Four candidates will vie for the 2019 SRC presidency, promising fierce competition in the September election. Three tickets are contesting the Honi Soit elections, two of which appear to be insincere. And in the council race, an upset over Liberal faction branding has seen seven tickets’ names disallowed.
Nominations for September’s annual elections closed at 4.30pm today, and Electoral Officer Karen Chau had released a draft ballot draw by 6.30pm. The outcome was uneventful compared to last year’s dramatic proceedings, which saw then-EO Paulene Graham reject all Grassroots nominations for arriving one minute late.
33 council spots are up for grabs, seven National Union of Students’ delegate roles, one presidency and the editorship of your favourite paper.
Jacky He, Chia-shuo (Alex) Yang, Adriana Malavisi and Lara Sonnenschein are now confirmed as this year’s presidential nominees. This is the first year since 2012 that four candidates will be contesting the presidential ballot.
Jacky He is an independent backed by USU Board Director and international student Hengjie Sun; both Hengjie and He have Liberal party associations. He is running with the support of Panda, a coalition of international students which is also contesting the council elections.
Yang, also an independent, managed the successful USU Board campaign of Decheng Sun earlier this year. His political leanings are unknown, but judging by Decheng’s election platform, Yang’s focus may lie on issues relevant to international students. Yang’s backing will come from Advance, an otherwise unknown grouping which is running four tickets for the council elections.
Malavisi is a member of Labor right faction Centre Unity and is this year’s SRC vice president. Malavisi will run with backing from the Independents, Unity and Labor left faction NLS. This grouping will contest the council elections under ‘Reboot’ branding.
Sonnenschein is a member of Grassroots, a broad-left campus coalition. Sonnenschein is this year’s SRC education officer and has the support of Socialist Alternative, Solidarity, SLS as well as her own faction.
This year’s Honi race will be contested by Spice for Honi, Pictures of Spider-Man for Honi, and Honey Soy. Spice for Honi consists of Annie Zhang, Jess Syed, Bob He, Joe Verity, Carrie Wen, Alan Zheng, Pranay Jha, Karishma Luthria, Nell O’Grady, Liam Thorne. The ticket will be managed by Latifa Tasipale.
Pictures of Spider-Man for Honi is understood to involve Maxim Adams, a performer in this year’s upcoming Science Revue, alongside other members of USyd’s performing arts scene. Spider-Man for Honi made an informal debut at last year’s Honi elections, which saw Adams circulate the campaign trail holding pictures of Spider-Man.
Honey Soy appears to be a one-person team, the brainchild of Harry Licence. Licence is current editor of parody rag Honey Soy and is understood to be the only member of the identically named ticket.
This year, 83 tickets will fight over 33 council seats. Labor’s Reboot-branded tickets lead the field in number, with 15 nominations.
The second largest grouping is Grassroots, with 13 tickets. Currently, the ballot shows 20 Grassroots nominations, which is three above the cap of 17. However, Honi understands this includes duplicate tickets mistakenly submitted during the online nomination process. EO Karen Chau has allegedly indicated the double-ups will be removed. There are also 12 tickets running as ‘Switch’, which is affiliated with the Grassroots faction.
In a break from tradition, the Moderate Liberals appear to have abandoned the Vision branding, which they have run on in previous years. Instead, eight ‘Liberal’ branded tickets appear on the ballot.
Honi understands there was a squabble over who would get to use the ‘Liberal’ name. Players from different Liberal factions showed up to the SRC offices, each carrying their own letter authorising their faction to put on Liberal livery: these letters allegedly were penned, variously, by the NSW party executive or the Sydney University Liberal Club.
Since the factions concerned are not working together for the elections, it is against regulations for them to run under same monniker. EO Karen Chau was therefore forced to make a ruling, and decided Dmitry Palmer had the “strongest claim to the brand”.
As Chau explained, “Palmer, has previously used the ticket name firstly in 2015, and submitted his nomination first in time.
“I allowed him to use it for his respective tickets, ‘Liberals for SRC’ and ‘Liberals for NUS’.”
All seven other Liberal-branded tickets have therefore had their names disallowed.
“All other tickets using this name will be informed that they will need to alter the name of their brand.”
This year also marks the debut of ‘Shake Up’ ticket branding, with eight tickets running under this name. These tickets appear to have ties to the moderate Liberals on campus, though according to senior Modlib George Bishop, “we have a strong team of enthusiastic students not bound by any faction keen to Shake Up the SRC”.
When it comes to ticket names, standouts include ‘Wtf is the SRC’ and ‘Ban the Socialist Alternative’.
The tickets for NUS delegate roles are, in order: Grassroots for NUS, Liberals for NUS (name disallowed), Liberals for NUS, Ban the Socialist Alternative, Reboot for NUS, Switch for NUS and Shake Up NUS.
You can cast your vote in this year’s SRC election on 19 and 20 September.
Update: This article was edited at 21.45, 15 August to correct an inaccuracy in the number of Grassroots tickets recorded. The article previously said there were 20 legitimate tickets. A further update was made at 12.17, 16 August to reflect comment made by George Bishop.