A third attempt at electing office bearers of the 2019 SRC has failed without any positions being filled. The meeting lapsed after Councillor Zac O’Farrell (Ban the Socialist Alternative) signed in but refused to enter the room, denying Council quorum.
Sixteen councillors were unable to attend tonight’s meeting, meaning that the attendance of all seventeen remaining councillors was required to meet quorum. Of these seventeen, Honi understands at least one travelled interstate in order to attend the meeting.
At the time of O’Farrell’s refusal to enter the room, only one additional councillor was needed to initiate the meeting.
In last minute discussions, senior members of the majority bloc, including President Jacky He (Panda), Adriana Malavisi (Labor Right/Unity) and Vice President Dane Luo (Shake Up) were spotted outside the meeting room with O’Farrell. Attempts at persuading the councillor to enter the meeting were fraught. O’Farrell was subsequently seen leaving ABS altogether to have a drink at the Royal.
He, Malavisi and Luo told Honi that no SRC positions were offered in exchange for O’Farrell’s attendance at the meeting, but did not offer further comment.
In the 2018 SRC elections, O’Farrell, who is affiliated with the soft right faction of the Liberal Party, ran on a platform which claimed amongst other things, that “the socialist side of politics [has] an aversion to hard work.” Councillor Lily Campbell, a member of the Socialist Alternative, was not in attendance tonight due to a Socialist Alternative branch meeting, instead choosing to proxy her vote to Vinil Kumar (SAlt).
In addition to the security arrangements introduced at RepsElect 2, councillors and observers entering tonight’s meeting were required to wear name tags and faced bag checks by Campus Security upon entering the room. A visible security presence remained in the room during the entire meeting. Honi was originally informed that tonight’s security arrangements cost the SRC in the area of $2,000. However, this figure may have been subsequently waived with no costs ultimately borne by the SRC.
The failure of tonight’s meeting means that the SRC will enter 2019 with the vast majority of office bearer positions unfilled, including the position of Wom*n’s Officer, which has been mired in controversy. No positions have been elected since RepsElect 1 in early November. Despite this, preselected Wom*n’s Officers Jazz Breen and Layla Mkh have been continuing the work of the Wom*n’s Collective.
Council was also unable to consider the resignation of Councillor Madeline Ward (Grassroots) to Layla Mkh (Grassroots). Ward is also one of the incoming editors of Pulp for 2019.
At the conclusion of the meeting, Returning Officer Karen Chau warned councillors of the implications of the ongoing disruption to the allocation of Student Services and Amenities Fees. The fees are negotiated between the SRC and the University and comprise the vast majority of the SRC’s funding.
“We really need to think about how much we are pushing the friendship in terms of where we are getting our resources from,” Chau said.
RepsElect 4 will now be held next year, continuing the woes which have plagued Jacky He’s presidency. The meeting will likely occur in January 2019, according to Secretary to Council Cameron Caccamo.
Honi’s live blog of the evening can be viewed here.
This article was amended at 10:00pm on 20 December 2018 to reflect new information relating to the security fees incurred by the SRC.