Tasmania University Union

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The Tasmania University Union Inc. (TUU) is peak body of student representation for tertiary students attending the University of Tasmania. Established in 1899, the TUU represented only southern students for much of its history, but in 2008 it amalgamated the Student Association in the north of the state, now encompassing the entire university. The TUU holds annual elections from which students are elected to positions within the Union's Student Representative Council (SRC) and/or Board of Management (BoM), with positions in both the north and the south. The TUU is affiliated with the National Union of Students (NUS) and with the Council of Australian Postgraduate Associations.


The TUU is jointly governed by the Student Representative Council (SRC) and the Board of Management. The BoM oversees the basic operations of the TUU, controls its operating activities, is responsible for employing relevant staff, controls the budgets of the Union, and acts as the highest point of review for the entire Union, including the SRC.[1] The SRC focuses more on the everyday aspects of student life, particularly educational and welfare advocacy and hosting various events and activities.

Student Representative Council[edit]

The SRC consists of a Statewide Council at which all regional councils are represented, and three subsidiary regional councils: South (Hobart), North (Launceston), and Cradle Coast (Burnie). The Statewide President heads the SRC, with support from the three Campus Presidents (South, North, and Cradle Coast).

The Statewide Council is the body constituted to deal with student representation and activities. This includes representing students in university decision-making processes and forums, developing and supporting student networks, assisting the university to consult with students, providing a voice for students to internal and external stakeholders, and represent student issues to the wider community.[2] The Statewide Council consists of:

  • The Statewide President,
  • The Postgraduate President,
  • The General Secretary, and
  • The three Campus Presidents (South, North, and Cradle Coast),
  • Sports President,
  • Societies President.


The Student Regional Councils run campus-specific events and campaigns, respond to the specific needs and wants of their constituents, and may make recommendations to the Statewide Council. Due to widely varied student demographics and differing historical student representation on separate campuses, the composition of the Student Regional Councils varies between South, North, and Cradle Coast.

The Student Regional Council (South) consists of:

  • The Campus President,
  • The Regional Secretary,
  • The Education Officer,
  • The Environmental Officer,
  • The International Students Officer,
  • The Women's Officer,
  • The Queer Officer,
  • The Welfare Officer,
  • The Activities Officer,
  • The Aboriginal and Torres strait Islander Officer,
  • The Fine Art School Representative,
  • The Conservotorium of Music Representative,
  • The Medical Science Precinct Representative,


The Student Regional Council (North) consists of:

  • The Campus President,
  • The Regional Secretary,
  • The Education Officer,
  • The Sports and Societies Convener,
  • The Welfare Officer,
  • The Activities Officer,
  • The International Students Officer,
  • The Environmental Officer,
  • The Women's Officer,
  • Sexuality and Gender Equality Officer
  • The Aboriginal and Torres strait Islander Officer,
  • Inveresk Representative
  • The Australian Maritime College (AMC) Representative
  • Sydney Campus Representative


The Student Regional Council (Cradle Coast) consists of:

  • The Campus President,
  • The Regional Secretary,
  • The Rural Clinical School Representative,
  • The Education Officer,
  • The Sports and Societies Convener,
  • The Aboriginal and Torres strait Islander Officer.


Board of Management[edit]

The BoM is responsible for setting the strategy and direction of the TUU. The SRC may make recommendations to the BoM, but the BoM is not bound to these recommendations.[7] It consists of:

  • The Statewide President,
  • Two other elected students: the Enrolment Status Representative and the Regional General Representative (both of which must contrast with the enrolment and regional status of the Statewide President),
  • Three positions appointed by the University (by reason of their skills and expertise), and
  • The Chair appointed by the university (in a non-voting capacity, but which may make a casting vote).

The TUU also employs staff to provide administrative services and professional assistance to the SRC, such as student advocates, contact staff, and accounts. The staff are headed by the Executive Officer of the TUU and the General Manager.


