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Election season has reached the University of Tasmania, and the majority of students probably couldn’t care less.

This year the Tasmanian University Union (TUU) elections have a severe lack of candidates due to rejected nominations, and the only ballot ticket is the highly organised and well funded MORE for TUU; a rebranded campaign bred from last year’s Phoenix, which shares a collective ambition based around socialist principles.

Foregoing the expense and wastage of their indiscriminate billposting, one certain tagline on a poster was completely laughable. The belief that “more democracy” will be brought by them in this election is a blatant lie. Most nominees from MORE have been elected unopposed or must undergo approval ballot. Given that roughly a thousand people voted last year, the idea of true representation is thin.

12165882_10153396501888089_1903551199_n12166813_10153396501878089_48116817_nOn top of the daily leafletting, quite strangely Heidi La Paglia and Ness Paterson who
are running to be National Union of Students (NUS) representatives have used the notorious dating app Tinder as a platform for campaigning. Clearly the desperation for votes in the
MORE camp must be running high.

I am cynical about elections this year, and how the next TUU administration will represent the student body. Holding the responsibility which they do, it is surprising to hear that this year TUU North passed a four-figure Facebook advertising budget, or TUU South got mad about a Mexican-themed barrel. I would have thought there were more important things to consider, but politics tends to get in the way.

Aligning with a certain socio-political agenda, party or non-governmental organisation in the way the TUU has devolved over the past few years, is an abhorrent way of providing representation to the student body, since it threatens to alienate individuals who do not wish to partake in the perpetuation of politicised ideals. Students are divided on many issues like divestment or student fee usage, and knowing that their advocacy group is biased towards their individual beliefs and liberties is antagonistic.

The TUU’s social media presence alone is questionable. Their main Facebook page shares various left-wing activist campaigns, and has liked a few Labor Party pages. It is no secret that political parties and agendas are involved within Tasmanian student politics just as much as in interstate universities.

It seems with the election there is going to be little change in the system, as MORE has wiped the board and makes up a significant proportion of the ballot. Evidently, I am sure many others would have nominated had it not been for the disinterest many students share with politics.

I really wonder if the TUU embodies an organisation that provides student advocacy and representation, since there is a sideshow of social justice and political biases. Agenda politics are not necessary, but sadly the influence of students or groups mean that we must hold our elected representatives accountable.

Still, students can make their choice by voting Yes or No to the unopposed, and number all of the boxes in the contests. Making a decision is important, and whilst I understand students might not care, the election can only be representative if people vote. Take the time to consider who you would want to represent you next year.

The sooner the campaigning is over, the better.


The opinions expressed on the Togatus website are not those of the Togatus staff or the publishers.

  • Show Comments

  • Mark rosen

    *click* nice..

  • Stephen McCallum

    I think it’s a long bow to connect campaign innovation to ‘desperation’ for votes. Isn’t the very idea of campaigning in an election to get more votes? If so, how is it a bad thing that people are trying to be more effective at getting more votes?

    Mathew obviously a politically aware student with time on your hands. If Mathew is truly so concerned about the direction of the TUU, why didn’t Mathew nominate for a position?

    I think the truth is that Mathew knows that his socially outdated views on social issues would not have been popular among students and saved himself the shame of facing the ballot box. It’s ironic that the person who believes that representatives must be held accountable has denied students the chance to hold him accountable.

    Should More be held responsible for Mathew’s failure to nominate and cause a contested ballot?

  • Ben Peelman

    Stephen McCallum: To clarify your understanding of campaigning a little – was Andrew Wilkie in 2010 campaigning for legislative action on the pokies issue, or campaigning for election? Both. Was Andrew Wilkie in 2010 campaigning for any issue, or simply for re-election? So “campaigning” has a slightly ambiguous meaning, this is taken advantage of by both politicians and media, in this case the politicians being MORE student politicians, and the media being TOGATUS.
    Personally, I like to see campaigning as something more than simply election campaigning – there are social justice campaigns, “raising awareness” campaigns etc… Perhaps one rule of thumb for a campaign might be: how much attention is being drawn to the discussion around, and solutions for, an issue that can actually be solved, and how much attention is being drawn towards the campaigners themselves? Apply this rule of thumb to “progressive” student politicians and you can often throw away half their supposed political goals as being irrelevant to the level of politics they are in.

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