LaTrobe left wins landslide victory

Issue 

BY JAMES CRAFTI

MELBOURNE — The Action ticket has won the October 6-10 La Trobe University Student Representative Council (SRC) election in a landslide victory. The ticket consisted of independent activists, members of the socialist youth organisation Resistance and Socialist Alternative, and left-wing Labor Party and Greens members.

The Action ticket won all office-bearer positions, six out of the seven positions on the SRC and five of La Trobe's six National Union of Students (NUS) delegate positions. Some of those elected with Action were not elected as part of the Action ticket but were highly preferenced by Action.

Despite arguments within the ticket, coming from members of the ALP to run the ticket as politically "centrist" as possible, having socialists on the ticket arguing against war, in support of refugees' rights and for student support for the October 16 national university staff won votes for Action.

Action campaigners were told by one student that she had been accosted by a Young Liberal who claimed that Action might spend SRC money on protests to the Baxter detention centre. The student was so infuriated, she walked in to the polling booth determined to vote for Action!

Regrettably, some members of the Action ticket resorted to the "pork barrelling" techniques typical of Liberal Party and right-wing Labor student candidates. They organised election tickets with names such as "Free Car Parking", "More Beer" and "None of the Above", not with the aim of getting these tickets elected, but of having their preferences flow to the Action ticket.

Running multiple tickets simply to garner students' votes does little to raise the political consciousness of students and undermines student democracy. The landslide majority achieved by the openly left-wing Action ticket shows such tactics were not only dishonest, they were unnecessary.

Dummy feeder tickets can also backfire. Thus, in the La Trobe SRC election, the feeder ticket process allowed the ALP to cheat Socialist Alternative out of a NUS delegate position because one of Labor's feeder tickets "accidentally" received a higher quota than the Socialist Alternative candidate.

Resistance members consistently argued against feeder tickets and refused to participate in this cynical election ploy.

From Green Left Weekly, October 22, 2003.
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