Major changes made at final Guild Council meeting

Madura McCormack

The final Guild meeting for the year has yielded some major changes for Murdoch students, with the axing of some Guild positions, changes to the Clubs Room and tough financial decisions.

The outgoing guard, helmed by Raeesah Khan, have removed a number of Guild Council positions, including the Rural Regional and Interstate representative and closed the Rockingham Student Association (RSA).

The RSA was considered obsolete in a campus that has less than a dozen students.

No RRI representative had been elected in the recent elections, a position last held by Alex Knoop.

In a move that has been floated for several months, the five Guild Councillor positions of Sports, Clubs and Socs, Events, Sustainability, and Social Justice have been axed to make way for seven ‘Ordinary Guild Councillors’.Screenshot 2015-12-04 14.25.18Screenshot 2015-12-04 14.19.14

These positions, according to the agenda, will be ‘voted by quota to council’, similar to voting in the Australian Senate.

Students seeking election as an Ordinary Guild Councillor will need to attain 12.5 per cent of the vote after preferences, with portfolios allocated to them by Guild Council.

“It means duties can be flexible with the changing times,” says outgoing Education Vice President Roland Belford.

“In 20 years who knows what the important values to the student body will be.”

Guild President Guy McDonald says the changes will need to go through Senate, and will affect the election scheduled for late 2016.

Room swap

A unanimous motion was passed to reallocate the Clubs Room to the Indigenous Collective.

Outgoing Clubs and Socs officer Brodie Skalko says the Guild wants to build up the Indigenous Collective, who before this did not have a room.

“The Indigenous Collective have a hierarchy structure that they can use to ensure the room is looked after,” she says.

Located in the Amenities block, the Queer and Women’s Collectives will also swap rooms, giving the Queer Collective three square metres more room and wheelchair accessibility.

“We’ve got a large number of active members and until now have had a space that was far too small, so it’s great that we’ve finally been able to expand a little,” says outgoing Queer Representative Ash Spring.

Bookshop to stay open

At the meeting held on November 30, the council opted to keep the loss-making Guild Bookshop open after heavy discussion on cost-cutting measures.

Although the closing of the bookshop would have saved almost $50,000 in SSAF money, the risk of losing vital services such as the sale of second-hand books, Guild sticker distribution and Student SmartRiders proved too high.

In order to keep the bookshop open, the positions of Guild Shop manager and assistant manager have been made redundant, while the Tavern assisting manager will be made a casual position.

The operating expenses for the bookshop is budgeted at $230,000 for 2016 but revenue should offset a bulk of the cost.

The Clubs and Socs Room now for the Indigenous Collective. Photo by: Madura McCormack

The Clubs and Socs Room now for the Indigenous Collective.
Photo by: Madura McCormack

Student Hub

Council has also offered guidance to the architects of the planned student hub.

In what is described as an ‘ambitious’ plan, the Student Hub is expected to take over much of the Refectory side of Bush Court and is slated for 2017.

The Guild passed a motion to endorse a dedicated spaces for Indigenous students close to Kulbardi, queer-identifying students and women.

Murdoch’s student representative body also wants “the entire student hub project to utilise best practice in accessible building design” for inclusion of students with disability.

METIOR Policy

In collaboration with the current editor, outgoing Education Vice President Roland Belford wrote a new METIOR policy to reflect the publication’s move to online.

Changes were made to the selection process of future editors; with the new policy ensuring the next person “shall be appointed from among the Murdoch student body by the Guild President and outgoing Editor”.

In the old policy, it was “recommended” that the METIOR editor be a current or previous student of the university.

The magazine is in the process of securing at least one print run, with the edition out by February 22, 2016.

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.

Cowabunga! TMNT takes majority of Guild Council

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By Madura McCormack

The Murdoch Now Team, headed by Guy McDonald, has emerged as the overall winners of the 2015 Murdoch student elections.

This year marks the largest voter turnout since 2011, with 4113 votes across 15 ballots.

The new Guild Executive, which will take office from 1 December, will be headed by Guy McDonald as President and Andy Hunter as General Secretary.

“We ran with a positive policy platform for making university life here more engaging, fun and vibrant and I look forward to working to continue the great work of previous Presidents like Raeesah Khan and Roland Belford,” says McDonald, paying homage to his predecessors.

“Between our two active campaigns we’ve more than quadrupled the number of votes cast in the student elections. I think that’s a huge win in and of itself.”

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Guild President Guy McDonald. Source: Supplied

Brodie Skalko, from ACTION, will be the new Education Vice President. She won the position by 30 votes to oust Dean Wicken.

