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Left bloc supermajority holds off Liberals in quiet RepsElect

An uneventful night but a functioning democracy

RepsElect wrap-up Graphic by Amelia Mertha

In what proved a major disappointment for drama-thirsty stupol observers nationwide, tonight’s inaugural meeting of the 92nd Students’ Representative Council (SRC) completed the notorious 29-point agenda at the tick of midnight.

Watch the live feed here or look at the snaps from the night here.

The night was remarkably free of the dramas and scandals which have plagued previous meetings. 

The Switchroots coalition were the big factional winners on the night, sweeping up around 25 office-bearer positions. Close behind them followed Panda — an eleventh hour addition to the left bloc’s supermajority — with 16 positions, all without attached stipends. 

President-elect Liam Donohoe’s handshake with Unity, NLS, Cupcake and Pro-Team solidified a “supermajority” alongside Grassroots and Switch.

With 30 councillors voting together as a bloc, the left supermajority held off Moderate Liberal grouping, Boost, locking them out of all office-bearer positions.

“I cannot wait to deliver on our election promises and realise a campus which—through our intelligent service provision—is not only easier and more accessible for students, but also able to take up the fight for students and oppressed groups across the world with whom we share natural solidarity,” Donohoe told Honi after the meeting.

“We will fight the Liberal government even harder without their lackeys undermining our efforts from within.”  

The meeting got off to a shaky start with the New Law Seminar Room 104 reaching capacity early, leaving over 25 enthusiastic observers locked out from the meeting, including several USU board directors. 

At times, senior factional headkickers, including Liam Thomas (Unity) were seen on the phone with people outside the room, including 2019 General Secretary Niamh Callinan. 

Whilst relatively uneventful, the night still featured some minor scandals. 

Laws and stuff

The election of General Secretaries was the subject of significant delay. The Chair of Standing Legal had earlier made a ruling that the 50% affirmative action ruling applied to committees as well. This meant that the Sydney Legal Service Board, which is comprised of the President, Vice-Presidents and General Secretaries, had to have a 50% representation of non cis-men. At that stage, the President and Vice-Presidents had already been elected, and for affirmative action to be upheld, the two General Secretary positions would need to go to two non cis-men. This would threaten the deal reached by the majority bloc.

After two ten-minute adjournments, the current Executive put through a circular that overruled the Chair of Standing Legal’s interpretation. The meeting then progressed and Abbey Shi (Pro-Team) and Liam Thomas (Unity) were elected as General Secretaries, as negotiated by the majority bloc.

James Ardouin (Mod-Lib) attempted to put forward a recision motion on the Executive’s circular, but this did not appear to be successful. 

Ardouin continued to challenge the left bloc’s wins throughout the night, challenging the validity of the votes for the five General Executive positions. He argued that votes which did not state the names of all candidates should be invalid. EO Casper Lu overruled Ardouin, but his decision is subject to confirmation from the Chair of Standing Legal. The five General Executives are therefore provisionally elected for the moment. 

A collective rolled

The Intercollegiate Collective was rolled tonight. Kiran Gupta, Joseph Yang, Charlotte Ainsworth and Xuan Li were elected as College Officers, locking out the preselected conveners of the Intercollegiate Collective, Annabel de Mestre and Nicholas Comino.

“It’s a bit hypocritical that other factions have gone on so long about collective autonomy and now we’re being rolled,” said James Ardouin (Mod-Lib).

Intercol aside, preselected members of the collectives otherwise obtained positions with little opposition. 

Fear no more the heat o’ the sun

The biggest threat to the councillors tonight came not from fire alarms, or power outages, but the stifling heat and humidity which persisted, causing temperatures to peak around 31 degrees when the meeting closed at midnight. 

Pleas for air-conditioning were unheard and enthusiasm amongst councillors noticeably declined as the night drew on, with procedural motions gradually nullifying speaking time to zero. 

Campus Security’s presence was benign in stark contrast to last year’s meetings which saw multiple security staff enforce room restrictions and monitor the proceedings on the student dime. 

“This is the most boring RepsElect ever,” remarked veteran hack Will Edwards (NLS), who has attended four RepsElects.

“You need to lift those numbers,” Cameron Caccamo — who is 26 years young — replied.

