Another Tasmania University Union (TUU) election season has passed, with Jess Robinson taking the top job as President with 493 votes to Saffire Grant’s 104. 13 informal votes were submitted. Although both campaigns were largely apolitical, Robinson’s campaign was managed by current President and Young Liberal Clark Cooley, with Grant backed by the UTas Labor Society. Each year, the season brings together veterans of UTas student politics, banding to get their candidates elected.
Sharifah Syed-Rohan, the current Welfare Officer South and President of the UTas Labor Society, was elected by confirmation ballot as Campus President South. Although she is aligned with the Labor Party, Rohan has advocated for an apolitical TUU. Her how to vote cards suggested students vote for Robinson as President and Jessie Branch as Regional Secretary, both of whom were elected last week.
Also elected were fellow members of #JessWeCan: Arno Dubois as Postgraduate President, Dan Probert as General Secretary, Dillon Ong as Education President and Sean Kebbell as Campus President North. The popularity of #JessWeCan is unexpected, given the high voter turnout in the North, with all members of the ticket currently based in Launceston.
On Monday, there were 76 votes at Sandy Bay and 80 at Newnham. On Tuesday, there were 50 at Sandy Bay, compared to 100 at Newnham. Wednesday collected 58 votes at Sandy Bay, with 102 at Newnham. Satellite campuses had an extremely poor voter turnout, with 50 at Inveresk, 27 at Menzies and 10 at the Conservatorium. With over 33,000 students currently enrolled at the University, it is clear that few students care to vote in TUU elections. Unlike large student political movements in Melbourne and Sydney, most UTas students seem more focused on finishing degrees than playing politics. But with the startling sexual harassment and assault figures given by the Human Rights Commission’s report earlier this year, a new system of integrated honours for degrees, and a complete campus transformation in both the North and South, should students be worried about their lack of voice?