SULC elects Josh Crawford of “Wolf Pack” faction as new President, amid factional in-fighting and AG
Voters at the Sydney University Liberal Club (SULC) have elected Josh Crawford of the “Wolf Pack” faction the new President in a dramatic turn of events at the society’s Annual General Meeting. In an emphatic victory, the previous SULC Secretary defeated Dom Bondar 170 - 144 with about 60% of the vote. The victory is sure to have extensive implications for the Young Liberals on a state level, with Federal level MLCs and MPs involved in the tight race between the factions.
Only hours after SULC President William Dawes penned an angry article in Mon Droit slamming members and supporters of the “Wolf Pack” faction, the group - consisting of moderates, soft right dissenters and supporters of estranged Young Liberal President Alex Dore - has successfully broken the chain of soft-right leadership.
The break-up of the tickets were as follows:
Moderate “Wolf-Pack” faction
President: Josh Crawford
VP Policy: Jennifer Zin
VP Activities: David Hogan
VP Development: Ed McCann
Secretary: Jacob Masina
Treasurer: Jessie Nguyen
Communications Officer: Kalina Ivanov
Publications Officer: James Dore
First year Officer: Nam Nguyen
First Year Officer: Niamh Cronin
President: Dom Bondar
VP Policy: Vic Demcsak
VP Activities: Nicholas Marston
VP Development: Manning Jeffrey
Secretary: Catherine Priestley
Treasurer: Dimitry Palmer
Communications Officer: Shae McLaughlin
Publications Officer: Samuel Calacoci
First year Officer: Jackson NEwell
First Year Officer: Chris Wilks
Controversy hadd surrounded SULC over the past 7 months with Pulp Media revealing factional in-fighting being influenced by higher powers within the Young Liberal Movement; the dissolution of their membership; and accusations of stacking the ballot for this very election by both factions. Speculation for this event has even reached the Fairfax presses, and has circulated on Reddit as the event of the decade for the SULC.
The lead up to the event has been a while in the waiting, drawing the attention of many Federal and State members of the Liberal party — such as MLCs Catherine Cusack and Marie Ficarra — who have a vested interest in attaining control amongst the Young Liberal movement for pre-selection purposes.
Young Liberal President Alex Dore (left) and newly elected SULC President Josh Crawford (right) at the AGM.
The University of Sydney Union’s Head of Sales and Marketing, Alistair Cowie, was present to chair the event and oversee the smooth sailing of the AGM. Despite the USU’s intervention and anti-stacking measures, students entering the AGM were overheard telling friends “I’ve never been to a meeting before, just here to support a mate”. Cowie, in attempt to lighten the tension in the room, instructed that dicks weren’t allowed to be drawn on ballot papers, to the factional jeers that a dick should be counted as a vote to Crawford.
With almost 300 in attendance, the energy in Footbridge Lecture Theatre was predictably tense — a strange colloquium of MJ Bale shirts and chinos, hoodie-sporting college kids, and suit-clad interns. In line with the self-importance that characterises the Liberal Club, glossy How-To-Votes for each faction decorated with the faces of Liberal Politicians were handed out at the door of the only place one would ever find themselves holding a HTV outside of election time.
2015/2016 outgoing President, Will Dawes, who lead the soft right faction spoke at the meeting, labelling Crawford’s faction as the “wolf pack”, hell bent on “defamatory slurs”, “fraudulently” stacking, and turning “odds in their favour of Young Liberals”. Citing the advice of former PM, John Howard, Dawes stated that he intends “ to stick to the path the Club is on and to make sure the right people, the hard workers and thinkers, are growing the Club”. He condemned the all-male wolf pack as toxic to female involvement… and then dismissed the female timekeeper when she rung the bell, insisting, “I’ll speak”.
Soft right preferred candidate Bondar was met with a huge applause as he stepped up to speak. “It’s been the best decision of my life,” Bondar said, speaking to his time in SULC since his first year on campus. The rest of his ticket, echoed similar apolitical sentiments, “I’m committed to being a team player” and “make lifelong friends”. Running for SULC Secretary, Catherine Priestly declared, “We are not the ‘wolf-pack’, we are the lions, look at our emblem.”
Crawford drew an even larger applause and “wolf” whistling, starting his speech dwelling on the tumultuous history of SULC this year. He indicated he didn’t “want to dwell on the negatives,” but rather “get the club back on track”. He spoke about his support from Alex Dore, as the longest running president of SULC.
The common sentiment across all of the speeches was indeed to get past these “dark days” to be united against the left on campus. However, disinterested voters knew their vote from before the meeting’s commencement, and often interrupted most ticket speeches, and proceeded to leave.