“She bucked the trend and won an executive spot despite her ticket not taking out the election majority. She is obviously hugely deserving and I look forward to working with her on council next year,” says Wicken, who will join council as External Representative.

Skalko says she is ‘gutted’ that Troy Treeby from ACTION has not been elected, calling him an ‘inspirational influence on council’ this year.

“I endeavour next year to fulfil my personal promise, which was also a priority of TMNT; to reboot Education Council,” she says.

Other elected members of the ACTION ticket are Sustainability Officer Lauren Hodson and Events Officer Rachel Davidson.

TMNT’s candidate for Events Officer was disqualified when polls opened because he is not a registered member of the Guild.

“Congratulations to the incoming council, regardless of the political differences I would hope that everyone can work together to do the right thing by students,” says Troy Treeby, who has been elected together with Guy McDonald as student representatives on Senate.

Out of the 9 ballots contested for Guild Council, 6 have been filled by TMNT candidates.

Independent presidential candidate Ferhan Siddiqi retains his president of the Murdoch International Student Association.

The positions of MUPSA, Mandurah Student Association and Rockingham Student Association President remain vacant.

“Thanks to the students of Murdoch for putting up with us campaigning this last week. Big thanks to those who engaged with us and voted. Bigger thanks still to those who are voted even though they’re about to leave Murdoch- people voting entirely for others than themselves was actually quite touching,” says McDonald.

Position Elected Ticket Stupol Experience
Guild President Guy McDonald TMNT 2012: Sustainability Officer

2015: General Secretary

Education VP Brodie Skalko Action 2015: Clubs Officer
General Secretary Andy Hunter TMNT 2015: President of Murdoch Student Law Society
Murdoch Post Grad Student Association [MUPSA] President Vacant    
MUPSA VP Undergrad Samuel Edge (unopposed) Independent
MUPSA VP Postgrad Vacant    
MISA President Ferhan Siddiqi (unopposed) Independent 2015: MISA President
Clubs Officer Darian Whyte TMNT  
Events Officer Rachel Davidson Action  
Social Justice Officer Carmel Hooshmand TMNT  
Sports Officer Bianca Talbot TMNT 2015: Women’s Representative
Sustainability Officer Lauren Hodson Action  
External Representative Dean Wicken TMNT  
Disability Representative Megan Browne

(unopposed)

  2014 & 2015: Disability Representative
Queer Representative Jacintha Kenny

(unopposed)

Action  
Indigenous Representative Ashleigh Lindsay

(unopposed)

  2015: Indigenous Representative
Women’s Representative Claire Brodie

(unopposed)

TMNT  
Rural Remote and Interstate Rep Vacant    

Guild Elections: Everyone just chill the f#ck out

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by Madura McCormack

Student election season has gone into hyperdrive, with voting now open and the stupollies going hard and fast on Bush Court.

I’d first like to acknowledge that METIOR remains impartial, especially in the wake of contributor and outgoing EVP Roland Belford’s endorsement of the ACTION ticket. Roland recently analysed both TMNT’s and ACTION’s policies. He ran under the ACTION ticket in 2014 and the analysis must be read with that bias in mind.

Tensions have escalated since Monday October 2 when a formal complaint was lodged by ACTION against the TMNT ticket for an alleged breach of election rules. That friendly political animosity/ atmosphere seems to be on the verge of breaking out into some kind of political faction stabbing session. Which is why I say,

lemur-meme-generator-everybody-just-calm-down-1c5a00

Now, let’s talk about this election thing and what’s been going on in simple english.

There are two frontrunning tickets, ACTION and TMNT because lets be honest, the independent candidates don’t appear to have enough support or ground presence to be elected into office.

The ACTION team, lead by Troy Treeby is openly a left-leaning party. They can do this because Murdoch University is traditionally leftist, and the student body generally accepts this political idealogy.

ACTION Logo. Source: Facebook

ACTION Logo. Source: Facebook

Troy is a member of the WA Greens, and has supported Senator Scott Ludlam on his campaign trail. Also a member of the Murdoch University Sustainability Team and organizer of World Student Environment Network [WSEN] 2015, Troy is as green as they come. His autobiography will be titled ’50 Shades of Kale’.

His running partner Gavin Scolaro [General Secretary], is affiliated with the Socialist Alliance, a registered political party that “advocates for a democratic society run by and for working people, not the greedy, destructive capitalist elite that now rules”, according to its website. Scolaro refers to his external pol party as the ‘friendly socialists’, because the other guys, Socialist Alternative are considered slightly… unhinged.

METIOR understands no one else in the ACTION ticket is part of a political party.

Over at The Murdoch Now Team, Guild president candidate Guy McDonald noted during yesterday’s presidential debate that he is a registered member of the WA Greens. Guy, who seems more comfortable working behind the scenes, can be seen here and here with the Greens.

