With the USU Board election only two days away, candidates have finalised their preference deals.
In a rare display of cross-factional solidarity, candidates backed by Labor factions have entered into a four-way preference deal. Labor Right candidates Atia Rahim and Georg Tamm have swapped preferences with SLS (Sydney Left) backed candidate Shannen Potter and NLS’ (Labor Left) Jack Whitney. On paper, Rahim has received the raw end of the deal, as she is the only one of the four who will not receive any preferences from other candidates.
However, Honi has heard that in order to enter the preference deal, NLS candidate Jack Whitney traded away his vote in the upcoming USU Executive election. Whitney has allegedly promised that, if elected to Board, he will vote for current Board Director Alisha Aitken-Radburn as President of the USU Executive. When Honi contacted Whitney with the allegations, he declined to comment, citing caucus confidentiality. Aitken-Radburn is rumoured to be facing off against Independent candidate Liv Ronan and Grassroots Left candidate Ed McMahon for the Presidency; if Whitney wins it is possible his vote could put Alisha over the line.
Other preference swaps are unsurprising. Liberal candidates Jennifer Zin and Kerrod Gream have agreed to preference one another.
There is also a four-way preference deal between independent candidates Michael Rees and Tiffany Alexander, and Grassroots-left candidates Lamisse Hamouda and Marco Avena. The Groots-Indies deal has been formed to allow those candidates to remain competitive against a glut of Labor candidates. It has been constructed to incentivise cooperation between all members of the deal.*
Finally, independent candidate Eden Caceda has not entered into any preference deals. Honi has heard that Caceda was locked out of preference arrangements by other candidates. However, Caceda told Honi that he was a conscientious objector, turning down several preference deals as he considered it ‘wrong for factions to support people who have no experience’.
*By varying the percentages and orders of candidates across How-To-Votes, the candidates are not incentivised to work to exclude another member of the preference deal in order to receive second preference flows.