Controversy surrounds Adelaide University Union’s online elections

Cameron Caccamo reports on cross-campus hackery

Even through this long election season at USYD, we should be thankful that it produces Union Boards that seem to work together rather well. This, unfortunately, can no longer be said for the Adelaide University Union, which on the May 6 saw an Executive member of their Union Board get “rolled”.
On Dit, the student magazine of Adelaide University, live-tweeted the Board Meeting; where a vote to send their own Union Board Elections online quickly degenerated into a vote on the future of Lucy Small-Pearce, one of the five Executive Members of the Board. Right-leaning members of Board have pushed for online elections, similar to our own Senate elections. The General Manager of the Union expressed concerns about the short time-frame they were working with – ten and a half weeks – and the relative inexperience of staff with any new electoral system. This was largely ignored, as a motion to accept online elections won six votes to four. It has since been confirmed that there is not enough time for the Adelaide University Council – the equivalent of our Senate – to process this.

The real drama was yet to come, however. The pro-online election coalition led by Robert Katsambis, who ran on a  Liberal ticket, declared no confidence in Small-Pearce, an independent, to carry out the will of the Board on Executive, as she voted against taking elections online.  Backed by two Unity (Labor right) and two International Student Board directors, a moderate Liberal, Charlotte Thomas, took the Executive position. Small-Pearce retains her position as a Board member, however, while NLS (Labor left) Executives Deanna Taylor, President, and Sarah Swan retain their positions.

This move goes beyond just having online elections – it is seen as an attempt by this coalition to have a majority on Executive to push their own agenda, even if it is at odds with the professional advice given to the Board. Honi Soit will follow the continuing drama, if only to remind everyone of how good we have it.


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