TMNT Logo. Source: Facebook

TMNT Logo. Source: Facebook

Now to what has been making the online Murdoch community lose its collective shit and initiated the unsavoury mud-slinging that’s going on.

It has become apparent that the ‘Liberal’ brand at Murdoch University is highly toxic. Any mention of the word is met with dirty looks, a frenzied dash for rotten tomatoes and pitchforks.

The Murdoch Now Team has been copping flak for having at least two candidates who are affiliated with the WA Young Liberals. They are Dean Wicken, running for EVP and Darian Whyte, running for Clubs Officer. The general consensus online is that TMNT is a Liberal ticket running under the camouflage of a Green president.

Guy McDonald considers his ticket ‘centrist’. Dean Wicken has come out to defend the ticket, calling TMNT ‘diverse’ and was shutdown about half a second later.

Admittedly, the TMNT Guild Executive is a boys club, something the Guild hasn’t seen in recent memory. In a female majority university where the Guild was helmed by a woman in 2012, 2013 and 2015, this has come back to bite the ticket.

But the bigger question here is, has debate been stiffled at Murdoch because of its long leftist tradition?

This appears to be so, judging from the exchanges happening online and the (arguable) reluctance of Dean and Darian to openly admit that they are members of the WA Young Liberals.

For a previous article on the Women’s Collective fiasco, I sat down to speak with former Women’s rep Bianca Talbot and current candidate for Sports Officer with TMNT. She noted that there is no room for debate at Murdoch, and while she is welcome to her views being challenged, there is no constructive opportunity to do this. Whether this is true is itself up for debate.

I urge all Guild candidates and voters to remember that we are all people and to act in an honourable fashion. Throwing knives at each other is a lot less productive than mature discussion.

Voting remains open until midnight on Thursday, and I implore all students to read ACTION‘s and TMNT‘s policy and vote for whichever candidate you believe will best represent your needs. Thankfully it already looks like the voter turnout will surpass the weak showing of 2014.

No quendas running for 2016 Guild Council

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By Madura McCormack

Murdoch student election nominations are in, with two official tickets and what is slated to be a three-way fight for Guild President.

After running mostly unopposed in the last election, the ‘Action’ ticket is back for another political season, this time with outgoing Sustainability officer Troy Treeby at the helm.

‘Action’ faces some actual competition this year, in the form of the ‘TMNT’ or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles ‘The Murdoch Now Team’ ticket, fronted by outgoing General Secretary Guy McDonald.

There appears to be a few students running independently, with current MISA [Murdoch International Student Assoc] President Ferhan Siddiqi taking a stab at the Guild President role and relative unknown Adrian Gallo running for four different positions.

This election season will see 38 per cent of positions being filled unopposed, a massive swing from 2014, where 73 per cent of student leaders ran without a fight.

Unfortunately, there are no quendas or other marsupials running in this year’s election, a blow to the critters that are actually on campus.

The 'Action' Team. Source: Supplied

The ‘Action’ Team. Source: Supplied

The main promises

The ‘Action’ ticket includes outgoing Clubs Officer Brodie Skalko as EVP hopeful, with the team looking to re-launch ‘Education Council’ which has been inactive for four years.

Running alongside Guy McDonald will be Andy Hunter for General Secretary and Dean Wicken for EVP.

The ‘TMNT’ ticket intends to install a ‘Guild Treasurer’, who will be in-charge of publishing the yearly budget. There is also talk by TMNT to bring puppies and kittens on campus for Stamp Out Stress Day.

Guy McDonald from TMNT. Photo by: Madura McCormack

Guy McDonald from TMNT. Photo by: Madura McCormack

Both tickets are promising to extend library hours during exam time.

In other positive news, there are actual people running for the School Boards seats, with 9 out of 16 positions having at least one candidate. This is up from the 4 positions filled in 2014.

Check out the full broadsheets here and stay tuned to METIOR for election updates.

Voting opens October 5 and closes October 8.

 

 

 

 

Guildsplainer: The un-official guide to who does what in Murdoch Student Politics.

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There’s less than a week to go until nominations close and #MUpol kicks into high gear. Which means campaigning and sledging and all that fun politics stuff. Onions anyone?

Unlike our brethren in UWA, Curtin and everyone else who actually rank in some chart somewhere, Murdoch tends to not give a shit. Last year, 73 per cent of student representatives were elected unopposed. That is a Distinction for the unit of zero fucks given.

But what is stopping Murkids from being MurPollies and running for office? Probably because no one knows it’s bloody happening and what the positions entail.

So here’s a breakdown of who does what, and where they stand in the hierarchy of things.

