejub.

    Im in my final year. Why should I vote?
    1; Final year students have the integrity of their degree to lose
    2; Most important vote in the Union ever
    3; The increase in Domestic Up-Front Full Fee-paying places means that
    more students are getting into Uni because they can afford in instead of
    because they work for it. THRIVE is against DUFF places as it lowers the
    overall academic standard of degrees at UQ and is majorly inequitable.
    4; You have a chance to change these things now
    5; Social responsibility
    Reason that the vote is at the end of the year

    Posted by voten boaten | September 6, 2011, 23:18
  17. I like to eat burgers and beat up women

    Posted by Ipswich Boy | September 7, 2011, 0:09
  18. FOC FO

    Posted by LIW | September 7, 2011, 0:09
  19. Two racial minorities in the Liberal party?!???!

    Posted by What. | September 7, 2011, 8:50
  20. Student Unions are a clever way for Universities to totally occupy activist students from both sides of politics by pitting them against each other. Rather than campaigning for better courses, facilities from the university – they get bogged down in managing canteens, allocating a few $1000 to clubs on campus and marching against federal issues.

    Posted by Bilbo | September 7, 2011, 10:27
  21. Where is the horse outfit in the Fresh game plan that was executed so well? Students had so many Questions but other teams had no Answers about what to do to stop it. The horse outfit left us with not even a crumb to play with.

    Posted by Neiiiigggghhhhhhdy | September 8, 2011, 7:39
  22. To Neighdy(Davenfrat). Stop reliving your success once at UQ. Us low level members on the epic ticket dont care much for being told what to do by a 30 year old full time student. Michael Davenfrat please move on.

    Posted by Epic Insider | September 8, 2011, 17:54
  23. love those who claim to be insiders and newbies but can attribute happenings of multiple years gone by to others, something very crummy in that argument of being an insider ;)

    Posted by lol @ insiders | September 8, 2011, 18:48
  24. Fresh has won UQ comprehensively again.

    Posted by Fresh wins again | September 13, 2011, 7:29
  25. Seems like Fresh has gone from strength to strength after a number of so called powerbrokers were sent packing a couple of years ago.

    Posted by old timer | September 13, 2011, 13:05
  26. I agree with old timer. Freshs win has got everything to do with the fact that this year Kiran Srinivasan took control of the campaign from the old powerbrokers. I’ve lived with Kiran and he isn’t really political at all. Just a really nice guy who knows how to work and party hard. He ran his own campaign and Ben Riley ought to shout him a few. It will be a very different Fresh next year without him. He kept the more extreme conservatives like Brodie Thompson at bay.

    Posted by not one but two | September 14, 2011, 15:32
  27. Yeah lulz that Kiran kept Matt Chadwick behind the table all day rather than inflict him on voters. Epic move.

    Posted by not two but one | September 14, 2011, 15:35
  28. yeah and Kiran wouldn’t let Dan Wong, Ben Riley or Laney McLaren near the campaign at all either. Bet they will claim the credit though.

    Posted by not one but two | September 14, 2011, 15:42
  29. Whatever happened to that Antony guy who was like 35 and claimed he was like a Liberal powerbroker even though he wasn’t even a member?

    Posted by The Campus Ferret. | September 20, 2011, 7:03
  30. @ the campus ferret. Antonio was replaced by another 30 year old full time student, M Davenport as the guy people pretend to ask advice of. He tried to help out here but we rejected it.

    Posted by griffith bludger | September 20, 2011, 23:46
  31. I hear that the Ben Riley crew have now become even stronger after winning at QUT. Seems like Ben has well and truly gone from strength to strength.

    Posted by Epic Win | September 25, 2011, 14:31
  32. from what i understand, the lovely hannah bona (uqu treasurer 2011) must also take some credit for suppressing the likes of thompson et al. i’m surprised to hear all this praise for kiran. he is not someone i would characterise as being particularly overburdened with intelligence. though fresh may have won convincingly, their share of the vote fell from ~69% to 55% this year, and i suspect that this was due to a less organised campaign (for which kiran, as manager, would be responsible).

    Posted by uq observer. | September 26, 2011, 20:15


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