Glass invited all candidates to submit a statement about why they’re running in the Guild elections and why you should vote for them. This statement is being published as received from the candidate.
My name is Georgie Dobbs and I am running as a candidate for the position of Engineering Councillor and NUS Delegate as part of Left Action. Left Action is an activist ticket made up of Socialist Alternative and other left-wing students. We believe in putting forth an alternative view of student unionism, one that would see the QUT Guild transformed into a body that fights for students rights.
Right now, the QUT Guild is run more like a business. The people who have previously run the Guild have prioritised organising a bunch of frivolous, immaterial social events which have done nothing to address the issues important to students such as cost of living. This is why we need activism. Collective organisation and action is the grounds on which all the rights we have today have been won. Student unionism is a large and important part of that radical legacy and it’s a legacy that we want to see restored.
The problems facing students have only gotten more severe. The cost of living crisis has seen the price of everyday essentials sky-rocket, sending thousands more students into poverty. Meanwhile, multi-billion dollar companies, and our own millionaire Vice Chancellor, rake in the profits. The housing crisis and lack of affordable and accessible student accommodation has meant that students have been left out to dry. Increases in HECS mean that students now owe thousands more in debt which has only exacerbated the cost of living crisis. Cost of living is the biggest problem facing students right now, and it is one that the Labor Party have refused to act upon. Protesting gives us power to fight against the system and demand better. And it’s not just a strategy to fight, but also to win.
Left Action fights not just for better rights for students, but believes that unions should take stances on all sorts of political and societal issues such as racism, sexism, homophobia, and the environment. This involves standing against our own Australian Government and calling them out for their hypocritical policies. This is even more important given how this recent Labor Government has proven that they are not a Government interested in the needs of students and workers, but want to rule in the interests of the rich.
Left Action have been involved in the organisation of protests against spending for the rich and the military, and are for immediate climate action. This year we also counter-protested transphobe Posie Parker on her speaking tour of Australia, which has ensured she’ll never return to spread her bigotry. Our group attended the strike of the Mint my Desk retail workers and QUT students as they fought their bosses for minimum wage, pay slips, penalty rates, and superannuation. These are all things the union should throw its resources into.
Left Action want to use their positions in the union to organise bigger campaigns that draw more students into the fight for our rights. Student unions aren’t about sitting behind a desk or shaking hands behind closed doors, but are about organising students around the issues that affect them. Right now, the welfare and education of QUT students has taken a backseat to the administration’s ambitions and it’s high time we saw a change in that.
For an activist union, vote 1 Left Action for Environment Officer, NUS and SRC.