USU Board candidates 2020: Belinda Thomas
Honi's profile and full interview with 2020 USU Board candidate Belinda Thomas.
Slogan: ‘Bring on Belinda’.
Quiz score: 84%.
Housewives tagline: ‘In the politics of friendship, I win the popular vote’.
Scoring the highest in our quiz, Belinda Thomas certainly has the requisite institutional knowledge to be a board director. Indeed, this is the third year in a row that the Unity candidate has scored the highest, as she follows in the footsteps of failed 2019 Unity candidate Tom Manousaridis and 2018 candidate and current USU President, Connor Wherrett.
However, whilst Thomas has done her study, when interviewed her positions came off as unclear, and sometimes contradictory. Thomas splashed onto the scene at the beginning of the year with a Change.org petition to save Manning Bar following the cessation of day trade at the venue. However, Thomas now agrees with the Board’s position on closing the bar, describing the petition as “a moment of passion.”
Further, when questioned on her favourite candidate she replied with SASS President, Nick Rigby (Moderate Liberal). Whilst perhaps unsurprising at first, given Thomas is Secretary of the society and the two work closely together, when pressed for her least favourite candidate she gestured to having disagreements with Liberal candidates and eventually agreed when we asked whether that would make her least favourite candidate Ben Hines. When pushed on this ideological inconsistency, Thomas invoked her “friendship” with Rigby.
Ideological inconsistency was a common theme in Thomas’ interview. Belinda believes that the USU should refrain from “attacking” the University, and thinks that the USU should focus on supporting its members instead. This is an interesting position from someone that, in the same interview, said that the University had “failed so many students over and over again.” When pushed on this stance, Belinda said that criticism was okay, but that it was ultimately the role of the SRC.
The special attention given to the Conservatorium in Belinda’s policy statement distinguishes her from other candidates, and she explicitly addresses the “cookie cutter” policies that have been put forward by previous campaigns. Despite this, she has only two clear policies that relate to the Con — lobbying the University for an inter-campus shuttle bus, and increasing performance opportunities for Conservatorium students. Such a lack of policy seems a strange move for someone styling themselves as a Con candidate.
On the whole, Belinda Thomas’ policies are uninspiring. Though she’s clearly done her research, the ease with which her ideological positions are changed seem to indicate that they are very loosely held. Should she be elected, it seems only a matter of time that her campaign promises are attributed to a “moment of passion” and rewound.
A link to the full transcript of the interview can be found here.