A Sydney University Law Society (SULS) event featuring former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull was forced to move online following a snap protest by activists from the University of Sydney’s Education Action Group (EAG).
Protesters pushed through a flank of campus security personnel and members of the SULS executive to enter New Law Foyer.
Standing on a table, SRC Education Officer Deaglan Godwin led the contingent and gave a speech denouncing the former PM’s presence at USyd. He accused Turnbull of being one of the “most damaging forces to higher education”.
“We will never let a former Liberal Prime Minister come here on campus and speak to students who he’s fucked over so much,” Godwin said.
“Fuck off to Mosman, fuck back off to Wentworth!” he said.
Turnbull, a former two-times University of Sydney Union (USU) Board Director, took issue with Godwin’s argument.
“Our friend from the education office has a limited understanding of geography if he thinks-” Turnbull said before Godwin interrupted.
“You and your class wouldn’t listen to anyone below you!” Godwin said.
EAG activist Owen Marsden-Readford advised attendees to boycott the event in light of Turnbull’s political history.
“A quick shoutout to people who call themselves left-wing in this room and who are politely here to listen to a former Liberal Prime Minister speak. Shame on you!” Marsden-Readford said.
“It is reprehensible for the Law Society (SULS) to unilaterally declare that this man has anything of value to say to you for the next hour when he doesn’t,” Lancaster said to attendees.
“He is totally contrasted to the other people [former High Court Justice Michael Kirby] who have been invited as part of this series, as a former Liberal politician,” she said.
Protesters chanted: “Malcolm Turnbull, blood on your hands! Malcolm Turnbull, blood on your hands!”
Turnbull was escorted out by SULS President Ben Hines and campus security.
Following the snap action, Hines and SULS Vice President (Social Justice) andUSU Board Director Naz Sharifi regrouped and moved the event online.