Another month, another moment to witness democracy in action! In the lush ABS building with chargers, air conditioning, and student politicians (less lush) Honi Soit strapped in to listen in to the 95th SRC in June.
Reports and Elections:
It was a month of activism and action for the SRC Office Bearers — the hour late start, a testament to that, as quorum was unable to be reached until many returned from the launch of the Students Against Placement Poverty Campaign.
There was a rare showing of cohesion among the left, with many officer bearers mentioning their attendance at the NUS Protest Against the Budget in Canberra, and building support for the June 17th Get a Room Rally, where activists demanded further action from the government to alleviate the housing crisis. Many also attended the protest at 82 Wentworth Park Road, which contains 17 public housing units, to protest its demolition.
Vice President Dan Bowron (Unity) noted in the VP report that Food Hub, a service that provides food to students struggling financially, will be open between 10am-2pm every weekday and has been permanently moved to level three of the Wentworth Building outside Laneway Café. It was only one year ago that FoodHub was shelved.
Jamie Bridge and Angus McFadden were elected as incoming Queer Officers. Bridge, in their introductory speech, stated “I am not a part of any faction or party so am open to collaboration among all progressive groups.”
Riki Scanlan was elected as Electoral Officer.
Deglan Godwin (SAlt), during his Global Solidarity report, spoke about the Port Kembla movement to prevent the town being used as a nuclear submarine base as a part of the AUKUS deal. He used his speech to ask how we are going to build an anti-war movement and mentioned that it was promising to see people within the Labor Party come out strongly against the AUKUS deal.
Satvik Sharma (Liberal), in another attempt at humour that bore no laughs, read out an ode to Lockheed Martin, written by ChatGPT, a company that is currently being sued by Yeminis for its role in war crimes.
Rose Donnelly (NLS) later directly responded to Sharma, arguing that war isn’t a joke, and that “degrees shouldn’t be structured to support the military”. She then pointed to USyd’s Chancellor and Thales board member, Belinda Hutchinson, as someone who benefits from war, and added that “we don’t pay to go to uni to line the pockets of the military-industrial complex.” The University has continued their partnership with the weapons manufacturer, despite ongoing criticisms.
War? What is it good for? Absolutely nothing
The first motion saw the SRC debate the University’s role in AUKUS, and fight against the drive to war in the Asia-Pacific region.
Deglan Godwin (SAlt) stated that “politicians are frothing at the mouth to start a war” and during this time, students must remember “who our enemies and allies are” with him noting that “university management are our enemies”.
Ishbel Dunsmore (Groots) linked the present-day fight against AUKUS to students’ ongoing history of opposing war, stating that “students don’t want war and they should not have any part in the drive to war.”
Kiera Garland (SAlt) called into question the purpose of tertiary education institutions – arguing that their focus has moved to profits, instead of educating. They stated that “universities around Australia are run like corporations” and compared Mark Scott to a CEO. She also pointed to the budget adding the 4000 university places reserved to support the AUKUS deal, demonstrates the complicity of universities in the government’s drive to war. Yasmine Johnson (SAlt), mentioned that this is “putting a nuclear target on the back of Australia”.
Cooper Gannon (Liberal) argued against the motion, proposing a new OLE he called “BOMB1001” and stating that the Department of Defence should “not just recruit at O-Week but every week.”
Grace Porter (Unity) stated that the AUKUS deal harks back to “Hawkish Cold War policy” and “puts at risk the welfare and lives of Australians”. Porter continued that “improving access to Medicare and disaster relief” would be a better use of the taxpayer dollar.
The motion carried, and students maintained their legacy of opposing war.
Fagi Soit to be Reprinted
After hundreds of copies of Queer Honi were stolen, and thrown away, in an apparent targeted attack, the Queer Action Collective (QuAC) put forth a motion requesting funding from the SRC to reprint a pullout in Semester Two.
Jamie Bridge argued that “people have been emboldened by an extremely transphobic environment” and that to reprint Fagi Soit sends the message that bigots will not win. Harrison Brennan (Groots) said that this attack demonstrates that the far right is still here, on and off campus, and argued that reprinting Fagi Soit ensures that the hard work of activists and queer people on campus is not wasted.
Queer Officer Yasmin Andrews highlighted the importance of Queer Honi as a place free of commodification, a space to present an uncurated version of queer existence. They also mentioned that queer collectives at other universities have reached out, with readers expressing the joy they had found in the edition. Jack Scanlan (NLS) echoed this message, stating that “hate is beaten by love and solidarity”.
The motion passed with overwhelming support, however, all Liberals abstained.
Minns Government: stop privatising public housing
Drawing attention to the recent decision by the Minns government to privatise and redevelop the Waterloo South public housing estate, the Keep Private Hands Off Waterloo motion sought to oppose this government decision.
Ella Haid (SAlt) argued that the “city should not be a ghetto for the rich” and raised awareness of the “almost 2500 people” who are housed in the area, and “do not want this land to be redeveloped”.
Harrison Brennan (Groots) argued that “these houses do not need demolition, they need repairs and renovation” and stated that the Labor government should take housing more seriously. Simon Upitis (SAlt) echoed these sentiments, arguing that “fuck poor people” is the policy being facilitated by Labor in removing “thousands of people from their homes in the city.” They continued that Labor has tied housing, a human right, to the performance of the stock market.
Henri Collyer (NLS) spoke about the housing crisis stating that it “has left many people unable to afford houses that they could have afforded 20 years ago”. Amy Lamont (SAlt) drew attention to the “60,000 people on public housing waiting lists” in NSW alone.
After the Liberals left the room (making it just past the threshold of the door, before peering in through the window) a quorum count was ordered before the Keep Private Hands Off Waterloo motion could go to a vote.
A policy wonk by the name of Jack Scanlan (NLS) stood up, clarifying that the vote must proceed before quorum was counted. The “Keep Private Hands off Waterloo” motion passed, and the most pathetic entourage of young Libs re-entered the room — meaning that unfortunately quorum was reached, and no editors could go home.
Peter Dutton IS a racist (according to USyd’s SRC — we know you love defamation cases mr former cop)
The final motion of the evening saw the SRC debate if Peter Dutton is racist.
Maddie Clark (SAlt) stated that students must “completely oppose the racist dog whistling” that Dutton, and the Liberal party broadly, have used throughout the No campaign against the Voice to Parliament. Lia Perkins (Groots), after handing over the chair to Jasmine Donnelly, also spoke about the Voice Referendum, labelling “the No campaign that the Liberals are running” as a “racist campaign” and stated that “the SRC needs to be left-wing” and “needs to fight for students.”
Satvik Sharma (Liberal) argued that “stopping the boats was a good thing that saved lives”, and Bryson Constable (Colleges) added that this policy “was a Labor Party policy”. Amelie Roediger (Switch) mentioned that refugee policy has historically “been terrible on both sides of government”.
Jordan Anderson (Switch) drew attention to the 2022 election, critiquing “Liberal headquarters [for thinking it] appropriate to send out a mass text saying that a refugee boat was stopped” on the day of the election, and criticising the Coalition for believing that “would benefit their party” at the polls.
The motion passed.
With that, some poetry was found at last, as the 95th SRC disappeared into the night, leaving behind three editors desperate for sleep, one bag of Guzmen y Gomez rubbish, a whiff of BO, and a puff of Strawberry Kiwi Ice.