words Hayley Mohacsy and Connie Tran

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Ah, Stupol. Tis the season of campaigning candidates, election promises, and individuals being inundated with multiple flyers (pls recycle). It happens every year, but how exactly did it come to play and was there ever a time when elections… didn’t exist on campus?


The Adelaide University Union (AUU) is an organisation that run events and offer services aimed at enhancing student life at the University of Adelaide. The AUU is also the body responsible for governing election week. When the University was founded in 1874, the Adelaide University Union had not yet been formed. It was only after pressure from existing faculty-specific student societies to create a united student body that the AUU was established in 1895. After many revisions, a constitution was created and presented at a public meeting on the 26 April of the same year — 21 years after the university itself was founded. The aims of the AUU at its inception included the need to “promote the candidature of fit persons to serve on the [University] Council”, to “arrange for periodical debates on subjects approved by the committee”, and “to promote social life among the members of the University”. This initiated the beginnings of stupol culture, AUU meetings, and PROSH, a yearly event beginning in 1905 wherein students would engineer stunts (suspending an FJ Holden over the Torrens) and raise money for charity. The Varsity Ragge, first printed in 1928, was the University’s first form of student media. The publication however ceased three years later due to what was described as a sense of apathy among the student cohort. In the following year the then-editors, C.R. Badger, K.L. Litchfield and C.G. Kerr introduced the first ever issue of On Dit, French for ‘one says’. Determined for the publication not to follow the demise of its predecessor, the editors encouraged works from student associations, sports clubs, and individuals to express their views and offered opportunities to creatively contribute to student culture. Initially a two page spread, On Dit has now evolved into a forty-eight page magazine and is currently in its 85th year of publication, marking it as the third oldest student run paper in Australia.


Along with Stupol came protests, as students were getting more involved with student politicians at the forefront. In the 1930s, the majority of protests were focused on improving student life at the university, with students advocating for better food and facilities, as well as improvement within library services and the classes themselves. In 1940–1950, the scope of issues expanded from internal, university-specific matters to national issues, particularly in relation to the Second World War. Student protest reached an all-time high in 1960–1970, eventually extending to international issues, ignited and fueled by the then-occurring Vietnam War. Specific protest groups at the university were formed to protest the war itself as well as conscription. These protests were large and sometimes violent, often requiring police intervention. After Australia’s involvement in the Vietnam War ceased, student activism still continued to thrive, though significantly less radicalized. Popular issues included protesting for gay rights and fair treatment of Indigenous peoples. Students also protested against racism, apartheid, nuclear warfare, and capital punishment. Some of these issues are still currently being protested for and against today.


Fast forward to 2017, and student elections — the highlight of the stupol calendar — will soon be upon us. Political factions have met within their groups, selected candidates, and formed alliances with other tickets — an age-old practice. Political gossip can also be heard throughout campus, and can get weirdly personal if the gossip is about your friends. Unlike before the inception of the internet, where one could make a quick getaway from campaigners by escaping past the yellow lines into the ‘no campaign’ area, this may prove futile today. Social media has now become an integral tool used by stupol campaigners, allowing candidates to put themselves out there even before they start campaigning by creating an event on Facebook to vote, and changing their profile picture to include their faction’s logo in the corner. Candidates however must still remain vigilant, as breaching online conduct can also get them in trouble. It’s not all serious stuff though, some seek to add a bit of humour to the culture — such as the (unfortunately inactive) ‘Stupol Hotties’ Facebook page. This opens stupol up to the general student population, most of whom aren’t directly involved in stupol, where they can learn about and critique the candidates themselves (though let’s be real, if you’re on Stupol Hotties you’re probably not critiquing them about their policies).


Many students whom have been elected into positions over the years have gone on to lead fulfilling and successful careers. Would they have made it onto Stupol Hotties? Maybe we’ll never know.

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Casey Briggs (image: ABC News)

Casey Briggs

AUU President (2012)

Bachelor of Mathematical Sciences, Master of Philosophy (Mathematics)

During his time at the University of Adelaide studying Mathematical Sciences, Casey contributed extensively to the university’s community radio station, Radio Adelaide. Elected in 2009, Briggs worked as a Student Radio Director over the next two years. His commitment to the Radio Adelaide saw his progression as the Training and New Volunteers Coordinator in 2013. Following his graduation after completing his Master of Philosophy in Mathematics in 2015, Casey entered the media field and currently works as a multiplatform journalist at the ABC in Cairns.

Casey also held various other positions across the AUU board, including AUU Director in 2011 and moving into the role of the AUU President in 2012, as well as On Dit editor in 2013 alongside co-editors Stella Crawford and Holly Ritson.

