By Rina Anticich
PERTH — This week, Curtin University and the University of Western Australia will be electing the student guilds of 1998. Most tickets promise to provide students with plenty of cheap beer and more bands in the tavern, but ignore the fact that higher education is under fierce attack.
In contrast, the RAGE tickets, initiated by Resistance, are made up of activists against the education funding cuts and against racism, sexism and homophobia.
On UWA, numerous tickets are running: the Liberals' NUS Destruction Party, Young Nationals and Star, the ultra-trendy ticket which says little but wins each year. Even the Left Action ticket won't run candidates for the key positions Star wants.
The RAGE candidates on UWA are Justin Randell, Sean Martin Iverson and Alex Robinson, running for president, education council president and senate respectively.
On Curtin, the guild has been run for seven years by Unity, the right wing of the Labor Party. Standing this year as "Team One", Unity offers little beyond a pledge to lobby against increased parking fees. Another ticket has emerged, Students First, but it too has very little to say.
RAGE on Curtin has come from a tradition of Resistance-initiated tickets — DIG in 1995 and HEAT in 1996. These tickets have challenged the old guard in the guild and argued for change. HEAT won four guild council positions and two NUS delegates last year.
RAGE is running on a broad platform including women's rights, against homophobia, against racism and against the cuts. It has proposals for action, not just empty slogans. Presidential candidate Corinne Glenn and vice-presidential candidate Chris Latham have both pledged to cut their salaries by $5000 each, to create a $10,000 campaign fund.