Adelaide Uni students swipe left on Swipe Right: student elections result in Liberal wipeout
Words by Ethan Penglase
Swipe Right, the election outfit of the Adelaide University Liberal Club, saw its primary vote in the 2018 student elections almost halved under the management of Hugh Sutton.
Swipe Right has failed to secure a single AUU Board or SRC position after its share of the total votes cast halved. In 2017, Swipe Right received 16.90% of the votes cast for the AUU Board and 21.79% of the votes cast for SRC general councillor positions. This year, they received only 8.52% for Board and 9.81% for SRC.
A member of the Liberal Club, who reached out to On Dit but has chosen to remain anonymous, said many Club members blamed the lack of leadership from Liberal Club President Rachael Ingleton for the disappointing results.
Ingleton was no where to be seen during campaign week and reportedly did not take part in negotiations with other factions.
“She hasn’t done a single thing” a Swipe Right campaigner told On Dit during election week.
Management of the campaign therefore fell to Swipe Right’s sole AUU Board Director Hugh Sutton.
Sutton’s poor performance calls into question whether former Liberal Club President Leighton McDonald-Stuart adequately equipped his successors with the skills to manage the affairs of the Club.
Swipe Right became the third strongest faction on campus under McDonald-Stuart’s leadership last year.
How the other factions faired
The only faction to see its primary vote increase was Unite, Labor Right’s student faction. “Apolitical” ticket, Progress, remained the strongest faction but saw its international student base significantly cut into due to the appearance of International Voice.
Current Board members Hugh Sutton (Swipe Right), Oscar Ong (Progress), Siqi Yang (Progress), Tamsin Anspach (Activate) and Patrick Stewart (Activate) will be joined by Arabella Wauchope (Unite), Patrick Kennewell (Activate), Stella Woo (Progress), and International Voice’s Xinwei Wang and Zihan Liu.
Unite ran with Progress, while Activate — Labor Left’s student faction — ran with International Voice.
Despite together having a majority on the current AUU Board, the Labor factions do not always see eye-to-eye.
Progress winning only one Board position has almost dashed Ong’s ambitions of becoming AUU President.
The presidency will likely remain with Activate unless Ong can court International Voice.
Over at the SRC, campus power broker Ali Amin has been elected president, but his faction, Unite, secured only three of the 23 positions on the SRC. Unite’s running mate, Progress, won six positions. Activate and International Voice won six and seven positions, respectively, securing them a majority.
Left Action won a single general councillor position.
Aquinas collegian Hamish Probert failed in his bid to be elected as a general councillor. Probert ran in response to the SRC’s “Keep College Students Safe” campaign which he believes is unduly hostile to Adelaide’s residential colleges and the students that live there.
Inner-party conflicts abound
It’s not yet clear who will succeed Ingleton as Liberal Club president. Sutton once seemed like the logical successor, but with Swipe Right’s abysmal performance this year there will no doubt be members of the Liberal Club determined to prevent his election.
On Dit has been told that McDonald-Stuart is writing a report identifying Swipe Right’s key failings during the election.
On the other side of the political spectrum, the Labor factions will no doubt be openly fighting it out on the Board and SRC.
President-elect Amin has been critical of Activate’s slow response to the proposed merger between UniSA and the University of Adelaide. At the last SRC meeting, Amin accused Digenis of not taking the merger seriously enough and said the AUU should be driving student consultation on the matter.
Digenis will likely be succeeded by either Anspach or Stewart.