New candidate for Guild Events Officer revealed

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Madura McCormack

Elected to the position during the Guild elections in October 2015, Rachael Davidson has stepped down as Events Officer for this year.

One of the three members of the ACTION ticket to be elected to the 40th Guild, Davidson was elected unopposed after a last-minute disqualification of the TMNT nominee.

“I felt that the attitude of the guild board was one of negativity amongst members

I did not want to actively put myself in that environment and so have withdrawn,” says Davidson.

The spot may not remain empty however, with third-year student Ruebendraa Kantahrao vying for the position.

MUEnSA President and Guild hopeful Ruebendraa Kantahrao. Photo: Supplied

MUEnSA President and Guild hopeful Ruebendraa Kantahrao. Photo: Supplied

The current President of Murdoch University’s Environmental Science Associations (MUEnSA), Kantahrao must garner 25 student signatures to endorse him for the role.

He has received 24 signatures at time of writing.

An Environmental Science and Biological Sciences double major, Kantahrao (better known as Rueben) says his previous experience holding MUEnSA events will help him succeed in the role.

“I believe that I will be able to bring a similar increase in student activity to future Guild events as Events officer,” he says.

“I have a list of events that I have planned, all of which will be revealed when I am voted in.”

Guild Election 2015: The Numbers

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Guild_Elections_2015 (1)The votes have been counted and the winners have been announced, but before Murdoch University’s 40th Guild take office, here is the breakdown of this years numbers.

This year a total of 4113 votes were cast, marking a staggering 471 percent (yes, that’s right) increase from 2014, when only 720 votes were cast. 

Judging from the sharp decline between 2011 and 2012 however, it would be premature to call this year’s election a revival in Murdoch student politics.

It is important to note that 4113 votes does not mean 4113 people voted. A total of 505 votes were cast for Guild President, which gives a good estimate of the the number of actual voters. This is still pretty low considering the number of students enrolled at Murdoch University.

Whether or not voter count could have been higher if elections were not postponed to fall during study week remains up for speculation.

[Read more: Guild-splainer: Unofficial Guide to who does what in the Murdoch Student Politics]

With such a small cluster of votes, it is inevitable that some candidates won their seats with less than a breath of air between them and their opponent. Lauren Hodson of the ACTION ticket trumped TMNT’s Coraline De Zilwa by only five votes.

Bianca Talbot, TMNT’s candidate for Sports Officer comes out of this years race with the largest majority of any ballot, garnering 216 votes over Megan Bilney’s 128.

Events Officer Rachael Davidson would have claimed this title, however TMNT’s candidate Daniel Puls was disqualified after polls opened for not being a registered Guild member and it is unclear what the vote division would have been had this not happened. The final count for Events Officer was 208 votes for Rachael Davidson and 55 for Adrian Gallo.

Better than 2014

Apart from the large increase in votes, 2015 also sees the number of vacant positions drop to 13 out of 45 positions compared to 2014’s 20.

The number of candidates elected unopposed also fell 20 percent from last year, but a majority of student politicians are still taking their positions without a fight.

Disability Representative Megan Browne reclaims her seat for the third consecutive year along with Indigenous Representative Ashleigh Lindsay who is on her second term.

Positions that remain vacant include:

  • Murdoch University Post Graduate Association President
  • MUPSA Vice President
  • Rural, Regional and Interstate Representative
  • Mandurah Student Association President
  • Rockingham Student Association President
  • Academic Council: Regional Student
  • School Board: Arts

Any student interested in these positions may approach the Guild.

See who won the Guild Elections here. Check out Roland Belford’s Google Chart of the elections here.

Guild Elections: TMNT Policy Analysis

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Disclaimer: Roland ran under the ACTION ticket in 2014.

Welcome to the first installment of election policy analysis, where I will dissect and evaluate the policies of the major tickets contesting the 2015 Murdoch Student Elections. As a paid staffer of the Guild in 2012, Guild President in 2014 and Education Vice President this year, I feel suitably qualified to pass judgement on how achievable policies are, with an occasional comment thrown in. Candidates have the right to leave a comment below.

First up, Teenage Mutant Ni The Murdoch Now Team, or TMNT for short. I have had less interaction with TMNT than Action but their squad isn’t unknown to me. I have been friends with Presidential candidate Leonar Guy McDonald for several years, first meeting him through my partner, and I approached him to be General Secretary on Guild Council this year. I have worked with Bianca Talbot on Council in the past and have a lot of respect for her. I have also met Andy Hunter and had a number of polite conversations with him. The other candidates are unknown to me but I did find Tay Alers on my friends list on Facebook. I’m not sure when I added him.

