Socialist Alliance does well in student elections

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BY BELINDA SELKE

WOLLONGONG — Despite contesting the Student Representative Council (SRC) elections for the first time at Wollongong University, the Socialist Alliance won the highest number of primary votes for education officer and came a close second for president. The elections were held October 23-25.

After preferences were distributed, the positions were won by Question, a ticket promising better student services. The position of women's officer is yet to be declared, the result delayed by the last minute withdrawal of a candidate. It is likely that Socialist Alliance member Nicole Hilder will be elected to the position.

Two left-wing tickets, Nobody Can Eat Fifty Eggs and Upset About Hair Products, were disqualified on the final day of polling after a complaint about their election material. Both tickets supported the same candidates for the sexuality and activities officer positions. The initial count indicated that if these tickets had not been disqualified their candidates would have won. Instead, these positions were won by Question.

The Socialist Alliance ticket ran under the slogan "No to war, no to racism". It won four general representative positions on the SRC.

According to Socialist Alliance member Christina Sacco, the result "showed that students are not just concerned with on-campus issues. The war and racism are important issues that students think the SRC should be campaigning around."

"The Socialist Alliance ticket was the only one to run on an actively anti-war basis", she explained. "We pledged to use the resources of the SRC to oppose the bombing in Afghanistan."

Hilder told Green Left Weekly that the campaign was a great success, despite missing out the positions. "This will be a big boost to the Illawarra Socialist Alliance branch", she said. "We were clearly the pole of attraction for students looking for a democratic, active and inclusive SRC."

From Darwin, Gary Meyerhoff reports that the Socialist Alliance provided the only spark of political activity in an election that totally underwhelmed Northern Territory University students. Only the positions of student union president and National Union of Students (NUS) delegates were contested in the October 23-25 student elections. All other positions were elected unopposed or remain unfilled.

The Socialist Alliance team won two of a possible three NUS positions. "We campaigned on a clear anti-war, anti-racist platform and students supported that", Socialist Alliance NUS delegate Scott White told Green Left Weekly. Ruth Ratcliffe, the Socialist Alliance candidate for president received 35% of the vote, losing to independent Paul Canet-Senior.

From Green Left Weekly, November 7, 2001.

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