The TUU provides a wide range of services to students. These services currently include:

  • Providing student representation, protecting student rights, and participating in university governance;
  • Offering independent student advocates,
  • Hosting events and concerts,
  • Facilitating the operation of TUU-affiliated student clubs and societies, and
  • Publishing student-produced media, such as the TUU quarterly magazine, Togatus.

The Southern Student Representative Council also maintains a Women's Room, Queerspace and Parenting Room on the Sandy Bay Campus.

Clubs and Societies[edit]

Students signing up at Clubs and Societies Day 2012

The vast majority of student sports, social, and faculty-based clubs and societies at the University of Tasmania are affiliated to the TUU. These clubs and societies provide an important aspect of campus culture, running a variety of activities including sports, social, careers, cultural, and charitable events throughout the year. Some societies have their membership based in specific faculties, such as the Tasmanian University Law Society and Tasmanian University Medical Students Society. Others are more special interest-based, such as the Bushwalking Society and PLOT Theatre Society. University-based sports clubs include University of Tasmania Cricket Club, University of Tasmania Rugby Union Club, University of Tasmania Soccer Club, which participate in various statewide sports rosters. Tasmania's three major political parties (Australian Labor Party, Liberal Party of Australia, and the Australian Greens) all have student clubs on campus. The Student Legal Service, a student-run legal advice programme, also operates under the TUU.

As part of each club or society's affiliation, the TUU provides asset and accident insurance, assistance by means of an employed Sports and Societies Officer and convenes monthly Sports Councils and Societies Councils, chaired by the TUU Sports and Societies Councils Presidents

Campus media[edit]

Togatus is the TUU's only student magazine published four times each semester in 2014, with a year book produced at the end of each year.Togatus contains in-depth articles, student opinion pieces and interviews. Togatus has been published relatively consistently since 1931 when it replaced Platypus, the first student newspaper.


The Tasmania University Union essentially began as a social club for the 35 students that made up the University of Tasmania. Today it represents all of the approximately 25,000 students enrolled at the university.,.[8][9]


Current TUU logo as used on website'.

The original TUU logo was probably adopted in the 1920s, with the motto 'In Unitatem UniTas' which can be interpreted as 'The University of Tasmania working towards unity'. In the 1940s, the Union began using the new University of Tasmania logo with rampant lion.[10]

In the early 1990s, the TUU ran a competition for a new logo for the Tasmania University Logo. The winning student design remains in use today. The classical pillar represents knowledge on a solid footing "to show the Union's links with academic tradition, but drawn in a modern way to emphasis its contemporary outlook".[11]

1899-1930: Early Years of the Tasmania University Union[edit]

The TUU was formed by students in 1899, 6 years after lectures began at the University of Tasmania. The initial purpose of the Union was to facilitate social interaction between students and, organise sporting activities and debating.[12] Membership was optional. The development of clubs and societies such as the Law Students Association was integral to the TUU from its early days, with seventeen clubs and societies already active within the small student population in the 1920s. The Union produced its first magazine, "Platypus" in 1914.[13] The TUU also began to organise dances and balls, plays and the rowdy Mock Commem Processions in its early years.[14]

The progressive growth in the TUU and its activities were put on hold by the outbreak of World War I, as students left to join the armed forces. Activities declined significantly in this period; and no committee was named in 1920.[15]

In the early 1920s, the University Council made partial membership fees compulsory for students. This enabled the TUU to regain strength, and begin to field teams in the recently instituted Australian inter-varsity sporting competitions.[16] In 1930, full membership was made compulsory.

