Labor left students do deal with Libs
By Marina Carman
SYDNEY — Students who voted for the Labor left-aligned National Organisation of Labor Students (NOLS) in University of Sydney Student Representative Council (SRC) elections last month expecting it to provide some opposition to the Howard government have real cause for concern.
Despite a strong campaign by the Activist Left group, NOLS won the position of president and an increased number of general representative positions. Not content with that, NOLS has decided it wants to control the SRC executive at any cost.
The first meeting of the SRC was held on October 28 to elect the executive and SRC officers. NOLS did a deal with the Liberals which delivered NOLS four of the eight executive positions, and gave the Liberals three, including vice-president. The Activist Left got only one.
The Activist Left won the majority of other office-bearer positions at the SRC meeting. Five officers are elected in each "department", e.g. the women's department, environment department. Apparently, NOLS and the right have little interest in positions that require involvement in campaigns and talking to students.
Resistance members Aaron Benedek, Michele Wickham and Keara Courtney were elected as education, women's and sexuality officers respectively.
NOLS' shenanigans shouldn't really come as a surprise. In the 1997 SRC elections NOLS failed to direct its preferences to the Activist Left, resulting in the victory of the right-wing Students First grouping (backed by the Liberal club).
When the result of the presidential campaign was appealed and a by-election called early in 1998, the NOLS candidate was elected over the Activist Left with right-wing preferences.