Let’s go through their ten point plan and break down each point.

campus

These are admirable goals but I’m afraid to say these are not new ideas. Since opening in 2007 there have been endless attempts at getting food into the Tavern. According to 2006 Guild President Reece Harley, the University constructed the venue without a kitchen to appease lease holders in the Refectory, scared of the competition. The Tavern is a victim of the Guild not having control over any commercial leases on campus other than their own.

They can explore options but The Guild has no control over the former Bankwest lease and a suggestion to put METIOR offices there was already flatly refused. The whole area, including senate, bookshop and refectory is earmarked for redevelopment but I expect plans will be stalled and delayed. Murdoch has a terrible track record of consulting with students over common spaces and I have only seen a reduction in common spaces since I enrolled.events

These all sound like pretty fun events. Except for the Colour Run, that can get fucked. Anyone who finds excitement over corn starch shot at them after completing a 4km jog all while supporting a for-profit company that masquerades as a charity needs to get out more. Anyway, otherwise, yeah cool, events but execution is the key and I haven’t seen or heard of TMNT’s event’s officer delivering any great events before. Not like the MUEnSA or MVSA events, which go off.
tresure

Alright wow. So this is a big one and what I’m guessing will be a main point of differentiation between the main tickets. This is possible, however it is such a huge task for such minimal gain that I don’t know why they’d bother. To install a paid Treasurer onto the Guild Executive they’ll need to rewrite the Guild Regulations, the Guild Election Regulations and Statute 17 of the University Act. All three of these require approval by two-thirds of Guild Council (hard enough to two-thirds attendance to meetings) scrutinised by the University’s Legal and Governance Department, approved by the University Senate and then the Statute then has to go to the WA State Parliament for approval. This isn’t impossible, but it is an enormous, year-long task. All this, and the Guild has a professional Finance Manager. I really have to question whether this will actually offer better governance.

It is also worth pointing out that currently financial oversight responsibilities are shared between the President and the General Secretary. At the beginning of the year it was moved to the Gen Sec entirely due to the President’s study commitments. If TMNT are hinting that The Guild has issues around financial transparency, then is it the current Gen Sec, their own Presidential candidate Guy McDonald, who is responsible.

library

I think these are great policies, and I’d really like to congratulate Action’s Brodie Skalko and David Giang for their leadership on these issues. David initially wrote to the Guild and began circulating his petition to increase library opening hours and the size of the Library, with Brodie facilitating from the Guild side all the way. Eventually Guy and myself sat down with the interim Library Director who had heard the call and was already planning to expand Library services. Frustratingly, many of the changes will take some time to implement, due to logistical and security reasons, but the Library has already extended its hours on weekends this semester compared to last. Putting a coffee machine and microwave in the 24 Common Area could happen, but it took about 3 years for the Guild to get microwaves in the refectory.

clubs

Adjustments to club funding are all well within the remit of The Guild. Promises to double expenditure sound exciting but it’s worth remembering that the clubs themselves actually need to spend the money and this year we’ve had less funding requests from clubs than last year.

TMNT are going to have to provide more detail on their club voucher policy. I’m guessing it’s something along the lines of supplying normie students with vouchers that they can donate to a registered club who can exchange that for cash from the Guild. It could be a great idea but it might raise a few eyebrows legally as club funding comes from SSAF. There will need guidelines around who gets vouchers, how they’re redeemed, what they’re worth etc.

publication

I confess, I am suspicious of these policies. They don’t explicitly mention METIOR, The Guild supported publication since time immemorial which is deemed so historically important that the State Library archives it. Considering that The Student Canon has effectively endorsed TMNT it feels like an attempt to supplant METIOR with its rebel cousin. I would also argue that METIOR has flourished since moving online, receiving over 100 hits a day despite being just two months old. Also, if TMNT had a few media arts students on their ticket they might know that bookable student space is available with all the facilities to produce media content.