The Big 4

There are four major divisions in the Murdoch StuPol [Student Politics] world; Academic Council, Senate, Guild Council and the Murdoch Uni Post Graduate Student Association [MUPSA].

In total there are 46 positions that need to be filled this year [including student reps on School Boards], and like a game of chess, certain people will wield more power than others.

One kickass Venn diagram explaining the MUpol universe, made by MS Word whiz kid Madura McCormack

One kickass Venn diagram explaining the MUpol universe, made by MS Word whiz kid Madura McCormack

Senate

“If the University were a company, the Senate would be its board,” says Returning Officer, Trudi McGlade.

Basically the Senate is the Big Boss, the Supreme Overlord of decision-making that takes advice from Academic Council.

Two students are elected to this role, and their main task is to make sure shit doesn’t hit the fan when people with power make all encompassing decisions.

When asked what Senate members achieved last year, outgoing Education Vice President and 2014 Senate rep Roland Belford says, “Uhhh… we sacked the VC?”

Damn straight. Senate members are involved in the appointment and performance management of the Vice-Chancellor. Murdoch is currently looking for one after the last guy was reported to the Corruption and Crime Commission.

catvoteAcademic Council

The Senate governs, but the Academic Council is where all the action is. These guys deal with academic matters, which in a University, is basically what makes it function.

Kind of like the butter on Vegemite toast, student representation is spread thick on Academic Council because it’s needed.

Apart from the one undergrad and one regional student that is elected straight into Academic Council, Murkids can get on it by being:

  • Guild President
  • Education Vice President
  • General Secretary
  • MUPSA Pres
  • MUPSA Vice Pres 1
  • MUPSA Vice Pres 2

Which brings us to the next lot in the mob, who juggle the never-ending list of students needs and 50 per cent of the entire SSAF budget. [Note: The Guild has a whole fleet of permanent staffers who deal with those touchy corporate things, Student Politicians don’t actually move money around, they allocate.]

Guild Council

Within Guild Council live its slightly more powerful head-honchos called the Guild Executive.

By and large these positions are the most sought after and are arguably the most visible MurPollies on campus. Fun fact: Federal MP for Melbourne, Adam Bandt was Murdoch Guild President in 1994.

The Guild President, Education Vice President and General Secretary are the only 3 paid positions in the whole Murdoch StuPol universe.

Belford, who was Guild President in 2014, says the pay rate is equivalent to the “people cleaning toilets in Parliament House”.

Student positions in The Guild. Graphics: Made in Inforgram by Madura McCormack

Students who are elected into these positions need not do any units, but that’s not a rule or anything. Basically it’s hard work that takes up a lot of time outside of the maximum hours you can actually get paid for each week.

METIOR understands there is no such thing as a ‘Guild Executive Pension’.

Joining them is a motley crew of student representatives and officers, each with their own portfolio.

There’s the Guild Officers;

  • Social Justice
  • Events
  • Clubs and Societies
  • Sports
  • Sustainability

Together, they form SECSS. But don’t forget the Reps;

  • Queer
  • Disability
  • Indigenous
  • Women’s
  • Rural, Remote and Interstate
  • External

BUT WAIT, there’s more. The Murdoch International Students Association President, currently Ferhan Siddiqi, also sits on Guild Council. As does the MUPSA President we previously met on Academic Council and their not-at-South Street friends Rockingham Student Association President and Mandurah Student Association President.

Due to the dwindling student numbers at Rockingham Campus — student Population: 7– there is talk of removing the position altogether.

How do I nomz- (1)Good lord, are we done?

No. Sit down and be still. There are also 16 positions to be filled on the 8 School Boards.

These are the positions that go unfilled year after year after year. Apart from the School of Law, who actually has its shit together, no one nominates themselves for the 1 undergrad, 1 postgrad position.

School Board Student Representatives, or SchoBoStuReps as they are now called, are the ones responsible for recommending units and courses to be offered within the School and have academic oversight of the units.

They are the ones who can actually do something about the shithouse unit that has three essays with no actual direction and a lecture at 8:30am.

Damn son, I better do something

Hells yeah you should. Nominations close 4pm September 23 and campaigning will begin at 10am the same day.

To nominate yourself, grab the forms online or in person and hand them in with a 400 word bio and a snazzy headshot of your gorgeous face.

If being in a leadership position does not sound enticing at all, remember that voting is still muy bueno.

Source: University Secretary's Office. www.murdoch.edu.au

Source: University Secretary’s Office. http://www.murdoch.edu.au

In order to vote or nominate, you must be a Murdoch University student and cannot be an employee of the University. Anyone going for a spot on Guild Council must be a Guild member.

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