USyd votes: Donohoe and Jakovac to contest presidency, two tickets seek editorship

Noms are in. Here's the lay of the land.

Editors Pranay Jha and Liam Thorne are not involved in the 2019 coverage of the Honi Soit, NUS and SRC elections.

Noms are in. Here’s the lay of the land: As projected, this year’s presidency will be contested by Josie Jakovac (Moderate Liberal) and Liam Donohoe (Grassroots) while two tickets will seek the editorship of this humble masthead. Meanwhile, the Council race will be contested by 79 tickets. Nominations closed at 4:30pm this afternoon absent the last-minute nominations drama that plagued Grassroots back in 2017


Jakovac will be backed by a joint Panda and Liberal line-up. Her opponent, Donohoe, has garnered support from both the Labor Left (NLS) and Labor Right (Unity) camps as well as an entente of broad left, including the Socialist Alternative (SAlt) and Switch.

Donohoe — a fourth year BA student — was on the SRC General Executive in 2017 and served as an editor of this rag last year. Donohoe is known in left-wing circles as a Grassroots headkicker whose role has extended to managing several SRC campaigns, including Lara Sonnenschein’s unsuccessful Grassroots campaign for President last year. Donohoe is also well known amongst USU Debating Society circles, and it is possible that a bulk of his voters may be drawn from this base. Donohoe is not a member of any political party.

Jakovac — a second year LLB student who is also a resident of the Women’s College — is currently on the SRC General Executive, elected on the Shake Up Law ticket in 2018, for which she provided no CV to Honi. Her election promises included “Expand PASS for more law subjects,” and “Lobbying for anti-corruption watchdogs.” Since then, Jakovac has interned with Republican Senator Jim Inhofe and Liberal MP for Berowra Julian Leeser. Inhofe has been cited by the US Congress website, GovTrack, as “the most conservative member of both the House and Senate” and Leeser has voted strongly against increased funding for university education.

Jakovac’s base of support will be emphatically right wing, in part because of her links to the Conservative Club and previous Liberal-aligned USU campaigns including President of the Mosman Young Liberals Lachlan Finch (“Forward for Finch”) and Liberal branch member Cady Brown (“Cady Can”).

The last time two candidates contested the presidency was 2016 between Stand Up’s Isabella Brook (NLS) and Power’s Georgia Mantle (Grassroots). Since then, international student participation in campus politics has solidified and that may prove decisive this year.

Honi Soit

Two contenders — FIT for Honi and CREAM for HONI — are set to battle it out for yours truly’s jobs.

Cream’s ten person ticket is made up of, in alphabetical order: JP Baladi (Moderate Liberal), Emma Goldrick (Greens), Ben Hewitt, Skylar Fu (Panda), Austen Hunt (Greens), Amy Mifsud, Andrew Moore, Brooke Salzmann (ALP), Kate Scott and Anthony Segaert. 
Cream is running on white and pink. They have also yet to confirm a campaign manager although Honi understands USU Vice President Lachlan Finch (Moderate-Liberal) is involved.

No one on Cream has ever written for Honi. This makes Cream an outlier, even amongst recent anti-establishment tickets. 2017’s Mint had two contributors to Honi and 2016’s Time had four. Even last year’s widely-regarded joke ticket, Pictures of Spiderman for Honi, had one contributor. 

That said, Cream looks set to follow in the vein of Time and Mint by seeking to capture political diversity and tap into as many campus bases as possible. To this end, Cream boasts links to the Sydney Arts Students Society (SASS), the Evangelical Union, the Conservative Club, the China Development Society (CDS), and newly established organisation, USyd Women.

“We have loads of experience but that’s all Im [sic] willing to say,” Baladi told Honi. 

Indeed, Cream’s writing experience is primarily sourced from the USU’s Pulp Media thanks to Goldrick and Hunt. They also have bylines in Dissent, the USyd Women Handbook, Now Magazine and Trad Magazine. Segaert wrote for the Sydney Morning Herald in high school.

Politically diverse tickets have been historically unsuccessful at the polls, if they’ve made it that far. In 2016, Pro-College ticket Time narrowly lost at the polls to Wet. In 2017, Mint disbanded and informally withdrew from the election after one member posted homophobic material on Facebook, splintering the ticket as a result of political infighting. Both Mint and Time were marketed as teams with political and intellectual diversity because they included members from both sides of the political spectrum. 

Fit are running with eleven, many of whom are aligned with the broad left. They will be managed by current Sydney University Law Society (SULS) Publications Officer Jeffrey Khoo and SRC Global Solidarity Officer Ella Finlay (Switch). Fit’s colours remain unconfirmed at this stage.