Editors Note: An interview with TMNT notes this policy plans to involve The Student Canon, METIOR and Radio Murdoch under an umbrella of print, web and radio. 

account

These transparency measures are all reasonable. I particularly like number 4. However, it’s worth pointing out that Guild Council meetings are now open to the public and minutes are (usually) posted on Facebook where they go largely ignored. The writing and circulation of minutes for approval is the responsibility of the General Secretary, so if TMNT are suggesting minutes aren’t published in a timely manner well…loud

These ideas all sound decent at first but a few things need to be considered. Lecture bashes are not an effective way of communicating with students. Many students don’t show up to lectures and those who do are often late or asleep most of the time. If a councillor lecture bashed say, 5 lectures, from 8:30 to 12:30, they might reach 600 students if they’re lucky but they’ve spent half the day doing it and are relying on students to remember with their brains what was said before they sat through a 1 to 3 hour lecture on something they’re actually interested in. As a comparison, the last post on the Guild Facebook page right now has been viewed 763 times in 5 hours and we can measure the engagement it has had. Alternatively we can mail out G-News to 12,000 students (of whom 10,000 will no doubt ignore it, but you get the idea.) I won’t deny that the Guild has an engagement and outreach problem but 20th century ideas are unlikely to solve them.welfare

So far we’ve seen some achievable policies, often already being implemented, and some very difficult to achieve ideas. However, installing a Guild Treasurer whose duties include cooking food at the Tavern would pale in comparison to getting puppies and kittens on campus. Murdoch’s animal ethics policies are among the strictest in the country, tirelessly enforced by the vigilant Animal Ethics Committee (AEC). The AEC and vet College would flip at this. I’m not saying it’s impossible, but yeah it’s pretty much impossible. Last year I wanted to have a puppy parade on Bush Court as part of a ‘dogs against deregulation’ media stunt. I was presented with a five point plan for why it couldn’t happen. It didn’t happen.

The other three points sound fine, although I’m not sure halal microwaves are a thing. Are they a thing? The counselling and welfare map is already in progress.1styear

First year engagement is important. As written, these policies feel like an overreach with The Guild telling clubs and societies how to run themselves. From my experience I would advise they don’t do this or at least provide more detail.

Orientation is a mess and seems to be getting worse. However, it hasn’t been Guild space since 2006 and at the moment the Guild is merely offered 5 minutes of presentation to some schools and the right to host a few activities on Bush Court. I really hope whatever candidates get elected can push improvements to orientation hard but expect resistance from the University.

Overall I think TMNT have a fairly uncontroversial suite of policies but a number of them are extremely difficult to achieve or are underway already. That isn’t unusual coming from an outsider ticket but TMNT have the current General Secretary and former Women’s Officer on board, which reeks of blatant populism. There is also a severe shortcoming in education policy. The Guild’s Education officer is elevated to the rank of Vice President, higher than sustainability or Indigenous or events, because education is absolute core of the Guild’s purpose. What is EVP candidate Dean Wicken’s position on breadth units? What does he think about the Liberal party’s proposed deregulation of fees? What about the cross subsidy of research and teaching? What about the availability of lecture recordings, of the flipped classroom, MOOCs etc. They don’t need positions on all these but TMNT need more education policy than “we will reboot Education Council.”

But then again, at least theirs is out. I look forward to TMNT elaborations on policy and Action to release theirs outside the broadsheet.

Sir Walter’s Café closes again

The Guild run, loss-making café shut its doors on Monday.

By Madura McCormack

Sir Walter’s Café closed its doors for the second time in three years this week, due to a ‘lack of patronage’.

The Guild run café was running at a loss, owing partly to a drop in student numbers and its poor location. It was closed once before, in the second half of 2013.

Tucked away in the middle of the library compound, Sir Walter’s provided food and coffee at discounted prices, and carried vegan and vegetarian options.

“We’re happy to charge less, as long as we pay the bills and have a little left over to support the wider activities. Sadly Walter’s has long been a challenging space for this and another drop in visitors this year has made it too difficult to continue,” Guild President Raeesah Khan said in a statement.

There are no plans to reopen the café for food in the short term, but The Guild says it is in discussion with the University to make the area available for students as a space for study and group work.

“There’s always people down there…the majority don’t buy Walter’s food but just use it as seating area for group work and study,” says Guild Manager Will Pereira.

Where are all the kids?

Apart from the stiff competition from the Food Court, Sir Walter’s has taken a hit from the sheer lack of students at Murdoch University due to the so called ‘half-cohort’.

All four public Uni’s in WA have seen their student numbers fall due to the minimum school age being changed in 2002, which has culminated this year with high school leaver numbers being almost half the usual amount.

According to the Guild Manager, the closing of Sir Walter’s will not have an overtly bad impact on the staff who work there, and they will have opportunity to move to Guild operated Café Kadj and Caffeine.

