Nominations are yet to open for this year’s ANUSA election, and yet one ticket – Nick Xenophon Team 4 ANUSA (NXT), widely believed to be a joke ticket – has already met with controversy. They have been sent a warning from Nick Xenophon’s office about using the Senator’s name and image.
The ticket’s Facebook page began in early July, with policies such as supporting “South Australian workers” and building “ANUSA submarines in South Australia”. Its ‘stupol bingo’ – an apparent spoof of Shake Up ANUSA’s ANU bingo – met with mixed reactions. It draws on a number of ‘hack’ stereotypes and particularly those associated with Burgmann College, such as “from north shore [sic]”, and “being ANUSA pres[ident] will be first job”. The page also features multiple posts comparing NXT to Shake Up. NXT labelled concerns that these posts were targeting certain candidates “fake”. As well as these concerns, Observer has received unconfirmed reports from a number of student politics sources that the page has links to members of ANU’s Labor Right (Student Unity) group.
Observer contacted NXT 4 ANUSA last week, asking for organisers’ names and an interview. NXT rejected this request, saying “the page organiser is Senator for South Australia, Nick Xenophon”. Observer later contacted Xenophon’s office asking for confirmation of this. Frank Pangallo, a representative for Xenophon, said that the Senator had nothing to do with the page, and expressed concern at his image and name being used. Pangallo subsequently sent a message to the NXT page demanding that “the Facebook page and all references to Senator Xenophon, including images and posts be removed immediately”.
NXT called the message “another attempt by the establishment media to tear down the only voice for South Australian students on campus.” They posted the full text on their page and claimed Pangallo could not have been writing for Xenophon “as Nick Xenophon runs [the NXT] page”. Pangallo previously worked for Today Tonight, but a Google search reveals that he recently took up the position of Xenophon’s media adviser. Observer can confirm that the message was legitimately from him, acting in this official capacity.
When asked for comment on the warning, NXT responded, “I am Nick Xenophon and Frank Pangallo is not my media adviser.”
The Text of the Warning:
To Nick Xenophon Team 4 ANUSA
I am writing on behalf of Senator Nick Xenophon.
Your page is unauthorised and no permission was sought nor granted to use the name and images of Senator Nick Xenophon.
This is a clear violation of the Senator’s intellectual property rights, is a misrepresentation and is grossly misleading.
The use does not meet the “fair use” exception to copyright and therefore would be found to be an infringement.
We ask that the Facebookpage and all references to Senator Xenophon, including images and posts be removed immediately.
Senator Xenophon is a member of the Australian Parliament and is taking this infringment of his rights seriously.
Should action not be taken to remove it, Senator Xenophon reserves his rights in this matter.
for the office of Senator Nick Xenophon
Adelaide, South Australia.
Note: the image is a recreation of the message sent to NXT