They are, in alphabetical order: Nina Dillon-Britton (Grassroots), Matthew Forbes, Zhiquan Gan (ALP), Rameen Hayat Malik, Grace Johnson, Momoko Metham, Lei Yao (Qianyu Shao), Lara Sonnenschein (Grassroots), Ranuka Tandan, Chuyi Wang and Madeline Ward (Grassroots aligned). Notably, Ward is a current editor of fellow uni publication, Pulp and Metham is a general editor of the Arts Students’ Journal ARNA. This is the second Honi run for Dillon-Britton, who was part of Sin’s failed bid in 2016. 

Fit has decided to run with eleven, with Sonnenschein — who is on exchange in semester 2 — not on the ballot.

Also on the ticket’s resumé are tenures in the halls of student institutions including co-Education Officer (2018), co-Sexual Harassment Officer (2017), co-General Secretary (2018), co-Women’s Officer (2018), Director for Student Publications (2017) as well as Editor in Chief of the SULS Race Journal (2019) and links to local community programs such as FBi Radio and Sydney Writers’ Festival.

Unlike Cream, all members of Fit have contributed to Honi. Other bylines include The Guardian, Pulp, Crikey, Overland, Archer, ARNA Literary Journal and the Sydney Morning Herald.

International students have been increasingly involved in all of the campus’ political institutions since 2016 and Honi has proved no exception with the introduction of a weekly multilingual section and WeChat platform this year. Cream includes Skylar Fu, who is aligned with Panda and CDS while Fit has two international students: Qianyu Shao who has previously campaigned for pan-Asian coalition, Advance, and Zhiquan Gan (ALP).

Only Cream has an active SRC councillor in JP Baladi, elected on the Shake Up for Arts platform in 2018. On Fit, both Sonnenschein and Ward resigned from their council positions before this election.


For the first time ever, 35 seats are up for grabs and 79 tickets will contest the election’s main attraction, down from 83 last year. The largest bloc is Switch with 16 tickets, followed by Grassroots at 12.

The main brands are, in alphabetical order: Boost (Moderate Liberal), Grassroots, Left Action (SAlt), Panda, Pro-Team (Advance), Switch, Unite (Labor Right/Unity) and Pump (Labor Left/NLS). They are joined by a smorgasbord of other campaigns including “Legacy,” fan favourites “Free Parking,” Liberal Club-aligned “Privatise the SRC,” “Cupcake for Commerce,” “Equality for SRC” as well as SLS-brainchild “Legalise it.”

Jakovac is running under “Boost” and the colour purple, continuing an ongoing trend of Liberals departing from overt Liberal branding and focussing on the delivery of student services and faculty-based representation. Boost was last used by successful presidential campaign of Chloe Smith (NLS) back in 2015. 

Boost will be managed by Julia Kokic and Laura Glase. Both Kokic and Glase are members of the Liberal Party. Boost will field a total of 7 tickets. Boost’s international student allies, Panda, will run 9 tickets.

Donohoe’s campaign is being run under “Grassroots” and the colour green, as is traditional for the faction. The Grassroots campaign is being managed by Liam Thorne (Grassroots). 

Grassroots-adjacents, Switch, will be managed by Prudence Wilkins-Wheat. Together, Grassroots and Switch will field a total of 31 tickets focussing on broader political agendas including economic justice and equity.

3 of those tickets will not carry any Switch or Grassroots branding. They include: “Smash Islamaphobia,” “Fuck Gentrification,” and “Wentworth must fall.”

Labor’s presence in the election is much smaller. NLS has put together 3 tickets, and Unity, 5.

Pan-Asian coalition Advance, who supported Decheng (Clement) Sun’s successful USU campaign , and unsuccessful presidential candidate Alex Yang last year, has rebranded to “Pro-Team”, reportedly short for “progressive team.” Pro-team will field two tickets.

Incumbent Honorary Secretary of the USU Decheng (Clement) Sun is behind “Bubble Tea Gangstar.” Making a return from 2018 are censured councillor Zac O’Farrell’s Ban the Socialist Alternative and Colleges for SRC, which previously elected James Ardouin (Mod-Lib). Ardouin lost to Jakovac in a bid to secure preselection from campus Liberals for President earlier this year.

National Union of Students (NUS)

There are 7 delegate positions on the table. 9 tickets, up from 7 last year, will compete for them. Here are the NUS tickets in alphabetical order: Activist Strikeback (Solidarity-aligned), Ban OLEs for NUS; Boost for NUS; Equality in NUS; Grassroots for NUS; Pro-Team for NUS, Pump for NUS, Switch for NUS and Unite for NUS.

You can cast your vote on campus between the 24th and 26th of September.

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