However The Guild will have to decrease its number of casual café staff, who are almost exclusively Murdoch Uni students.

Majority elected without a fight at last election

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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.

Guild Council votes for free sausages

As part of a new series, METIOR will be attending every Guild Council meeting, pre-digesting what your student politicians discuss, then filling you in. 

Think of Murdoch Guild Council Meetings like a sitting of parliament; just a bunch of democratically elected politicians discussing stuff in an attempt to get things done. This is what they talked about in August.

Voicing out

Held on Wednesday, August 12, the council meeting opened with Guild President Raeesah Khan mentioning that she ‘didn’t expect so much sexism this semester’, presumably directed at her.

Whether the sexism she is experiencing comes from other members of Guild Council or the general student population remains unclear.

Khan also mentioned the ongoing ‘Save Our Voice’ campaign.

The movement aims to ‘stop the WA Liberal Government from changing the laws to do with WA universities in a way that will silence the voice of staff and students’, according to the campaign’s website.

Posters have been put around campus with details of the campaign and how you can join in.

Education Vice President, Roland Belford, reminded Council about the upcoming ‘National Day of Action’ that was held Wednesday, August 19.

Save Our Voice campaign posters are up around Uni. Photo by: Madura McCormack

Save Our Voice campaign posters are up around Uni. Photo by: Madura McCormack

Guild Council Retreat

The idea of a ‘Guild Retreat’ on campus was introduced, with Khan suggesting it would bring members of Guild Council together.

UPDATE: The Guild Retreat is ‘not as a bonding exercise but to discuss the direction of the organisation’, Khan says.

In an email to the editor, Clubs and Societies Officer Brodie Skalko clarified that this event is far from a ‘fun day out’ and is intended to provide a platform for deep discussion and improvement within the Guild council.

Brodie Skalko proposed that $250 from the SSAF (Student Service and Amenities Fees) be used to fund food and drink at the retreat.

Sports Officer, Daniel McLerie, stepped in to oppose the idea, suggesting instead that everyone bring in their own food to save budget money.

Mystery man in the Clubs Room

The Clubs and Socs Room. Mystery man not pictured. Photo by: Madura McCormack

The Clubs and Socs Room. Mystery man not pictured.
Photo by: Madura McCormack

After much discussion, a motion was passed to lock the Clubs Room after 4pm after Clubs and Society’s officer Brodie Skalko reported that an unknown man has allegedly been using the recently renovated room as a place to live, with shavers and old jeans rumoured to have been found in the drawers.

She also reported that the room was constantly messy and trashed, despite the Guild having spent $1000 per annum refurbishing the room over the past four years.

Skalko also spoke of getting rid of certain ads on noticeboards around campus including those for cars and accommodation.

She reasoned that the boards were always cluttered and she was tired of having to clean them up.

Cluttered noticeboards, the ire of Brodie Skalko. Photo by: Madura McCormack

Cluttered noticeboards, the ire of Brodie Skalko. Photo by: Madura McCormack

Free barbeque

On a more edible note, the Guild Council passed a motion to have a free sausage sizzle for all students on campus every Wednesday for the next 15 weeks.

Khan said that this would cost about $2625, with the funds coming from the SSAF budget. This figure came from the approximate price of $100 a week for the food and $75 for staffing from the Tavern.

It was decided that staff from the Tavern would run the event while Guild Council members would help out if available in order to try and increase student engagement with the Guild and its members.

Cylindrical mystery meats being grilled during MarketDaze. Photo by: Madura McCormack

Cylindrical mystery meats being grilled during MarketDaze.           Photo by: Madura McCormack

Political changes

In political news, a motion was passed to propose a change in Guild election rules, which General Secretary Guy McDonald described as ‘draconian’.

This proposal will ask the University, who controls election guidelines, to allow political materials such as posters to be placed in all outdoor areas on campus and not just on the walls of Bush Court.

The draft motion included allowing potential Council members to campaign in lecture rooms and classrooms, however there was concern of ‘lecture-bashing’ amongst the Council where excess campaigning could turn students off from voting.

Mandurah campus improvements

More SSAF money will potentially be dedicated to improve Mandurah campus’ food and drink facilities after the Guild President received a petition with over 300 signatures demanding better amenities for students.

Guild Ball discount

A motion put forward by Khan proposed giving all Guild Council members up to 30 per cent off the price of Guild Ball tickets.

This will bring the price of a ticket down to around $84 for Guild Council members with all other students paying $120.

This motion was largely uncontested but no definitive action has been taken yet.

