USU Board Candidate Profile 2023: Bryson Constable
Honi’s profile and interview with 2023 USU Board candidate Bryson Constable.
Slogan: Go Bold, Go Bryson
Quiz score: 72%
Favourite USU Outlet: Courtyard
A self-described classical Liberal, Bryson Constable is running an “apolitical” campaign with the intentions to separate the USU Board from political intervention. He identifies with the “broad church” of the Liberal Party, with a certain love for “turquoise” (not to be confused with teal).
Despite the political ambiguity of his campaign, Constable fared decently in the quiz at a score of 72%, with some institutional knowledge about the USU’s executive decisions, the SRC, and federal politics.
He is currently an SRC Councillor with Colleges for SRC, an affiliate of the national Liberal Party, a member of the Conservative Club, and an ex-officio campaigns manager of the Liberal Club. While his political experience came in handy answering questions about Voluntary Student Unionism, HECS indexation and youth allowance, he lacked insight on the Indigenous Voice to Parliament Referendum, the current SRC Women’s Officers, and members of the National Tertiary Education Union.
Constable’s policies can be described as ambitious yet one-dimensional. His policy mentions renovating Manning, a recurring policy over the years, but did not mention the financial intricacies, details about the renovation, or tangible pathways to make this work. When asked about whether the money required to renovate Manning and introduce the construction of more “gazebos, barbeques and public spaces” would be better spent on expanding affordability options for students amidst the cost of living crisis, Constable said that the two were “not mutually exclusive” and that the renovations would “pay dividends.”
When asked how he would justify investing student money into the residential colleges, given that the colleges already possess a large amount of wealth and house residents who are generally privileged, Constable said that this was a “false narrative,” that it would be a “tiny investment” and that the money will “come back to the University.”
Constable continually argued that politics and the USU “do not go hand in hand,” stressing the USU’s role as a service provider. When asked whether politics should play a role in determining USU corporate partnerships, Constable said that his job would not be to “comment on the validity” of claims against exploitative companies but he did admit there was a threshold where the USU should “think, first and foremost: are they war criminals?” He elaborated to say that he would weigh up the moral considerations of partnering with exploitative companies, alongside the question of whether a boycott of these companies would “drastically affect service provision.” He added that he thought claims that the USU is not transparent enough are “overblown.”
Constable has significant backing among campus Liberals and the colleges, with a decent quiz score and an interview that emphasised the depoliticisation of the Board. While his campaign may please conservative students, students will have to judge whether his extensive construction plans and pledges to increase funding for college events are worth the price in the midst of a cost of living crisis.