Reform will be the dominant faction at next year’s Student Representative Council, securing twelve of fourteen executive positions, and five of ten faculty councillor positions. The team also secured three NUS delegate positions.
Left Action have secured only three faculty councillor positions, as well as four of the seven available NUS delegates. This is a drop from last year, and a surprise for the ticket, who expected to take home the Environment Officer position again for incumbent Isabella Foley. Instead, newcomer and independent Milani Rawlinson pipped Foley to the post by a single vote.
Most students who secured positions in the SRC did so by default due to no other student nominating. A full list of the new SRC and NUS delegates is set out at the end of this article.
Returning Officer Peter Travers made the announcement today at the Botanic Bar on Gardens Point campus, with around 30 students in attendance.
A two-day period for appeals has now begun, after which the provisional results will be certified if unchallenged.
Only 673 students voted in the election, which is almost double last year’s turnout but still troublingly low in a university with more than 50,000 students.
In a speech, President-elect Aaron Bui thanked the Returning Officer and his team, as well as Guild staff for the “great job” they did running the election, and everyone who participated in the election.
“Despite the adversities and bias we experienced throughout this election, I think we still came out on top. So to those critics, I’d like to extend an olive branch and hope we will work together in a professional and mutually respectful manner in the next term.”
Bui refused to clarify to Glass what he meant by “adversities and bias” the Reform ticket experienced during the election, saying that despite giving the speech in the middle of the Bot Bar at a public Guild event, it “wasn’t necessarily directed at the student body” and wasn’t aware Glass was going to report what he said. Without further clarification, it’s unclear what Bui was referring to – the rumoured tensions within the Reform ticket, the other candidates, Glass election coverage, the running of the election by the RO and GPS, or something else entirely.
“I just want to stress that without the Reform ticket, we would be facing a half-empty list of office-bearers right now. So all I’m saying is that this demonstrates the passion and dedication we have for the students…”Bui said.
“Reform made sure that we formed a team that comprised of undergrads, masters, PhD students that come from domestic and international backgrounds. Some of us are queer, some of us are living with disabilities, some of us are people of colour. We are a diverse team, because we represent a diverse [student body].”
“I’m truly excited to be working with this team next year and tackle issues like student engagement and student participation, banning the 0% late policy, and increasing representation for postgrad and international students.”
“I’m really looking forward to working with the Guild staff, because as Peter said, drawing on their experience will really help us achieve our goals…student engagement and participation will be our top priority.”
“In order to achieve these goals, I think we will require all stakeholders at the Guild to come together and join forces, and I really do hope that we can set aside our differences.”
Returning Officer Peter Travers’ speech before the announcement of results reflected the nuances of the tensions within the Guild this year, and the importance of the SRC working collaboratively with other parts of the Guild in order to make change for students.
“Be respectful of all the other people who are in the Guild – the employed staff, the Board members, people in the university. Everybody’s got a skill or a quality and experience base they bring to their role….[for the SRC] – go in with an open mind and accept that there are things you can learn off these people. They will be able to learn things from you, they will be able to do their job better by be able to communicate with you, and you sharing your experiences and saying “this is what we need the Guild to do for the students of QUT.”
“They have a multitude of experience in Board management, governance, health and safety, representation of small and larger groups – that’s what they do for a living.”
“The SRC members that are coming through, you’ll pass through for a very short period. You’re a custodian of that function for a 12 month period before you hand it over to someone else. These guys are here at the end of that 12 months and they’re going to pick up another SRC, and run for another 12 months.”
“So to keep the corporate knowledge moving forward, and to keep the Guild strong and allow it to represent the students against the university. You are stronger together…You genuinely are going to be a better organisation if you are hand in glove.”
“The university, for all of its good work that it will do, has its own agenda. They are trying to do a certain thing, and they are trying to achieve a certain thing. Don’t be naïve to think that your own agenda will always align with [the University’s]. And if you need to advocate to change their perspective, or change their agenda, or change their policies, that’s going to be a lot more effective if the SRC, and the Board, and the employed staff are all working together.”
“You’ve got 12 months where you’ve got to work hard. Don’t waste that time.”
Yesterday, we asked QUT students how they voted and why, which elicited a wide range of responses. Overall, the student perspectives we gathered seem to indicate that voters where were somewhat dismayed by the lack of candidates and more likely to pick who to vote for based on who they didn’t want in office, rather than because they passionately supported any candidate or ticket.