Some really expensive Guild event with alcohol and stuff

Some really expensive Guild event with alcohol and stuff                                         Source: The Guild

Collective Shout controversy

One of the last items discussed was the Collective Shout controversy that occurred recently.

To recap, the Guild planned for a speaker from Collective Shout, an controversial organisation, to speak at an event for SHAG Week [Sexual Health Awareness Guidance Week].

The speaker, Caitlin Roper, had reportedly already been paid, but this was found to be false.

The event was cancelled after student uproar regarding Collective Shout’s largely conservative views include the anti-abortion stance of its founder.

It was suggested that this classified as using SSAF fees as a political donation which is strongly discouraged and possibly illegal under the Higher Legislation Amendment (Student Services and Amenities) Act.

With numerous statements being made by previous Women’s Representative Rebecca Leighton on the Women’s Collective Facebook page, it was suggested during the meeting that all Guild-affiliated Facebook pages should have someone from Guild Council as co-admin.

No definitive action has been taken yet but this does stoke fears of censorship and the ability for Guild Council members to remove posts.

The meeting then started to get heated, as Skalko demanded an official statement on what exactly had happened.

McLerie then asked what other things the Guild Executive had voted on without consulting the other Council members, as the decision to cancel the event was done by Khan, Belford and McDonald without the other members’ knowledge.

On the agenda for the September meeting is the upcoming student elections as well as feedback from the Guild Retreat.

Your Murdoch Guild General Secretary, Guy McDonald. What a guy. Photo by: Madura McCormack

Your Murdoch Guild General Secretary, Guy McDonald. Photo by: Madura McCormack

Murdoch Women’s Collective in leadership meltdown

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New women’s representative quits 5 days after by-election

By Madura McCormack

Timeline

  • July 8: Women’s Representative Bianca Talbot quits in a Facebook post
  • July 21: Guild Council receives two nominations for new Women’s Rep
  • August 3: Rebecca Leighton wins by- election by one vote.
  • August 5: Leighton releases statement regarding her opposition to the invitation of a speaker for SHAG Week which was proposed by her predecessor and approved by the Guild
  • August 7: Rebecca Leighton resigns after disagreement with Guild members

It has been a tumultuous month for the Murdoch Women’s Collective, with incumbent representative Rebecca Leighton quitting after just 5 days in the post.

The final year law student won a tight by-election that was held to replace predecessor Bianca Talbot, who vacated her post in July.

Announcing her new role on August 3, Leighton quit soon after a public disagreement with the Guild over a decision that was made before she took office.

Fight over use of student funds

The former women’s representative, Bianca Talbot, had planned for a member of national feminist group Collective Shout to speak during the upcoming Guild sponsored SHAG Week [Sexual Health Awareness Guidance Week].

It was alleged that $600 had been paid to Caitlin Roper from Collective Shout following Guild approval to speak at the event, which will be about the objectification of women in the media.

The Guild has confirmed that the sum has not been paid, and are currently discussing whether the event should be cancelled.

UPDATE: The Guild has cancelled the event.

Leighton opposes the idea of having Collective Shout speak at the event, releasing a statement to voice her disapproval over what they advocate, and claims the speaker has no relevant credentials and is ‘just an activist’.

“I simply demanded accountability for the misuse of student funds and an opportunity to ensure all views were heard if these people were to speak at a Guild-sponsored event,” Leighton says.

Education Vice President Roland Belford says that while the funds would have come from the Student Services and Amenities Fee [SSAF], no guidelines were broken.

The SSAF is a compulsory fee paid by all students, with the amount depending on whether the student is external, internal, part-time or full-time. The amount is then split equally between the University and the Guild.

Belford says going ahead with the event would promote a dialogue across campus on intersectional feminism.

Guild President Raeesah Khan, who supports Leighton, says the event should be cancelled.

“Collective Shout is pro-life, victim blames and is transphobic… morally as the Guild that’s not what we want,” Khan says.

Women's Rep for 5 days and Education Vice President in 2011, Rebecca Leighton. Source: supplied

Women’s Rep for 5 days and Education Vice President in 2011, Rebecca Leighton.
Source: supplied

Previous drama

This episode follows on from the sudden resignation of Bianca Talbot on July 8, after a spat with Guild President Raeesah Khan on the Women’s Collective closed Facebook group.

Talbot, who has been in Switzerland for a human rights law course, left due to opposing political ideologies and ‘poor leadership’ by the Guild President, Khan says.

