SRC ELECTION: LIVEBLOG
WORDS BY EDEN FAITHFUL & JOSHUA WOOLLER
Hello and welcome to Pulp’s liveblog of today’s SRC election.
Campaigning has picked up a bit from pre-poll yesterday, though scenes are docile compared to last year’s Honi and SRC election.
Pulp understands that MINT for Honi are yet to formally withdraw from the Honi election. Polling at 40% in the Honi exit poll yesterday, some might wonder ‘what could have been’ had they decided to ride out the controversy. Heat’s effort against a campaign that doesn’t exist anymore wasn’t exactly anything to write home about yesterday, they’ll be hoping to put the election beyond any doubt today.
In the SRC election, Vision have started the day strongly at JFR, while Switch appear strong at Fisher.
Pulp has obtained video of Stand Up campaigner Caitlin McMenamin following Brendan Ma wherever he goes. Like everywhere. The strategy used by Stand Up here would be to contest any potential voter Ma talks to and annoy him I guess?
Pulp understands that a deal exists between Switch and Stand Up to not contest each other’s votes, the same courtesy does not extend to Vision... for obvious ideological reasons. We're unsure of where Left Action stands in this deal, but since they are essentially part of 'Camp Imogen', we assume that while they will probably be expected to adhere to this deal - who are we kidding?
Still very calm aroud here. Just Imogen Grant hugging Elijah Fink.
Stupol can be nice sometimes!
UPDATE: Caitlin no longer following Brendan! Our OTP is no more. JFR is dead.
It seems like a single HEAT campaigner is taking joy in bending the rules outside the Fisher polling booth, continuously crossing the exclusion sign in her shirt in order to talk to voters. Those around her have now simply taken to yelling "exclusion zone!" loudly into the void to remind her of the rules. That's about it. That's all that's happening at Fisher right now.
It has been noted that this poor HEAT campaigner was actually just talking to a fellow student about when they would be meeting up for their group presentation prep. Shout out to all those students who actually meet up in person before their presentation with their partners to 'prep'. You're all better than the rest of us.
I'm currently writing these updates across from Honi Editor Nick Bonyhady in Fisher library. I can only assume he, too, is writing updates for the Honi liveblog. We continue to avoid eye contact with each other and are verging on a strange kind of journalism-fuelled sexual tension. Or is that just me? Are Pulp and Honi the new OTP? Maybe I'm just trying to narrativise something interesting here because these elections are so boring. HMU, Nick, we're better than this.
Walking from Manning, up through Eastern Avenue and across to the Wentworth Building, it’s surprising how busy yet dead the university feels right now. Of course it’s midday – students are moving in and out of classes, weaving into the cafes and food outlets that dot campus – but it’s telling that on Eastern Avenue there were probably only about five campaigners. Five. Sure – around Fisher it looked like Left Action were hanging out near the Socialist Alternative table (clearly denoted by the large banner reading ‘Socialist Alternative’ that was draped across it), but it seems as if campaigners are sticking to the periphery of voting booths. As noted earlier, Stand Up’s Caitlin McMenamin was (for a time) marking Vision’s presidential candidate Brendan Ma. It would appear this isn’t just a Stand Up strategy however.
Your faithful reporter spotted a Vision campaigner performing a walk-and-talk with a (presumably, due to lack of hack t-shirt) regular student voter, flanked by a silent campaigner from Left Action. There was also some more activity at JFR, with Switch seemingly having set up their base table there and having a decent presence at that booth as reported earlier. There was one stray Stand Up reporter present though. Pulp has also heard student reports of a Liberal campaigner (in a white shirt as well) approaching campaigners and handing out how-to-votes whilst proudly asking ‘do you want to know how to vote Liberal?’. These regular students have also produced how-to-votes they’ve been handed by the Liberal campaign – notably, your faithful reporter was given two how-to-votes (our regular student recalls being handed both of them by the same campaigner) that suggests the Liberals a) haven’t figured out how to present information succinctly and b) are more than likely wasting paper, since judging from exit polling yesterday they’re being left for dead by Brendan Ma’s Vision ticket.
So the Liberals for SRC have a how-to-vote (or two, counting their policy pamphlet). Now there’s a bit of hyperbole involved with the claims made by the Liberal ticket. For starters, they claim that $63, 000 of your hard earned HECS debt is going towards affiliating students with the National Union of Students (almost as if having the USYD SRC affiliated with SRCs at other universities is… bad?). Now let’s give the Liberals a fair assumption that the $63, 000 figure is accurate. Cool.
According to stats from Australian Universities, USYD has over 42, 000 domestic students who, if all were only studying part-time for the year, would contribute $10, 804, 500 in SSAF for the 2017 year. Not only is $63, 000 significantly less than 1% of SSAF, but each student is contributing… $1.50 each to NUS. Guys, coffee is more expensive than NUS. They also claim that $18, 000 was ‘spent to send Stupol hacks on an interstate ticket’ – which is not only significantly less than 1% of the SSAF budget, but is only $0.42 per student. So the SRC is grossly wasting less than $2 per student on interstate trips and affiliation with the Mega-SRC that is NUS. And reminder, this is assuming that all students are studying part-time – so factoring in that, the cut of SSAF going towards these trips is spiralling into increasingly small fractions of 1%.
