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UniGate: S1 W2 2013

All the rumours, hearsay, and downright slander from the world of student politics and culture

Union gives you money
If you feel like your relationship with the USU has become a one-way cash drain, your chance for revenge has arrived. The Union has passed a motion allowing candidates in USU elections to claim a $500 bursary.  The bursary will not have to be repaid. Candidates who contest the next Union elections, at which six places on the Board will be up for election, will be able to receive the strings-free funding by signing a statutory declaration confirming their intention to spend the money exclusively on campaign materials. At the end of the campaign they will have to account for this expenditure by showing their receipts. The measure is part of a campaign to encourage a greater diversity of candidates to run for places on the Board. It is hoped that by helping candidates pay for the majority of their $700 campaign spending cap, candidates from less wealthy backgrounds will be more inclined to undertake the potentially financially crippling exercise. So, now all you have to do is find a way to write-up cocaine and alcohol as ‘campaign expenses’ and hand in your Union Board nomination papers. But be warned: winners will be forced to serve on the Board for two years. We’ll let you decide whether the risk is worth it or not.

Minister for Livetweeting
Sydney University was paid an unexpected visit by Bob Carr last Wednesday, though this time it didn’t involve socialists picketing a lecture theatre. Well – there was theatre, just no lecture or socialists. Senator Carr accepted an invitation to SUDS’ production of Julius Caesar following an exchange with director Nathaniel Pemberton on his theatre blog over a year ago. “A big tip: you never, ever see amateur Shakespeare. That is an offense against God,” the Foreign Minister opined on his blog in December 2011. Pemberton debated the point, to which the Senator retorted, “Now prove me wrong. I want to be proven wrong.” Carr was thus extended an invitation to the show, and it appears, was proven wrong. The Senator livetweeted the majority of the show from the front row – much to the dismay of the rest of the audience – and at one point compared the death of Caesar to the fall of Victorian Premier Ted Baillieu. But that wasn’t all, Carr brought along Bob Ellis (apparently a close friend…), who was so impressed that he wrote a review on his blog and saw the show again the next night. Oh, and Sydney theatre identity Kevin Jackson was also in attendance on opening night. Jackson, too, reviewed the show on his popular blog, using much of the review to admonish the University for not providing SUDS with a better performance space. “The Cellar Theatre is a disgrace that the administration should take urgent note of,” he wrote. Hear, hear!

SRC election
The first SRC meeting of 2013 was held last Wednesday to great acclaim. Liberal representative Sam Murray, via proxy, proposed a motion to limit SRC campaigns to seven days, instead of the current period of twelve days. The motion was seconded by Indie Cameron Caccamo, who argued that long campaigns turn students off voting. Referring to this year’s overlap of the SRC and Federal elections he added, “I urge you, think of your own wellbeing”. Quite. Perhaps to the dismay of all non-hack students on campus, the motion was defeated in favour of a working group to determine the best way to make elections less awful. This year’s Honi Soit editorial team doesn’t care because we’ve already been elected.

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