Update: Talbot denies this, stating that she resigned because she was “not allowed to represent those that are considered to be ‘conservative’ on campus“.

A by-election was then held within the Murdoch Women’s Collective, who like the Murdoch Queer Collective, enjoy autonomous voting.

This means the representative is elected by students in the collective and not by Guild Council.

9 out of approximately 100 members of the collective voted.

Due to recent events, the Guild has decided to switch back to the status quo. The next women’s representative must obtain 25 signatures of support from female-identifying students, after which the Guild will decide whether to accept the application, reject it, or leave the position vacant.

“I think it’s important because gender inequality still exists,” Khan says, on the relevance of the Women’s Collective.

“It’s important that women have an avenue to discuss the inequalities they face and to provide perspective to the governing body [Guild Council].”

The Murdoch Women’s Collective is part of the Student Guild and is ‘comprised of Female identifying Murdoch students who meet to discuss women’s specific issues on campus’, according to the Guild website.

Tune In

“Murdoch is changing into something. It’s starting to glue together and we just need that one more thing that says, ‘this is us’.”

That thing, according to Rabee Brian Daya, is a collective outlet that can project the voice of Murdoch University. This outlet will soon be known as Radio Murdoch.

Started by Brian and a handful of other radio and sound students, the idea developed from more than just a shared passion for radio, but to stretch their prowess and grow their knowledge base.

Following a broadcasting stint as part of a Radio Producing and Presenting unit (MCC244), those involved in Radio Murdoch found themselves thirsty for more.

“We built a show, we were broadcasting on community radio, and the unit ended so suddenly we had these skills but no chance to use them,” says Andrew Joseph, one of the founding members.

Essentially, they found themselves without a place to channel their fervour for radio. So they moved to create their own.

Listen up

The idea intensified and has now morphed into more than just the ‘Radio and Sound Club’ that started it off; Radio Murdoch wants to be the voice of the student body and aims to do that by getting everyone involved.

“All good things come with groups of like-minded people getting together,” says Brian, noting that the station is for all students, regardless of faculty.

Currently, plans are being hoisted off the ground so broadcasting can hopefully begin when Orientation Week rolls around. Radio Murdoch intends to infiltrate the airwaves from Mondays to Fridays, 12pm till 6pm.

Expect a medley of contrasting and differing shows, with the boys stating that students will have a high degree of creative freedom.

The programs will cater to all sorts of genres and not just a niche audience says Andrew, using Curtin University’s radio station as an example. Curtin Radio caters mainly to musical tastes that favour the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s according to the station’s website.

Because of this, the boys say they are wide open to working closely with the other clubs on campus. “We want to provide them with a voice,” says Brian. He describes the possibilities of working with the kids from Kulbardi, the Queer Collective and the Music Club with contagious zeal.

According to the boys, Radio Murdoch has already percolated the interests of students who aren’t doing media related courses. Impressively, they’ve already worked out how to effectively integrate their green recruits.

Sophistication and structure 

The club’s Education Manager will guide those who come on board without any prior radio training; a student with advanced radio knowledge that is able to teach them the ropes. This would involve workshops on how to use radio equipment, scripting, speech and even ethics.

Different programs will be run by separate groups of approximately 3 to 5 students, with each group having at least one person who has done MCC244 Radio Presenting and Producing. Apart from making it easier to obtain essential equipment and facilities, this also ensures Radio Murdoch stays within the highest ethical standards.

Every 2 hour program slot will have, at all times, an executive producer monitoring and listening to the broadcast like in a professional radio establishment. “We know better than to defame anyone,” Brian says.

The planning, structure and organization involved in Radio Murdoch is staggering and demonstrates a level of finesse not seen in your typical Murdoch University club or interest group.

“The back end [of radio] is quite a big thing; there are lots of people involved, presenters, producers, and also preparation leading up towards the show,” remarked Andrew.

For the immediate future, the boys have planned a fundraising event in Week 3 of this semester and arrangements are also being made to broadcast over the University’s PA system during lunchtime at the weekly Guild Market Daze.

Long-term, the crew hopes to obtain and maintain a radio frequency. For now Radio Murdoch will be based off an Internet live stream, which is cheaper. In 5 to 6 years, Brian hopes the station would have taken off and become comparable to the strength of once-upon-a-time UWA owned RTRFM.

“We have some big ideas. We are confident,” says Andrew.

Radio Murdoch has a monthly member’s mixer and regular meetings. For more information contact the club at radio.sound@hotmail.com or via Facebook