By Carl Gosper and Toby Hawker
WOLLONGONG — To inform and mobilise more students in the campaign against the Howard government's attacks on higher education, Resistance is running for positions on the Wollongong University Student Representative Council (SRC) and for National Union of Students (NUS) delegate positions.
Resistance attempted to form a united ticket with other left groups and activists on campus, however, both this proposal and a non-aggression pact with the other major left force on campus, the Non-Aligned Left (NAL), failed. Resistance is therefore running its own ticket for the SRC positions of vice-president (Toby Hawker), education officer (Michael Sloggett) and general representatives (Nikki Ulasowski and Carl Gosper), and for the five NUS delegate positions (the above plus Colin Salter).
In contrast to others contesting these elections, to be held on October 15-17, Resistance is campaigning on political issues: against attacks on education; for a more democratic, accountable and campaigning NUS; accountability of the SRC; environmental destruction; attacks on welfare; and solidarity with people struggling for democracy or self-determination internationally, such as the people of East Timor and Indonesia.
The two other main tickets — "United Students" (ALP) and "Viva" (NAL) — have presented an apolitical platform and done limited campaigning. What United Students stand for is a mystery to most students. None of their election material indicates that they are ALP members, most of whom haven't been seen before on campus or at education rallies, let alone campaigning for students' rights.
The Viva (Voices Integrity Visibility Active and Accessible) campaign materials state that they are "not affiliated to any political party or organisation". In fact, leading members of the ticket are in the NAL faction of NUS and one is a Socialist Alternative member. Viva campaign material states that "the SRC has not been truly representative in the past and so has been unable to properly address the concerns and interests of the university population". Given that a significant number of Viva candidates are members of the current SRC, however, students are asking: what have they done this year to address these problems?