Guild Elections: A Guide for the Chronically Uninvolved Student
By Hannah Cross
Know nothing about Guild elections? Same. So, I read up on them and now present you an understandable guide for the average, clueless Murdoch student.
Guild elections: a phrase I can guarantee hardly anyone on campus knows anything about (unless of course you’re stuck in that bittersweet stupol bubble).
I’m sure I don’t speak alone when I say I’ve gone my entire uni career without knowing a damn thing about the Guild, who they are, or what they do. Apparently, these guys even have regular monthly meetings to look after us – the students of Murdoch. Whether you’ve seen much change on campus or not is beside the point, I’m only here to tell you about how these people get elected.
So, first things first: what does the Guild do?
The Guild acts as a student representative body to, you guessed it, represent the students of Murdoch. They’re part of the reason why we have fun stuff like Marketdaze and the Guild Ball. They also do heaps of other stuff, but you can read about that on any Kadj coffee cup so go caffeinate and educate yourselves then come back to this article.
Now that that’s out of the way: what are Guild elections and does anyone actually vote in them?
The Guild elections are held every year in semester two to elect the following year’s Guild Council.
Here’s the main gist of the positions up for grabs and what the Guild actually looks like:
Your three big wigs who get paid for these gigs are:
1. Guild President
2. Education Vice President
3. General Secretary
Next you have these people, who represent international students, postgrads and the Mandurah campus which no one ever talks about but definitely exists:
4. International Association Representative (MISA)
5. Murdoch University Postgraduate Student Association (MUPSA)
6. Mandurah Association Representative (MSA)
Then you have your six Council Representatives:
7. Disability Representative
8. Indigenous Representative
9. Queer Representative
10. Women’s Representative
11. External Representative
12. Sustainability Representative
And finally, there are six Ordinary Guild Councillors (not extraordinary or life-changing, just ordinary. Future Guild, please change this so it sounds better for those who have the position).
That’s a lot of spots (18) available on the Guild Council. Roles can be added or changed too, for example Sports Officer was a thing at one point.
As for whether anyone actually votes in elections – well, no not really. Last year only 731 students out of about 15,000 voted. That’s pretty dismal.
Nomination wise, someone who wants to run – who is a Guild member – can get 17 of their closest counterparts together and create a ticket (or a party, if you will). You can also run with less.
Nominations are called for before elections (obviously) and deadline for nominations are two weeks after that. This year, the deadline is Monday 16th October as shown on the Guild website. Those nominating must write a biography of 400 words or less with a picture of themselves to be put into the Election Broadsheet (didn’t even know this was a thing).
The Returning Officer – the University Secretary or another appointed person that runs the entire shebang – gets to edit and piece together everyone’s bios and creates a big ol’ broadsheet for us to peruse pre-voting.
If you get cold feet, you can also withdraw nominations up to two uni working days before the electronic ballot goes live.
Now the Guild has an entire set of Election Regulations online and geez are they overly wordy for something so simple. The section on election conduct and the complaints/appeals process is particularly verbose, so here I am with a juicy summary of all the important stuff (hopefully without conflating or confusing):
The Returning Officer must:
- Allow a safe space for physical voting on each campus for at least three teaching days
- Allow for postal voting for those that want it; or
- Conduct an electronic ballot with details sent to students about the election and how to vote
- Allow electronic voting to be open for four teaching days minimum
Candidates must not:
- Use Guild resources to self-promote (this includes written, printed, photo material, posters, signs, leaflets, audio or visual displays – everything.)
- Publish election material without a name and email address of at least one candidate who has allowed it to be published
- Influence or talk about the course of the election within two metres of a voting booth
- Interfere with ballot papers or other candidates’ election material
- Be dickheads in general during the election.
The University Secretary must:
- Make sure the electronic voting system is legit and works properly
Trials and Tribulations
After everything has been counted and the new council is elected, you can appeal and complain to your heart’s content – because an Election Tribunal is even set up for us! You can lodge an appeal or complaint between the call for nominations and five teaching days after the results have been announced. The Tribunal hears out everyone then determines the official election outcome within 14 days of the deadline for lodging appeals/complaints.
This year, voting opens in October. Keep an eye out on Confessions for some guaranteed politically-motivated posts. Pray for no #guildspills or a Game of Thrones style election. Or do, it’s whatever. Happy voting!