USU Board candidates 2020: Ben Hines

Honi's profile and full interview with USU Board candidate Ben Hines.

Slogan: ‘I’m backing Ben’.

Colour: Turquoise.

Faction: Independent (Liberal).

Quiz score: 68%.

Housewives tagline:“Ideology is what I have, not who I am”.

Ben Hines completed his interview and quiz from the back seat of a car, in a move that we’re not altogether sure wasn’t calculated. Running as an Independent, Hines is the Vice President of the Sydney University Liberal Club (SULC). He assures us that he doesn’t subscribe to the whole “factional thing”, citing the diversity of his team — his manager, Alex de Araujo has previously campaigned for Switchroots, and he boasts ex-Unity and NLS campaigners — but he admits he is being assisted by SULC Treasurer Alex Baird. 

Hines’ policy centres around the sentiment of “ideas, not ideology.” When quizzed about the actual practice of this notion, Hines offered somewhat of a vague, Jordan Peterson-esque, mini-lecture on the distinction between ideology and values. He suggested that board directors should foreground values associated with a certain political leaning (e.g. the value of freedom under a free-market ideology), rather than a full commitment to said ideology, using the example of a complete commitment to free-market ideology being detrimental to the environment. He failed to give any example relevant to the operation of the USU. 

Ben Hines possesses a commitment to his proclaimed independence, as well as an ability to coherently answer questions, that fellow Liberal Nick Rigby could learn from. He supports the (amended) anti-Ramsay Centre motion that passed last year, and committed to campaigning against VSU, as per USU regulations, were the need to arise. Though he stopped short of entirely disavowing the SULC-hosted Bettina Arndt Fake Rape tour, he recognised the discomfort Arndt’s presence might cause students. He drew a distinction between Arndt and American conservative Ben Shapiro, proclaiming that he found the former “underwhelming.” 

Hines’ policy is brief and underwhelming. He commits to taking stances on issues such as ProctorU, as well as advocating for international student concession cards, but none of his policies are particularly new or interesting. He appears to be courting the college and Conservatorium vote, but his decision to include them under the same policy is sure to invoke the ire of both. If only he had given as much thought to his policies as he had the difference between ideas and ideology.

A link to the full transcript can be found here.