“I voted independent for the one option I got… because I don’t like a far left Guild. Additionally, I voted all over the place for NUS, but with independents first, just to screw with the establishment.”
“I voted for Left Action as I feel Reform does not hold the students best interests at heart. At the crux, student unions fight for student rights. Both on a uni level and a federal level. And Left Action appears to be the group which carry that balance. Reform, as a whole, seem to not care. Which was obvious in their lack of presence through campaigning and online. Left Action is everywhere. And I think that’s great.
I also found it unsettling that Reform had a monopoly on the exec positions, with no one else appearing to challenge or contest, so to have variance when it comes to council and NUS positions provides balance. We want inclusive and diverse voices – not a dictatorship.”
“Reform  on top! I believe that they are planning to make attainable goals met!”
“Voted abstain on all candidates. The Guild is a non stop source of drama that eats up my amenities fees. The only thing they did that remotely effects me is the extension situation, which has been effectively negated by QUT and never addressed the baseline problem.
Other problems: The election participation rate is abysmal. As per Glass’ reporting, the last one had 350 votes, of which roughly 50 were likely the candidates themselves, meaning the majority of votes were likely friends of the candidates. Combined with the fact that elections are held at the ass end of the semester (thereby reducing participation a la student voice survey), the guilds claim to represent the student body is borderline non existent.
Half the candidates didn’t have actual manifestos
Of the ones that did, a significant chunk had leftist agendas. I don’t have a problem with this, and am leftist myself, but how does campaigning to end AUKUS improve our lives as students?”
“Dissolve the QUT SRC!”
“I voted for a mix of Left Action and independents because most of those students hadn’t been involved in the Guil and I think it’s good to have fresh meat. I’m part of the Guild and I’m concerned about what a more conservative Reform SRC would mean for the future of the organisation.”
These responses, and those we’ve heard on the ground, indicate that rather than voting for the SRC they want, QUT students are voting for the SRC they don’t want – which is hardly a convincing mandate, but is a smidgen stronger than last year’s.
Newly elected SRC members will start their terms on 1 December 2023.
Thank you for following the Glass coverage of the Guild Elections 2023. Over the election period, we have published 11 articles and 23 candidate statements, produced a 48-page magazine and distributed more than 1,800 copies, run two How to Run a Ticket workshops, and done about 10 days on the ground handing out magazines and election cupcakes to students! It was great to have you along for the ride. Time for a drink…(and some assignment catch-up).
Big, BIG thanks to our wonderful GPS staff, volunteers and interns who helped make all of this happen. You know you’re the best.
The following candidates have been elected to 2023 positions:
President – Aaron Bui (Reform)*
Secretary – Juliet Veskova (Reform)*
Treasurer – Usama Shafiq (Reform)*
Welfare Officer – Tegan O’Connor (Reform)*
Education Officer – Archer Skinner (Reform)*
Clubs and Societies Officer – Muskan Sharma (Reform)*
Engagement Officer – Deepika Sharma (Reform)*
Environment Officer – Milani Rawlinson (independent)
Womens Officer – Lauren Cuthbert (Reform)*
Disability Officer – Ethan Johnstone (Reform)*
Queer Officer – Eli Spencer (Reform)*
International Students Officer – Moin Rahman (Reform)
Postgraduate Students Officer – Mal Fituch (Reform)
Disability Officer – Ethan Johnstone (Reform)*
Media Editor – “Peachy for Glass”*: Celeste Muller, Ben Steele, Jess Morgan, Jacinta Rosetto, Tione Zylstra
Business & Law Councillor – Jasper Bennett (independent) & Georgia Fisher (Reform)
Engineering Councillor – Jasper Vermeulen (Reform) & Georgie Dobbs (Left Action)
Health Councillor – Arya Chaudhari (Reform)
Science Councillor – Courtney-Elyce Lewis (Reform) & Daniel Soltermann (Left Action)
CIESJ Councillor – Erin Milne (Left Action) & Ella O’Brien (Reform)
Board members – Zephaniah Behan-Howell & Andrew Nguyen-Vo
National Union of Students Delegates (NUS)
- Isabella Foley (Left Action)
- Aaron Bui (Reform)
- Archer Skinner (Reform)
- Deepika Sharma (Reform)
- Georgie Dobbs (Left Action)
- Erin Milne (Left Action)
- Elowyn Gampe (Left Action)
* = elected unopposed
The following positions will remain vacant at the start of 2023:
First Nations Officer – only one nomination which was received late
Health Councillor – only two nominees, one of whom withdrew their candidacy