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Wom*n’s Officer election marred with controversy

The position of Wom*n’s Officer may be contested at the 19 October SRC representatives elect meeting, despite the SRC traditionally voting in the candidates preselected by the Wom*n’s Collective. In recent history, the position has never been contested at the representatives elect meeting. The Wom*n’s Collective will hold its pre-selection on 17 October, whereby any…

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The position of Wom*n’s Officer may be contested at the 19 October SRC representatives elect meeting, despite the SRC traditionally voting in the candidates preselected by the Wom*n’s Collective.

In recent history, the position has never been contested at the representatives elect meeting. The Wom*n’s Collective will hold its pre-selection on 17 October, whereby any non cis-male member of the collective that has attended two or more meetings or events over the course of the year, can nominate for election.

Andrea Zephyr, a member of Student Unity (Labor Right), may break the collective’s autonomy by directly nominating for election at Wednesday’s meeting.

“It’s really important for the Wom*n’s Collective to have autonomy over selection of officers, as people in the collective are best positioned to decide who would make an effective Wom*n’s Officer,” current SRC Wom*n’s Officer, Anna Hush, said.

Zephyr did not explicitly confirm her nomination, however said “the Wom*n’s Collective in 2016 has been a hostile environment to transgender women, and whilst I would run to fix this, I’m not sure if this is the best decision.”

Katie Thorburn has confirmed she will be running in the pre-selection, and is rumoured to be running with Imogen Grant. Zephyr’s decision to bypass the collective’s preselection would be based on fear of “personal safety” due to the Wom*n’s Collective allowing “people who aren’t women to vote and run for the position”.

A direct election of Zephyr by the SRC would echo last year’s SRC representatives elect meeting, when Sydney Labor Students member Michele Picone breached the Environment Collective’s autonomy to become an SRC Environment Officer instead of a preselected candidate.

Hush also raise concerns that “many councillors fall outside the autonomy requirements of the collective, and we believe it is inappropriate for men to choose the Wom*n’s Officers.”

The Wom*n’s Officers are paid $12 000 by the SRC when splitting the position between two people, as is customary.