The Union Committee became the formal Student Representative Council in 1925 under a Constitutional change.[17]

1931-1939: Settling In[edit]

In the mid to late 1930s, the Union began to flourish again as the problems of the war and the Great Depression finally began to fade. In 1937 the Tasmania University Union joined the new National Union of Students, and successfully engaged in national campaigns, such as pushing for student representation on university decision-making bodies [18] The TUU became increasingly well established at the University of Tasmania, organising student life and representing students to the University and the wider community. The TUU took on its first paid employee, a part-time professional secretary, in 1939 to help with the administration of the growing Union and its increasing activities.[19]

As Platypus had become defunct, the Union started Togatus in 1931, which was then a fortnightly student news and opinion paper.[20]

1940-1954: Resilience[edit]

As World War II broke out, the Tasmania University Union fell into decline again, cancelling many of its activities and donating the membership fees of remaining students to the Australian Government for the war effort.[21] The TUU pressed on however, updating the Constitution again for a fully elected SRC, introducing a formal budget process, printing the first student handbook, and electing its first female president Cynthia Johnson in 1941.[22] The first party political student clubs were also formed during the war.

As the war ended, student numbers increased dramatically and the university began its gradual move from the Hobart Domain to Sandy Bay.[23] Over the next decade, the TUU began Orientation Week ('O-Week'), started a book stall, organised more student spaces and a canteen, and began to gain permanent sporting facilities; as well as establishing the theatre company Old Nick, which continues independently today.[24]

1954-73: Growth[edit]

In the early 1950s, the TUU joined with academic staff against the University Council, resulting in a Royal Commission into the University. The Commission upheld the claims against the University about unfit working conditions and poor facilities. The university then hastened its move to the new Sandy Bay Campus with increased Commonwealth funding. At the same time, the Union secured dollar-for-dollar state government support to build the Union Building at Sandy Bay, completed in 1959.[25] Services introduced with the building included the Refectory ('the Ref'), a 'mixed' shop, gown hire, a bank and hairdresser. The Union continued to construct extensions to the building, and add more services over the following years, becoming "a large business venture".[26]

As the Union settled into its expanded commercial role, it also introduced new annual events such as the first Scav Hunt in 1962 (which became notorious over the years, with the 'kidnapping' of local personalities and buses); and the Student Representatives began to look into wider student issues such as indigenous disadvantage, student living conditions, and the environment. Protests originating from the Union Building and moving into the city of Hobart, regarding the Vietnam War, Apartheid in South Africa and many other issues became common in the 1960s and 1970s. The SRC also became more active in surveying students and using the results to pressure for change in faculty and university processes and structures.[27]

1974-1980: Disenchantment[edit]

The Union's situation disintegrated through the late 1970s. A poor national economy created opposition to raising the compulsory Union fee, alongside issues of mismanagement within the TUU led to a worsening financial position. Trading ventures began to run at a loss, there were allegations of corruption, the SRC suffered from in-fighting and frequent turnover, and for six consecutive years the TUU Annual General Meetings (AGMs) failed due to lack of quorum from the student body.[28] Inexperience and intense party political competition around the SRC was especially damaging around 1976, with the Union technically bankrupt by the end of 1977; although it returned to profit in 1978 under a new President.[29]

Student-led activism declined in this period as well, and the student body also voted to secede from the National Union of Students in 1979.[30]

1980-2000: Rolling Along[edit]

In the early 1980s, the TUU underwent significant structural change through a new Constitution, and began to look more like it does today. The Board of Management (with a student majority) was instituted to manage the financial and trading interests of the Union, leaving the SRC to concentrate on education, welfare, activities and publications.[31] By the mid-1980s, the Union had turned around to boast "the best facilities and the lowers fees in Australia. All trading ventures ran at a profit...and [the Activities Council] became the major music promoter in Tasmania".[32] The Union campaigned on issues like Commonwealth tertiary education funding, student allowances, and against the introduction of Voluntary Student Unionism. The Union's services continued to expand, especially TUU student housing. The SRC also gained greatly increased representation on University committees and won a campaign for anonymity in exams.[33]

In the mid to late 1980s, some of the TUU's commercial ventures returned to loss and the union fee was increased against much opposition.[34] However, the new Executive Officer from 1989 increased accountability and efficiency measures, returning financial stability and going on to win a Businesswoman of the Year Award. The Union's second ever female President was elected at the end of the decade.[35]

