NUS Thursday Ballot

12 December 2019

Ballots will be cast this morning, determining the National Union of Students (NUS) leadership for 2020. Ahead of today’s vote, Farrago can confirm the results of many key positions that now stand unopposed following withdrawals from candidates. Votes are being cast until 1:30 pm by NUS delegates and proxies outside Studio Theatre in the building. 

Farrago will be live-blogging from outside Studio Theatre in building M at Federation University, Ballarat, as votes are cast for the national office bearers.

Before we start, here’s a short recap of the main factions present at the National Conference (NatCon) this year. NUS is made up of organised factions, some with ties to youth wings of political parties. Each faction elects delegates annually to attend NatCon. Student Unity (Labor Right) is currently the most prominent faction, controlling just over 50% of the floor. This faction has the majority. As the second-largest faction, the National Labor Students (NLS, Labor Left) faction is represented by 17% of the delegates. The Grassroots/Independents (GI, Grindies) faction controls about 15% of the conference floor. The Socialist Alternative (SAlt, Trots) faction constitutes approximately 12% of NUS delegates. A small group of the remaining delegates are from the Australian Liberal Students Federation (Liberals) faction (4%). 

The week has seen key policy debated that will set the NUS campaign agenda for 2020. NUS brings together student unions from affiliated universities around the country. The University of Melbourne Student Union set aside sixty-five thousand dollars in the 2019 budget forecast for NUS affiliation, making NatCon an important and relevant forum that decides how allocated funds of our SSAF fees are filtered out to campaigns. 

A motion passed on Tuesday to officially ban filming on the conference floor again this year. In a further blow to student journalists, a motion was put forward on Wednesday that “encouraged” student media to “comply with journalistic integrity standards”. A SAlt attendee described the motion as a “waste of time” and called for the floor to move onto more pressing issues. 

A joint motion by student media covering NatCon stating “our job… is to report on every aspect of the conference, be it policy, conflict, or floor conduct” was signed by NLS, Grindies and SAlt. The majority faction Student Unity refused to sign, stopping the student media motion from going to the floor. When approached for comment, members of Student Unity told Farrago that they would only sign a motion in which student media accepted blame.  

Outgoing 2019 UMSU President Molly Willmott from National Labor Students became the 2020 NUS National President. Willmott was elected unopposed following withdrawals from other candidates.

At 10 pm on Wednesday, Willmott and former candidates for the presidency Jordan Mumford from Unity and Jasmine Duff from SAlt presented statements to the conference floor. Farrago will be speaking with Willmott this afternoon about the Student Unity sweetheart deal with NLS. 

Following withdrawals yesterday, Dashie Prasad from Univerity of Technology, Sydney and Natalie Acreman from RMIT University have been elected unopposed as National Queer/LGBTQI Officers. The NUS National Education Officer has also been elected unopposed following withdrawals, with the spot going to Lincoln Aspinall from the University of Western Australia. Ali Amin from the University of Western Australia has been elected unopposed as the National Welfare Officer. Humaira Nasrin from the University of New South Wales has been elected as National Women’s Officer and Vinil Kumar from the University of Sydney has been elected unopposed as the National Ethno-Cultural Officer.

You can view the full list of current nominees published by the NUS secretariat here.

Still to be called today are key positions including the general executive, National Disability Officer and National Small and regional campuses officer. Counting will begin after lunch today. 

Farrago can report NatCon’s signature infighting and faction chanting are present this year, and yes, we have been given a copy of Red Flag.



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