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Clementine Ford (image: clementineford.tumblr.com

Clementine Ford


Clementine Ford was one of three On Dit editors in 2005, along with Daniel Joyce and Danny Wills. While studying at Adelaide, Ford enrolled in a Gender Studies class which she stated to be the catalyst into her involvement in women’s rights.

She is best known for her feminist ideals and values, and her work as a writer and broadcaster. Ford is also a regular columnist in Daily Life and has written for a number of publications, including the likes of The Punch, ABC’s The Drum, and CLEO Magazine. Ford moved from Adelaide to Melbourne in 2011 and published her first book in 2016, titled Fight Like a Girl.

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Annabel Crabb (image: ABC News)

Annabel Crabb

WOMEN’S OFFICER (circa 1993–7)

Bachelor of Laws, Bachelor of Arts

Whilst enrolled at the University of Adelaide, Annabel Crabb represented the female student body on campus as the Women’s Officer while studying a double degree in Law and Arts. Crabb ran for President in the following year but was unsuccessful in doing so. She graduated in 1997 and although initially intending to work in Law, decided to instead enter the media industry.

Over the years Crabb has worked for various news companies, such as The Advertiser, The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age. She also worked in the UK for three years as the London correspondent for the Fairfax Sunday editions, before moving back to Australia. Crabb also presents the ABC program Kitchen Cabinet series and The Drum. Crabb is currently the chief political writer for the ABC.

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Moya Dodd (image: FIFA.com)

Moya Dodd


Bachelor of Laws (Honours)

Moya Dodd attended the University of Adelaide and graduated with Honours in Law in 1988. During her time at the university she was involved with the Adelaide University Soccer Club as well as elected editor for Win 1968, along with co-editor Paul Washington. Dodd also worked as an associate at the Supreme Court of SA in 1988. At the same time Dodd went on to hold the position as the Vice-Captain of the Westfield Matilda’s — the Australian women’s national soccer team. She also participated in FIFA’s first ever world tournament for women in 1988, and contributed to Australia’s win against Brazil and achieving a final quarter placing.

Dodd retired from soccer after suffering from a knee injury in 1995 and returned to Law in 2007. She also joined the Football Federation of Australia in that same year and was elected as vice-president of the Asian Football Confederation in 2009. Dodd currently works as a Partner at Gilbert + Tobin and is now the Director of Football Federation Australia.

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Julia Gillard (image: Mark Graham, AAP)

Julia Gillard

AUU PRESIDENT (1981–1982)

Bachelor of Laws, Bachelor of Arts

Julia Gillard began her studies in 1979 at the University of Adelaide. Gillard was an active member of student politics on campus and held the role of AUU president from 1981–1982. After being elected as the vice-president of Australian Union of Students, she transferred to the University of Melbourne in 1982, progressing to President in 1983. Gillard graduated with a degree in both Law and Arts in 1986 and 1989 respectively.

Following graduation Gillard worked at law firm Slater & Gordon for just under ten years, until she entered Australian federal politics as Chief of Staff to the then-Leader of the Opposition John Brumby. Gillard went on to become the first female and 27th overall Prime Minister of Australia from 2010–2013. Since then Gillard became an honorary visiting professor at the University of Adelaide and appointed as the Chair of Beyond Blue.

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Roy Green (image: uts.edu.au)

Roy Green


Bachelor of Laws, Bachelor of Arts

During his time at the University of Adelaide, Roy Green was elected in 1971 as Vice President of the SRC. Green graduated in 1974 with a Bachelor of Laws, then again in 1795 with First Class Honours in a Bachelor of Arts. He also completed a PhD in Economics from the University of Cambridge in 1990.

Green has published works within the field of business (specifically innovation policy and management) and worked alongside major industries, governments, and public agencies throughout his academic career. He served as Dean for the Faculty of Commerce at the National University of Ireland from 2000–2005, then at Macquarie Graduate School of Management from 2005–2008. As of today, Green is currently the Dean of UTS Business School, University of Technology, Sydney.

John Roder

SRC PRESIDENT (1948–1949)

Bachelor of Laws, Master of Arts

John Roder commenced his studies in 1946 studying a Bachelor of Laws, followed by a Master of Arts. While studying at the University of Adelaide Roder held the position of Secretary on the Student Representative Council, then President successively.

After graduating in 1950 Rodger pursued a career in Law. He worked in various positions, two of which include the chairman of the Planning Appeal Board and a senior partner at Roder Dunstan Lee and Taylor. In 1970, he was appointed judge of the District Court of Law and was also involved in academia, working as a Law lecturer at the University of Adelaide for 13 years. Rodger passed at the age of 74 in 2002.

Written by

Adelaide University student magazine since 1932. Edited by Nicholas Birchall, Felix Eldridge, Taylor Fernandez and Larisa Forgac. Email us at onditmag@gmail.com

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