Campus, News

Majority elected without a fight at last election

Almost three quarters of Murdoch University’s student politicians were elected unopposed last year, while the total vote count dwindled to just 720, according to data provided by the Returning Officer.

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19 out of 26 filled positions went uncontested in 2014, the highest since 2011. This includes all 5 Guild Council Officers; Clubs Officer Brodie Skalko, Events Officer Alyssa Chow, Social Justice Officer Rhys Marjoram, Sports Officer Daniel McLerie and Sustainability Officer Troy Treeby.

METIOR understands that while Guild Council Representatives and the MISA [Murdoch International Student Association] position also went uncontested, their respective collectives normally hold closed-door elections and have been chosen by the group they represent before reaching the polls.

Vote count at four-year low

The total number of votes for 2014 was just 720, an 85% drop from the count of the hotly contested 2011 elections where Bec Thompson won the Guild Presidency.

It is important to note that this does not mean 720 students voted in 2014, as one student may vote in more than one ballot. For example, a student could have voted in the Guild President, Education Vice President and General Secretary ballots, amassing 3 total votes.

“A student could be eligible to vote across all ballots, or someone could only want to vote for Guild President. We have no idea,” Returning Officer at the University Registrar’s Office Trudi McGlade says.

According to her, actual voter turnout remains confidential and is hard to identify because of the nature of the online voting system.

“It’s all anonymous… it’s all calculated in the background of the system,” McGlade says.

Empty spots

After the elections process, 20 of the 46 available positions remained vacant in 2014, a pattern similar to previous years.

Murdoch University restructuring in 2012 slimmed down the number of slots from 65 to 32, and this has stabilised to 46. There are 25 spots within the Guild and 21 in the University Committees.

From the data, spots on University Committees are most likely to remain vacant, especially within school boards. Students who sit on school boards have influence over the unit and course structure of their respective school among other responsibilities.

Except in 2012 when the position was not available, the undergraduate representative for the School of Law board has been contested and filled.

Student election nominations open today, August 31, and will close in 2 weeks on September 14.

8 thoughts on “Majority elected without a fight at last election”

  1. I have a number of theories regarding why people don’t nominate.
    • General disengagement – People have so many other things going on in their lives outside of university (jobs, family etc.) that they don’t have the time to get involved in anything extra-curricular.

    • Obtuse positions – What does Education Vice President mean? What if I only car about the cost of parking fees, where’s the parking officer? We need more general officer positions and I plan to take this to council before I finish up.

    • Lack of self-confidence – University seems to be built around tearing people down these days. “Undergraduate rubbish,” “51%, apply yourself” “Arts students won’t get jobs lol” and this hits the self-confidence of students. I think there’s lots of students who want to get involved somehow but aren’t sure they’re up to it, or will be welcome. Hint: you are. I’m a clown and I was a great Guild President and I had no experience as an elected stupol hack before that, well actually I attended on School of Education Board meeting, but that’s it!

    • Murdoch actively discouraging students – I see this in particular with postgrads, where the uni leans on students claiming that they’ll never get a job or be successful unless they put 110% into their studies and won’t have time to sit on a few committees. It’s bullshit. Doing extra curricular stuff will help you in life and university. Murdoch just gave an hoary doctorate to Giz Watson, a foundation student who took a decade to complete her degree because she spent so much time doing not university. All the extra stuff she did, as part of her uni life, some of which involved getting incarcerated for protests, helped her career and now we’re honouring her for it.

    UPDATE: Or maybe shit like this is why.


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