As the university grew and diversified, the TUU introduced SRC positions like the satellite campus representatives, sexuality and environment officers; as well as the Postgraduate Council. Togatus became more of a general magazine than a student newspaper around this time. The TUU continued to campaign against cuts to tertiary education funding and VSU, and changes to university courses and facilities - but was less successful over the long term, especially with a less activist student population than in the past .[36]

The Tasmania University Union became an incorporated entity in 1991 [37]

2000s: Recent History[edit]

As it has throughout its history, the TUU has organised campaigns around many divisive issues, including university restructures, student welfare issues, the introduction of voluntary student unionism in 2006, and the use of compulsory student fees collected under the Higher Education Legislation Amendment (Student Services and Amenities) Act in 2012.

In 2011, the bulk of the commercial operations (including catering, retail, and housing services) offered on campus by the TUU were sold to the University.[38] At the time, this decision by the BoM to sell the commercial assets was viewed as controversial, and reinvigorated student interest in the TUU and its operations. In light of these significant changes to the Union, the TUU has commenced a process of constitutional review in 2012.[39]

Past Presidents and Notable Office Bearers[edit]

Notable Officer Bearers[edit]

Past Presidents[edit]

Number President Term of office
1 Mr. J.J. Edwards 1926-1927
2 Mr. G.L. Barns 1927-1928
3 Mr. E.G. Butler 1928-1929
4 Mr. R.C. Lord 1929-1930
5 Mr. E.J. Warlow-Davies 1930-1931
6 Mr. R.F. Fagan 1931-1932
7 Mr. L.R. McIntyre 1932-1933
8 Mr. R.F. Fagan 1933-1934
9 Mr. G.E. Hodgson 1934-1936
10 Mr. E.M. Giblin 1936-1937
11 Mr. Victor G. Burley 1937-1938
12 Mr. D.M. Chambers 1938-1939
13 Mr. J.R.M. Driscoll 1939-1940
14 Mr. R.M. Alexander 1940-1941
15 Ms. Cynthia M. Johnson* 1941-1942
16 Mr. W.B. Mather 1942-1943
17 Mr. L.J. Harris 1943-1944
18 Mr. P.W. Crowcroft 1944-1945
19 Mr. D. Saul 1945-1946
20 Mr. J.P. Sommerville 1946-1947
21 Mr. D.N. Padgam 1947-1949
22 Mr. L.C. Haslope 1949-1950
23 Mr. J.H.F. Cruickshank 1950-1951
24 Mr. E.M. Barrett 1951-1953
25 Mr. N. Blewett 1953-1954
26 Mr Malcolm C.B. Hills 1954-1957
27 Mr. Val R. Smith 1957-1960
28 Mr. Peter G. Hall 1960-1961
29 Mr. A.H. Manley 1961-1962
30 Mr. R. Plehwe 1962-1964
31 Mr. Pierre W. Slicer 1964-1965
33 Mr. N.S. Roberts 1965-1966
33 Mr. R.J.H. Harrison 1966-1967
34 Mr. R.J. Graham 1967-1969
35 Mr. P.J. Flanagan 1969
36 Mr. K.A. Scott 1969-1972
37 Mr. Mr. J.J. Amos 1972-1973
38 Mr. G.R. Grant 1973
39 Mr. D.J. Colquhoun-Kerr 11973-1974
40 Mr. W.D. Bowtell 1974-1975
41 Mr. P.J. Ryan 1975-1976
42 Mr. Michael "Mick" F. Munday 1976-1977
43 Mr. Terry E. Ewing 1977-1979
44 Mr. P.A. Kaliniecki 1980
45 Mr. David J. Traynor 1980-1981
46 Mr. T. Andrew K. Wilson 1981-1983
47 Mr. Richard Flanagan 1983-1984
48 Mr. R.K. Loane 1984-1985
49 Mr. Charles E. Touber 1985-1987
50 Mr. Ross C. Clennett 1987-1988
51 Mr. David C. McGrath 1988-1989
52 Ms. Joanne Flinn 1989-1990
53 Mr. P. Ram 1990
54 Mr. Stuart Baird 1990-1991
55 Ms. Nicole Michell 1991-1992
56 Ms. Shelly Murrell 1992-1993
57 Ms. Jenny Newman 1993-1994
58 Mrs Kate Jackson 1994-1995
59 Mr. Anthony Llewellyn 1995-1996
60 Ms. Catherine Miller 1996-1997
61 Mr. Gilbert Astorga 1997-1998
62 Mr. Bruce Paterson 1998-2000
63 Ms. Sam Ling 2000
64 Mr. Mark Evenhuis 2000-2001
65 Mr. Ted Alexander 2001-2002
66 Mr. Eli White 2002-2003
67 Mr. John Moore 2003-2004
68 Ms. Emma Catchpole 2004-2005
69 Ms. Rikki Mawad 2005-2008
70 Mr. Robert Meredith 2008-2009
71 Ms. Clare Rutherford 2009-2010
72 Mr. Saleh BinTaleb 2011-2012
73 Ms. Alex West 2012-2013
74 Mr. Isaac Foster 2013-2014
75 Ms. Heidi La Paglia 2014-2015


