“United left” cleans up in Adelaide Uni elections; Ana Obradovic wins SRC President

Words by Ivan Jankovic

The Socialist Alternative candidate trounced two-time President Oscar Ong to claim the top job

Adelaide University’s left coalition has made stunning gains in the 2021 student elections, claiming 20 out of 23 Student Representative Council (SRC) seats, and winning all office-bearer positions.

The sweeping win comes after nearly two years of SRC rule by the Progress-Connect alliance. The SRC has, in this time, stepped back from its usual political activism role, in line with Progress’ “apolitical” rhetoric.

The left also secured 3 of the 5 available Adelaide University Union (AUU) Board Director seats, leaving them in a tight 4–5 minority.

The results were announced yesterday from 5pm and live-tweeted by On Dit.

The win was made possible by the decision of the four left factions to form a coalition, putting up only one candidate in all SRC office-bearer positions. Without this partnership, the Progress-Connect alliance would have likely held them off.

A Labor-Socialist Alternative deal was scuppered in 2020 by a failure to reach agreement on the SRC Presidential candidate.

After losing President last year to stupol veteran Oscar Ong (Progress) in a three-way race, Obradovic was later ousted from her AUU Board position for publicly labelling the current Liberal Vice-President a sexist.

She went on to beat Ong in a rematch on a relatively slim margin.

Obradovic was actively leafleting and organising rallies in the months prior to the election. Her Left Action ticket also heavily campaigned on the ground, in stark contrast to Progress’ social-media focussed strategy.

At last week’s election debate, she said she intends to reshape the AUU into a “fighting union.”

“We don’t get to have these big press conferences everyday,” said Obradovic, “but we can have protests that massively shape and influence politics… Struggle educates people, and changes people's minds, but you have to put your argument out there and be staunch and uncompromising.

You have to say ‘fuck this system’ and we can do better.”

The presence of the newly-formed Greens ticket, Grassroots, was also likely a boon for the left’s result.

Scenes of both joy and commiserations played out at the UniBar last night. One successful candidate said, not without a hint of irony, “It feels like World War II just ended.”

As Progress still controls the AUU Board, which funds the SRC, only time will tell whether the two organisations butt heads.

As the old saying goes — there’s never a dull moment in stupol. More analysis to come.

The full election results, including preference distributions, will be made available on the Adelaide University Union’s website next week.

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