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Sydney University Liberal Club

Established in 1933, the Sydney University Liberal Club (SULC) has long been the bastion of conservative and classical liberal political ideology on campus. The Club engages in policy debates, meetings with MPs and campaigns in student elections to spread the Liberal message, and puts out a biannual magazine entitled Libertas. Many present and former MPs have come through the club, including the former Prime Minister, John Howard.

The Sydney University Liberal Club is a member of the NSW Liberal Students Association, and the Australian Liberal Students' Federation. Whilst many members of the Sydney University Liberal Club are members of the Liberal Party, and the Young Liberals, the Sydney University Liberal Club itself is not formally affiliated with the party.


The Sydney University Liberal Club (SULC) was founded in 1933 - 11 years before the Liberal Party was itself founded by Sir Robert Menzies in Albury, and is the second oldest continuous surviving Liberal Club in Australia behind the Melbourne University Liberal Club which was established eight years earlier in 1925.

John Howard was a member of the Club in the late 1950s, as have been Kerry Chikarovski, John Brogden and Malcolm Turnbull. Ironically, even a youthful Neville Wran, former Labor Premier of NSW, was once a member of the Club

One of the club's more famous former Presidents is Jim Carlton, who was Health Minister in the Fraser Government and was the Member for Mackellar from 1977-1994. Jim was influential in establishing the conservative cause in the Federal Parliamentary Liberal Party, Jim was also President of the Student Representative Council whilst at University.

Indeed, becoming the President of the Sydney University SRC is a rare feat for Liberals. Whilst the Sydney University Liberal Club has had many Liberal Presidents of the Student Union, it has had significantly less victories in the Student Representative Council. Tony Abbott and Joe Hockey , both former Federal Government Cabinet Ministers were victorious in 1978 and 1987 respectively. Ted McWhinney, SRC President in 1948 went on to become a prominent Canadian MP. Other Liberal SRC Presidents included Greg Bartels (1953) and Mark Heywood (1985). The most recent Liberal elected as SRC President was Adair Durie, elected in 1997.

The Club has had many varying and constantly changing political views over the years. One of the defining debates in the Club over the past 30 years has been Voluntary Student Unionism (VSU). The Sydney University Liberal Club is committed to providing students with the choice to join or not join a student union, and has attracted national media coverage in recent years for its pro-VSU counterprotests

It was alleged the Club had become more conservative in recent times with the Sydney Morning Herald reporting in 2006 that one former member considered the club "too right wing" and "fanatically concerned with abortion" In 2006, a former member of the Club proposed resolutions to reintroduce the death penalty for "heinous crimes", and to strip non-Christians of the Christmas and Easter holidays, while non-monarchists would lose the Queen's birthday weekend. This was reported in the Daily Telegraph This allowed party moderates to allege that this 'strong conservatism' risks the party's reputation as "a broad church", and with it a source of future members, , even though these motions failed to pass, or to attract any significant support. In 2008, the Sydney Morning Herald reported continuing conservatism in the club including derision for current Federal Leader Brendan Nelson and senior Liberal Malcolm Turnbull Executive

After serving as Treasurer from 2006-2007, Ben Potts was elected unopposed to the position of President in 2008.

Former Presidents include Tim Andrews, who was elected unopposed in October 2006, and also serves as the Federal President of the [[Australian Liberal Students' Federation] and the Vice-President of the NSW Division of the Young Liberals. In 2007, he was also the only Liberal on the Executive of the National Union of Students.

Recent News

The Sydney University Liberal Club currently has two members on the Student Union Board, and two members on the Student Representative Council.

Club Presidents


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