  1. ^ Tasmania University Union 2012, Tasmania University Union Incorporated Constitution, accessed <http://tuu.com.au/uploaded/286/15120609_15tuuconstitution-14june2.pdf>.
  2. ^ ibid.
  3. ^ http://tuu.com.au/representation/state-council/
  4. ^ http://tuu.com.au/representation/src-south/
  5. ^ http://tuu.com.au/representation/src-north/
  6. ^ http://tuu.com.au/representation/src-cradle-coast/
  7. ^ ibid.
  8. ^ Alexander, Alison 1999, State of the Union: Tasmania University Union 1899-1999, Hobart, Tasmania University Union - p.89
  9. ^ "UTAS Study Abroad Brochure 2007" (PDF). Retrieved 2010-05-16. 
  10. ^ Alexander, Alison 1999, State of the Union: Tasmania University Union 1899-1999, Hobart, Tasmania University Union - p.vi.
  11. ^ ibid.
  12. ^ ibid, p.1.
  13. ^ ibid, p.2.
  14. ^ ibid, p.7
  15. ^ ibid, p.5.
  16. ^ ibid, p.6
  17. ^ ibid, p.8
  18. ^ ibid, p.11
  19. ^ ibid, p.16
  20. ^ ibid, p.10
  21. ^ ibid, p.17
  22. ^ ibid, p.18
  23. ^ ibid, pp.20-22.
  24. ^ ibid, p.23-25.
  25. ^ ibid, p.27, 29.
  26. ^ ibid, p.34
  27. ^ ibid, pp.36-43.
  28. ^ ibid, p.52.
  29. ^ ibid, pp.55-59
  30. ^ ibid, pp.60-61
  31. ^ ibid, p.63.
  32. ^ ibid, p.65.
  33. ^ ibid, pp.66-68.
  34. ^ ibid, p.68
  35. ^ ibid, p.70.
  36. ^ ibid, pp.80, 82-86
  37. ^ ibid, p.80
  38. ^ University of Tasmania 2011, 'Students the focus in University-TUU agreement', University of Tasmania (28 November), Hobart, viewed 27 June 2012, <http://www.utas.edu.au/tools/recent-news/news/students-the-focus-in-university-tuu-agreement>.
  39. ^ Tasmania University Union 2012, 'TUU Constitution Review', Tasmania University Union (27 June), Hobart, viewed 27 June 2012, <http://tuu.com.au/about_the_tuu/news/15120608>.

External links[edit]