Students Representative Council, University of Sydney
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Progressive coalition trumps Indies

This was the left’s year to dominate, writes Paul Ellis

election

SRC/President

With the help of Labor Right and the broad left group Grassroots, NLS aka Labor Left were able to hold on to the Presidency of the SRC for a mind-blowing 12th year running. This year saw for the first time ‘closed-campus’ legislation in place, outlawing ‘ship-in’ campaigners from other campuses, a practice for which Labor factions are infamous. It was predicted by many that this legislation would cripple the ‘Stand Up!’ team, however the loss of off-campus help was mitigated by Grassroots who, having indirectly supported last year’s Independent candidate Tim Matthews, decided to give direct support to NLS candidate David Pink for President.

This led to Labor once again having the edge in terms of on-the-day campaigners, which is generally accepted to account for as much as 50 per cent of a candidate’s final vote. Between taking President and securing a mammoth 10 seats on council, NLS are now in a terrifyingly powerful position.

The biggest loser of the election is the Independent bloc known as ‘Voice’. Having failed for the second time to take the Presidency in two devastatingly close races, the Indies now have no one to blame but themselves and the dauntingly efficient Labor machine. While the outcome of eight councillors is on paper a reasonable result for the Indies, it may all mean nothing as the leftist coalition that supported David Pink for Presidency has achieved the two-thirds majority needed to monopolise the much-desired (often salaried) Office-Bearer positions on council. It is rare for someone to run for President without having first served in an Office-Bearer position, suggesting the days of genuine ‘Voice/Indie’ Presidential bids may be over.


HONI

Up until last year Honi ticket budgets were subject to an electoral loophole that allowed Honi groups to run an infinite number of SRC tickets as a means of increasing their overall budget. Tickets of not too distant times such as ‘Vox’, ‘Ace’ and ‘Punch’ all ran $6000+ budgets. Running co-branded Honi SRC tickets has since been banned and the flexible Honi budget replaced by a fixed budget of $2000. This year’s election marked the second time Honi teams have had to run with the new, comparatively shoestring sized budget. A few obvious changes to election strategies included a universal disregard for cash-intensive practices such as postering and ‘flyer-bombing’ and a heightened focus on creative video content and social media presence.

JAM for Honi made waves with a 10ft wooden jam cake used as a campaign stall on Eastern Avenue and a subtitled JAM version of the trending hit ‘Gangam Style’. BEAT also brought the funnies in video form, whilst simultaneously using the extensive social connections of their ticket members to recruit a small army of campaigners for the two election days. BEAT’s massive on-the-day support looked likely to swing the result their way if not for the political support JAM received from the same left-wing groups that supported David Pink for President. This appears to have outweighed the help BEAT received in terms of preferences from the Independents ‘Voice’ and the Liberals known in this election as ‘Rise’.

This year’s election was also notable for the further politicisation of Honi, with the distinct left-wing flavour of JAM (pun vaguely intended) slammed as political bias by some. JAM responded to this by pointing to the comparative inexperience of BEAT’s ticket members, a few of which had not been published in Honi until a week or two before the election. The closeness of the race suggests there was merit to both groups’ arguments.

DISCLAIMER: Paul Ellis is an Honi Soit editor. He played a large role in the ‘JAM for Honi’ campaign and is a Grassroots member.