Student Election Predictions

Words by Stasi Kapetanos

Last year I unfortunately predicted US President Donald Trump’s re-election, fortunately I was wrong but now I have decided to risk disgracing myself again by trying to predict the results of our uni’s student elections. Like last time I will rely entirely on word of mouth, other people’s opinions that have been shared with me and my own vibes. No real math and data crunching is being done here, only heuristic guessing. Maybe in future student election analysts will be wiser but for now I’ll just roll straight into it.

Grassroots: Springing out of the relatively new Greens Club on campus, Grassroots represents a new left-wing voice in student politics, more radical than the tickets run by Labor youths but well short of Left Action. Despite this they have been managing to maintain a broad appeal with supporters coming from groups as disparate as the Liberal Club and the old Communist Club as well as everything in between, with both its leaders having joined after leaving Activate earlier this year. Having a long history in the student politics of our university the Greens were missing for a number of years until now it seems. Being a completely new group keen to see the Progress and Connect out of power they took quite a junior role in the agreement between Unite and Left Action yet their campaigning on campus indicates they are punching above their weight. One advantage they have is the Greens brand which is relatively popular among young people and educated people, even with Connect counter-intuitively sharing this space with them. Like Left Action they have agreed to support Unite and Activate for AUU board positions.

Political Leaning: Left-wing

Leadership: Caitlin Battye & Liam Johns

Predicted Union Board Directors: N/A (0 total)

Predicted SRC Office Bearers: 2

Predicted SRC General Councillors: 1

Left Action: Last year this Socialist Alternative ticket pulled off an impressive feat and were not that far from outcompeting the rest of the student left combined. They also replaced Activate as the most prominent group left of Unite. Without any other factional allies they successfully got Ana Obradovic elected to the AUU board and Nix Herriot was also elected as a general councillor to the Student Representative Council. From relative obscurity they rose to be the heaviest hitters on the ground and now this year have gone on to be almost entirely unchallenged when it comes to leafleting directly to students during the election week. Now in concert with the rest of the broad left, Left Action stands to potentially gain the Presidency of the Student Representative Council, though they lack large enough numbers of supporters and networks used to pull in much of the ever expanding online vote, instead relying on their disciplined cadres to mostly just convince as many people as possible on campus. As part of their agreement, Left Action have agreed to only preference members from the two Labor aligned groups for the student union board and thus cannot win anything there themselves despite their leader Ana Obradovic’s successful election to it last year.

Political Leaning: Radical Left

Leadership: Ana Obradovic

Predicted Union Board Directors: N/A (0 total)

Predicted SRC Office Bearers: 3

Predicted SRC General Councillors: 1

Progress: No politics on campus is a funny thing to hear from student politics greatest operators. Progress is an officially apolitical group which mostly caters international and ethnic minority students with a ‘soft spot’ for engineering. Having traditionally been seen as lackeys of the university they seem to have come out against cuts on campus though to a significantly lesser degree than their rivals on the left. In the past Progress have used their ground game and communal networks to win the most votes in every student election for at least as long as I have been at uni and a few years before that as well. Currently they have the SRC Presidency and control the AUU board almost unchecked thanks to their willingness to use their power inorder to maintain it without scruple or remorse. This time around it seems they have continued to move away from the in-person campaigning they traditionally rely on, instead mobilising their very large and broad voter base online in a similar fashion to their allies Connect, though at a more likely much larger scale.

Political Leaning: Centre-right (technically none)

Leadership: Oscar Ong

Predicted Union Board Directors: 2 (total 4)

Predicted SRC Office Bearers: 2

Predicted SRC General Councillors: 2

Connect: These green clad young Liberals seem to have successfully marketed themselves as avid environmentalists despite being at least originally dominated by only the most diehard conservatives. Last year they, like Left Action, grew from a relatively minor faction into a key player, holding more positions on the SRC than any other group. Still their vote share was much less than the bigger players, instead relying on their deal with Progress to get them over the line and are likely still riding on their coattails to get into most offices. In spite of this they seemed stronger than Progress in the one to one matchups for the SRC against the left. Connect are connected to the largest political club on campus with strong links to the student body of law school; they continue to rely on networks of friends and friends of friends to get them over the line through online messaging sprees, as opposed to in person campaigning to students. With more votes being cast now than ever before thanks to the online voting they should find some success, despite the left’s coalition against them.

Political Leaning: Right-wing

Leadership: Oliver Douglas

Predicted Union Board Directors: 1 (total 2)

Predicted SRC Office Bearers: 3

Predicted SRC General Councillors: 1

Unite: The ‘pragmatic progressive’ youth of the backward and conservative Labor Right also known as Unity seems to have escaped being defined by the reactionary tendencies of its adult wing and interstate comrades instead having made itself into the leading voice of the broad student left on campus. By steadfastly supporting the Women’s Collective, Endometriosis Society and Pro-Choice Club they have even taken on the role of feminist champions in recent years. Still they were seen as last year’s biggest losers, not because they were bad at campaigning or losing support (they actually grew in both regards) but because they failed to achieve their strategic objectives of defeating their right-wing (and left-wing) opponents on the SRC and AUU. They remain a force to be reckoned with and now with the rest of the left behind their effort to take back the board they have a serious chance of unseating Progress in the not too distant future. The compromise they made for this, to support Left Action for the SRC presidency seems to have been a bitterer pill to swallow for them and their supporters than it is for Activate and Grassroots but these deal makers have done this kind of thing before and it has paid off for them.

Political Leaning: Centre

Leadership: Leah SchamSchurin/Billy Zimermann

Predicted Union Board Directors: 2 (total 3)

Predicted SRC Office Bearers: 5

Predicted SRC General Councillors: 2

Activate: It was not that long ago that this small group was one of the main political players on campus. A Labor Left aligned group with more progressive ideals than Unite, it has been acting as a junior partner in the centre-left coalition since around 2019. Indeed on campus issues there seems to be a large overlap between the two despite off campus factional enmity between the two sides of the Labor Party. The defection of one of their few SRC office bearers to Grassroots earlier this year along with their voter base moving to Left Action last year has clearly taken its toll on them. Yet they appear to be unwilling to throw in the towel with rising star Mat Monti and unusually popular social media figure James Dimas, both former students of the same western suburbs Catholic high school I attended, representing a fresh face for this faction. This is in part due to their relative youthful passion and the fact that they are outliers in student politics which among domestic students at least is dominated by RM wearers of the eastern suburbs and inner-city.

Political Leaning: Centre-left

Leadership: Mat Monti/Xanthe Midwinter

Predicted Union Board Directors: 0 (total 0)

Predicted SRC Office Bearers: 1

Predicted SRC General Councillors: 1

Note: If you’re a hack or just a nerd who is annoyed about me getting a detail wrong or misspelling a name feel free to send me a not too disrespectful Facebook message or email and I will try to fix it up before the actual results come out.

Adelaide University student magazine since 1932. Edited by Ivan Jankovic, Stasi Kapetanos, Isobel Moore, and Michelle Roylance. Get in touch: onditmag@gmail.com