Two-way Honi race, SRC President uncontested at close of nominations
Here are the players for the first in-person SRC election in three years.
The players are in for the first in-person SRC election in three years. Honi will be a two-way race, and SRC President will go uncontested for the second time in three years.
This year, there will be a two-way fight for the editorship of Honi Soit. The contest is between ZIP! for Honi and SHAKE for Honi.
Honi has been informed through the grapevine that SHAKE consists of Andy Park (Switch), Bipasha Chakraborty, Christine Lai (SAlt-adjacent), Eamonn Murphy (Switch), Ethan Floyd, Katarina Butler (SLS), Luke Cass, Luke Mesterovic (Unity), Misbah Ansari (Grassroots-aligned), and Veronica Lenard.
At this stage, Honi has not been provided formal information on either ticket. If you are a member of ZIP!, please come forward.
SHAKE is notably young in relation to their time spent at USyd, with a significant number of their members in just their first or second year of study. More than half of the ticket members — Andy Park, Bipasha Chakraborty, Eamonn Murphy, Katarina Butler, Luke Cass, and Luke Mesterovic — are second years; one is a first-year (Ethan Floyd), and one is a fourth year (Veronica Lenard). The remaining two are third-year students. This is a notable departure from typical Honi elections, and something previous tickets have gained great criticism for.
Additionally, SHAKE shows disparity in student journalism experience. Six of its members have written eight or fewer articles for Honi, with the lowest count for a single candidate being just three articles, one of which is co-written. The remaining four have written 14 articles or more, with Luke Cass boasting 22 Honi articles and the ticket’s most experience. The average article count of all its members is 10.
Most are heavy culture-writers, and very few have contributed to other USyd student publications like Pulp (now restructured as PULP Magazine) or SURG FM. Also notable is a lack of artists within the ticket. Although Ansari, Lenard and Chakraborty are members of Honi’s current artists group, only the latter has actually contributed art to the paper.
Several members are or have previously been involved with stupol. Over half the ticket are associated with a faction. However, many lack material organising or student governance experience. Misbah Ansari is the SRC’s current Ethnocultural Officer and an ACAR (Autonomous Collective Against Racism) convenor, making her the ticket’s most experienced candidate in the sphere of student politics. Eamonn Murphy is an SRC Welfare Officer, and Andy Park is a Refugee Rights Officer. This positions the team with some of the institutional knowledge essential for editing Honi, but notably less than that of previous years’ tickets.
The 2022 SRC presidential race is uncontested. Lia Perkins (Grassroots) is its single candidate. As the lone nominee, she is provisionally elected as President.
Perkins is a third year student. She is the current SRC Education Officer and was last year’s Welfare Officer, giving her significant experience in student organising and governance. Perkins was preselected unopposed by Grassroots, a leftwing faction.
It seems Switchroots will sustain its streak of SRC presidents, with Perkins becoming their fourth President since 2019. She follows Liam Donohoe (2020), Swapnik Sanagavarapu (2021), and Lauren Lancaster (2022).
This is the second time in recent years that the Presidential election has gone uncontested, with the same situation occurring in 2020. This can be credited to various circumstances: minimal engagement with campus culture leaving a generational gap in student politics, vicious election-cycles turning people off getting involved altogether, and factions brokering deals before elections even begin, rather than fighting it out on the campaign trail.
It ultimately leaves questions for the strength of student democracy, and the willingness of the student electorate to participate.
This year’s Council race sees a record 41 seats up for grabs. All the regular players are gearing up for a hot contest. For many of them, there’s been a bit of a shake up in branding.
Grassroots, the leftwing and sometimes Greens-aligned faction on campus, will continue their straightforward approach of running under their faction name, leaving voters with a pretty clear guess of who their candidates are affiliated with. Grassroots have controlled council majority and President since the election of Liam Donohoe in 2019, despite a close election in 2021 with current president Lauren Lancaster winning by approximately 200 votes.
Switch is a leftwing faction affiliated with Grassroots, who will field tickets again this year. The controversy around the Switch branding is likely to continue for the USyd Left, with many complaining it only exists to make leftwing politics more palatable. Switch held three seats on council this past year.
Student Unity, the Labor Right faction at USyd, will run under Stand Up this year. Interestingly, Stand Up is the name currently used by National Labor Students (NLS) at campuses across the country, and was used by NLS at USyd for successful Presidential candidates from the late 2000s until Izzy Brook’s campaign in 2016. Unity will also run a joke ticket this year, called Your Mom [sic] for SRC.
National Labor Students (NLS, Labor Left) will run under Action for SRC for the first time since 2006, marking a significant shift away from more miscellaneous branding like ‘Pump’, which they have favoured in recent years.
The choice will present an interesting verbal and visual predicament during campaigning for both Socialist Alternative (SAlt) and NLS, as SAlt typically run under the name “Left Action”. With a rapidly growing caucus, NLS is likely to have strong numbers on the ground.
Liberal-aligned students on campus have rebranded to ‘Lift’ this year after running on ‘Boost’ and ‘Time’ in recent years to limited success. Multiple current SRC Councillors from Boost are running on Lift-branded tickets. They will also be running a joke ticket under the brand ‘GYMBROS’.
Engineers will be running three tickets this year, likely hoping to maintain their current representation on Council. With the faculty-based faction currently holding both SRC Vice President and USU President, it is well worth keeping an eye on any preference deals they make. With a voting booth at PNR, Engineers are likely to campaign closer to home rather than venturing out to Eastern Avenue.
Socialist Alternative (SAlt), USyd’s most vocal and controversial left-wing faction (and engaged in a Trotskyite rivalry with Solidarity), are running under their usual Left Action branding. Typically dominant in student organising spaces, SAlt is likely to have a highly visible and mobilised campaign. They are running three tickets this year.
Student Left Alliance
This ticket describes itself as a blend of students from several activist groups, including Solidarity (a left-wing faction engaged in a Trotskyite rivalry with SAlt) and Black Flag (anarchist-communist group), as well as activists across the education and environment collectives. They emerged out of a disagreement with other Left factions’ approach to negotiations in student elections (notably, the practice of engaging in preference deals prior to elections). They are running one ticket.
International student faction Penta will contest again this year. Much like Grassroots, they will run under the name of their faction. Penta have leaned towards the left in most instances, but are sometimes known as a wild card.
Riding the Teal wave, there are a number of tickets running under the name “Independents”, presumably in an effort to trick voters into being convinced of neutrality. Honi can confirm that there are in fact known right-wing figures on these tickets. Voters, be warned!
Interpol, styled as ‘I N T E R P O L’ on their official nomination documents, are a relatively new faction having unsuccessfully run candidate K Philips earlier this year for USU Board. Interpol have branded themselves as a centrist faction, and will likely be competing for a similar demographic as the ‘Independents’ tickets.
The Artistry brand is being represented by a number of rusted-on Conservatorium hacks, who are now no stranger to student elections. The Conservatorium candidates have traditionally been associated with Student Unity, having ran with them in last year’s SRC election. Whether this will be the year that they develop a cohesive political vision is yet to be seen.
Disclaimer: Zara Zadro is a current member of Switch and will not be involved in coverage of the 2022 SRC, NUS, and Honi Soit elections.
A previous version of this article described Student Left Alliance as a Solidarity ticket. This article was updated to better reflect the ticket’s composition.
A previous version of this article described Katarina Butler as a third-year student. This article was updated to reflect her status as a second-year student.