With Labor hack David Cann no doubt hovering his (short? vulgarian?) fingers over Facebook’s ‘angry’ reaction, and DJ Khaled’s ‘They Don’t Want You To Win’ tabbed as a page favourite on our office Mac computer, we settle in, reluctantly limit our consumption of Nihilist Memes to three per day for purposes of self-longevity, and begin.
Yes, dear UWA student – we are doing this again. As your only independent, campus-based reporting service, and hence your only ally in these dark and bewildering times, we will be covering the 2016 Student Guild Elections. Twenty five full days of them*.
Why are we doing this? (OH GOD WHY.) Well, we could cite lame reasons like ‘precedent’, and ‘hastily-established tradition’, and ‘it’s important that those who wanna nab our votes to represent our interests are scrutinised and made accountable for their actions’ – maybe. But our motives are more tied up in the fact that one of the previous editors was able to land a job at VICE in Melbourne, and we are 95% sure it was because of her coverage of this event last year. And truly: what self-respecting writer in this brave new ‘X-Press is now only online’ mediascape aspires to anything more?
Before I go on though, I must confess. Up until this year, the Student Guild election season was for me just a time when things felt a little more ‘het up’ than usual. A bit more ideologically boisterous. Certain colours seemed to symbolise certain ideas; some of my usual haunts and by-ways I discovered to be rudely crowded with shirt-wearers shoving leaflets into my cold, unconsenting hands. Sometimes, on the early spring breeze, I would catch foul whiff of terrifying corruption mixed in with the soy sauce dousing my overpriced Californian sushi. This was, you understand, in the pre-Subway era.
What it all meant, I really didn’t know. Nor was I too phased to find out. I was a socially anxious English student – I had more important things to concern myself with. Like character motives in Jude the Obscure, whether it is wise to vacuum up milk, or if I should really be listening to Triple J anymore (no).
This year my awareness is expanded, a little. For instance: I know that the major parties contending this election are STAR and Launch. To our sorrow and disgust, there is very likely not ONE *truly* alternative party adding their brand of kook to the mix. This is despite hype and rumours since the beginning of the year that an ironic Liberty party was going to run – allegedly the would-be jokers were instead persuaded to run on a non-ironic Launch ticket. (Launch is basically Liberty before the party re-branded last year. Why they didn’t do another rebrand this year to rid themselves of certain toxic baggage exposed by Pelican through certain screenshotted posts in 2015, well, look – we are not Antony Green. We can’t be your wizard-muppet-babe of insider analysis. Sorry.)
Back to things I know. I know that ballots will be drawn on Wednesday in the Sue Boyd room in a cringe-fest spectacular where each side tries to out-clap the other. I know that Cam Payne is an Actual Man (who was going to run in that joke Liberty party I mentioned) and not a meme/mascot, as was my initial conviction. Though he does have a loaf of garlic bread in his Facebook profile picture, so, I could be wrong. I know as well that to be a ‘team player’ is a candidate’s key to surviving their term, and that some STAR prodigies will sink thousands into electioneering to make it to their elected thrones. Stealth by wealth? At our prestige University, well, uh, obviously.
I am also informed that Ms. Mary Petrou from WAEC shall be returning to knuckle-rap any party that prints more than 280 A4 pages of election material per candidate, or breaches any other of the campaign regulations. Mary: you are a trooper. Whichever party UWA students vote in, our heart – it goes to you.
Words by Kate Prendergast
*Actually, there is only 23 days over which the Guild Elections run – polling closes September 22, and the drawing of the ballots was rescheduled from this Tuesday to Wednesday so as not to tread on the toes of UWA’s screening of The Hunting Ground doco. Good to know that there are some priorities our University doesn’t fuck up. We decided to kick off with ‘primer’ coverage today because a) there is no way we are going down any pegs from last year and b) our hype meme decreed it.