The Liberals also seem to be blurring the lines between serious contenders and ‘fuck it we’ll run but we’ve got Buckley’s chance of winning’ – requesting on your how-to-votes to disregard all other candidates (‘leave the boxes to the right of the paper blank’ is their recommendation for the SRC and NUS ballots) and suggesting that voters ‘donkey vote straight down the line’ for the SRC presidency (but they also suggest preferencing 1, 2 and then 3 for candidates A, B and C respectively, but since they’re not naming names Pulp is unsure if they’re just taking the piss here). Despite recommending you, humble voter, preference Vision as your #2 choice for NUS they seem to be pretty apathetic to the idea of a Brendan Ma presidency based on their presidential recommendation.
JFR seems to be picking up considerably, with a line of voters waiting to collect their ballots now snaking to the borders of the exclusion zone. A number of Switch campaigners I've spoken to have been vacillating between hopeful and nihilistic, with most hoping that "Imogen will put in a strong showing". Stand Up campaigners have at least doubled in numbers since this morning's humble turnout, with camapigners from Switch, Stand Up and Vision demonstrating roughly equal numbers.
While skulking around both JFR and Manning polling booths, this reporter has heard more than one comment about the aesthetic quality of HEAT for Honi's 'How to Vote's. comments have ranged from a sarcastic "graphic design is clearly their passion" to "wow I need to get out of the kitchen because I can't handle this HEAT how to vote". Yeeowch.
In a "last year's Honi Race" update, because this reporter lives exclusively in the past, SIN for Honi members Daniel Ergas and Nina Dillon-Britton have just been spotted sharing a cute lil' hug near the Switch booth, presumably lamenting the condition that their physical and mental health were at this point last year. TIME for Honi member and co-Editor here at Pulp, Joshua Wooller, has been spotted shooting the breeze with Stand Up campaigner Harry Stratton. No comment there. No members of the WET ticket are to be seen around here. Probably because they're busy editing Honi. #bitter
We just spoke to presidential candidates Bella Pytka and Brendan Ma (who is currently being ghosted by a Stand Up candidate... popular guy!) to get an update on how they're feeling about the election so far. We haven't spotted Imogen Grant yet, but that could be becasue she's actualy camapaigning.
"The campaign is going well, we're having some great conversations. We're hoping that will translate into a victory tomorrow night."
"It's going very well. Our team is encouraged by the amount of people looking for positive policies that benefit students. I think students are disappointed by some of the dirty tactics of other teams in this campaign (glances distinctly in the direction of the Stand Up campaigner). It's time to clean it up!"
The Cadigal run is silent right now. Lietrally silent: there is not a campaigning campaigner in sight. There are two or three people in Switch shirts sitting on the lawns taking in the sun. Someone in the far distance, for sme unknown reason, is playing the recorder. Perhaps to remind us of those simple junior school days, unencumbered by SRC elections and Liberal-dominated student unions. But beyond that, potential voters may be advised that their passage from JFR to Redfern will be unimpacted by the well-practiced script of an SRC camapigner. Quick, now - while they're not looking!
Left Action have officially taken advatage of the lack of camapigners down here at Cagigal, with one campaigner even approaching me while I sit here peacefully at my laptop. I tell him I'm live blogging and he asks if I'm from Honi. "No, I'm from Pulp Media, the other student publication on campus," I tell him.
"Oh yeah, I think I've heard of you guys," he says vaguely as he wanders away. I've finally found the answer. How to avoid SRC campaigners: make them feel sorry for you and your deeply apparent lack of relevance.
Pulp can confirm the entrance of a new ticket running in the Honi race. Pictures of Spider-Man for Honi is a late entrant, fighting for an underdog victory alongside similarly established campaigns Tea for Honi and Honey Soy for Honi. Our reporter has obtained a copy of their campaign flyers. You heard it here first, people.
Spotted: Heat and Switch campaigners having what appears to be a friendly chat outside a very vacant manning voting booth. Of course given that the campus has been mostly silent today, there's probably not much else to do to pass the lonely hours towards the imminent heat death of the universe.
We have also received a tip from Switch campaigner Nina Dillon-Britton that may sway some voter's minds. Approaching this reporter on Eastern Avenue, right in front of a spicy stoush between Solidarity and Brendan Ma, she claimed that she had seen "Brendan Ma kill a kitten... with his bare hands!"
Pulp is still looking into the veracity of this statement.
Rumours abound that a Switch campaigner, Swetha Das, has been taking contesting votes to the next level, with voters and fellow campaigners jokingly accusing her of "flirting" with presidential candidate Brendan Ma. It looks like the charm offensive has officially been employed in this SRC election.
On the other end of the spectrum, sparks have been flyig between Left Action and Stand Up campaigners, but we can assure you that there's no friendly fire here. Stand Up campaigners have repeated rumours of "blackmail" from the Left Action camp, claiming that the Socialist Alternative faction are so desperate to win the role of Education Officer at Reps Elect that they have continually contested Stand Up's votes until they get their way.