The antics did not end there. Earlier in the night, Sydney Morning Herald journalist and 2012 editor of this rag, Michael Koziol, was kicked out of the room. 

“I want to stay,” Koziol was heard to have said. But alas, he was no undergraduate and leave the room he did. 

The lights were switched off multiple times to the ire of EO Casper Lu, deputy EO Cameron Caccamo and Secretary to Council Julia Robins. 

They were heard screaming “stop leaning on the lights” at various points throughout the night, and threatened to remove people from the room. 

The drama with the lights gave some people eerie flashbacks to RepsElect 2015, where the lights were completely cut and the police were called.

And that’s all folks. Go to bed.

Here are your 2019 SRC office-bearers and a reminder of what they get paid:

Vice-Presidents — Charlotte Bullock (Unity) & Felix Faber (NLS). Close to $13,000 each.

General Secretaries — Abbey Shi (Advance/Pro-team) & Liam Thomas (Unity). Close to $13,000 each.

Education Officers — Jack Mansell (SAlt) & Jazzlyn Breen (Grassroots). Close to $13,000 each.

General Executive — Swapnik Sanagavarapu (Grassroots), Vivienne Goodes (NLS), Isla Mowbray (Switch), Sonia Gao (Panda) & Ashley Li (Panda). [Elected provisionally]

Women’s Officers — Vivienne Guo (Grassroots) & Ellie Wilson (Grassroots). Close to $12,000 each. 

Welfare Officers — Layla Mkh (Grassroots) & Yilun Ma (Panda), Madeleine Clarke (SAlt) & Charlotte Ainsworth (Unity).

Ethnocultural Officers — Altay Hagrebet (Grassroots) &  Kedar Maddali (Grassroots), Anie Kandya (Grassroots) & Virginia Meng (Panda)

Indigenous Officers — Roisin Murphy (NLS), one vacancy

International Student Officers — Mengfan (Karen) Ji (Advance/Pro-Team) & Nicole (Ziying) Huang (Panda), Moses Liu (Panda) & Kigen Mera (Advance/Pro-Team)

Environment Officers — Shani Patel (Switch) & Sofi Nicholson (Solidarity), Prudence Wilkins-Wheat (Switch) & Lilian Campbell (SAlt)

Global Solidarity Officers — Holly Hayne (SAlt) & Kelly Chen (Cupcake), Anne Zhao (Panda) & Shiyin Wei (Panda)

Intercampus Officers — Kristina Sergi (Switch) & Joanna Sheng (Panda), Michael Kallidis (Switch) & Ethan Zhai (Panda)

Sexual Harassment Officers — Courtney Daley (NLS) & Kira Xu (Panda), Kimberly Dibben (unaligned) & Ruby Lotz (NLS)

Queer Officers — Paola Ayre (Grassroots) & Priya Gupta (Switch), Oliver Mackie Pawson (unaligned)

Disabilities and Carers Officers — Steff Leinasars (unaligned), Margot Beavon-Collin (unaligned) & Charlotte Lim (unaligned)

Mature Age Student Officers — Vinil Kumar (SAlt) and Peter Burrell-Sander (Grassroots)

Interfaith Officers — Susie Wang (Switch) & Wilson Huang (Switch), one vacancy

Social Justice Officers — Deaglan Godwin (SAlt), Himath Siriniwasa (Grassroots), Angelina Gu (Unity) and Shuyu Li (Panda)

Refugee Rights Officers — Alex Mcleay (Grassroots) and Cooper Forsyth (Solidarity)

Residential Colleges Officers — Charlotte Ainsworth (Unity) & Xuan Li (Panda), Joseph Yang (Panda) & Kiran Gupta (Switch)

Student Housing Officers — Klementine Burrell-Sander (Grassroots) and Julie Zhang (Panda)

Chair of Standing Legal — Janek Drevikovsky (Switch)

Directors of Student Publications — Roisin Murphy (NLS), Peiqing Fan (Panda), Nina Mountford (NLS), Maia Edge, Max Vishney (Switch), Mikaela Pappou (NLS)

Intercampus Committee — two vacancies

Standing Legal Committee — Aayush Bhattacharya (Grassroots), one vacancy