With nominations having closed on Wednesday for the 2014 SRC and Honi Soit elections, this week we bring you a selection of articles on student politics. The best and the worst of human nature is described below (but very rarely the best because there is no best in student politics).
Illustration by Julia Zhu Wei.
In this investigative feature, Michael Rees and Justin Pen collect leaked emails and hours of interviews to expose the factional in-fighting of the Young Liberals. It’s rare that Honi gets its hands on original data that pulls the mask from future front-benchers, and in this piece, Rees and Pen do just that.
Allegedly in order to draw bodies to the room, Dore set up a bar tab at Manning an hour before the meeting. “We will primarily be trying to get it [Small Government Society] knocked out through C&S Committee, but we can’t take the risk that it will go through so we need the numbers,” Dore wrote. “The Left are very confident that they have the numbers, and so every person that we can possibly bring will be useful.”
The operation was absolutely covert. The email contains the caveat: “Importantly; we need them to think we’re not bringing people along.” Earlier that year in May, Dore wrote a letter to Honi outlining his position on stacking. “We [SULC] know from first-hand experience how damaging stacking is,” he wrote. “We have zero tolerance of such activities, and I will revoke the membership of any person found to be complicit in such an act.”
2. UniGate Week 4 – More SRC & Honi Soit shenanigans, cheaper cider, Bob Carr, and USU supports the strike
A long-running tradition of Honi’s student politics coverage has been the semi-slanderous section in the paper devoted to the subject. This year it is The Manning Files, last year UniGate, the year before that HoniLeaks. Here, a classic of a genre, in which biting, acerbic writing is coupled with some pretty damning documentary evidence.
When we asked him if he told his caucus that he would use Honi to recruit for SLS, Stratton told us it was “totally untrue”. When he acknowledged he was no longer on the ticket, he referred to it as “the Indie ticket”, not the “Labor” ticket. We’re not sure how he can hear with all the cognitive dissonance ringing in his ears.
NLS held sway over USyd student politics for more than a decade, beating progressives and independents and trots and Liberals to hold the SRC presidency year after year. Then, early last year, a large section of their caucus – including then-SRC President David Pink – split from NLS. They formed Sydney Labor Students, leaving behind a husk of a political force and ushering in a short-lived era of an occasionally principled but more often inconsequential Labor faction on campus.
The Sydney University Branch of National Labor Students (NLS) has voted to break relations from its parent organisation and disaffiliate from the NLS national network…
Honi Soit has been given an exclusive and extraordinary list of grievances by SLS detailing their reasons for splitting from NLS.
Student politics isn’t confined to A-frames and how-to-votes, factions and elections. It is also about how student organisations are run. In 2013, an attempt by the USU to sack it’s Vice-President went to the NSW Supreme Court. Here, last year’s editors condemn the motion to remove VP Tom Raue from USU Board.
As editors of the student newspaper, we believe in transparency and openness. If the USU reacts to the leaking of one sentence that causes it no harm but has significant public interest by firing its own Vice President, that will foster a culture of secrecy and fear. It will significantly dampen the chances that other student representatives will tell Honi information that you deserve to know.
What sort of university do you want to attend?
What sort of students do you want to represent you?
Finally, an eloquent, humorous reminder that the vast majority of student politics is hopeless and meaningless and absurd.
Normally my instinct would be to accept this bi-annual nonsense as one of the necessary evils of fostering a vibrant and competitive democratic culture, that our best and brightest may walk tall and live free etc etc. Normally – but no longer. It’s my fourth time round and I’m tired of this shit.
Illustration by Julia Zhu Wei.