By Justine Cerna
Every month the elected student body meets to discuss the business of the UWA Student Guild. This report details the happenings of the UWA Student Guild Committee meeting held on May 25th, 2022
Meeting commences at 6:02 pm with acknowledgement of country by Rashdina Ramli (RR).
Report from Tony Goodman (TG), Managing Director
- Guild Elections timetable passed by the Senate.
- Guild Masterplan underway with TRCB Architects.
- Next Council meeting will include presentation on bookshop rebranding.
MOTIONS ON NOTICE (OPERATIONS)
7.1 The 109th Guild Council appoints TRCB as its master-planners and approves the business case budget of $40,000’
Moved by Narendra Gammanpila (NG)
Seconded by Amitabh Jeganathan (AJ)
7.2 The 109th Guild Council confirms and approves the new election timetable for 2022.
Moved by AJ
Seconded by Aidan Mansfield (AM)
- Application fee reverted to $10.
- Amendment to current regulations states prospective applicants cannot be awaiting trial or prison – amended from previous clause preventing someone with a historical conviction.
- The Guild Council is to consider the process (including deadline) for postal voting.
MOTIONS ON NOTICE (REPRESENTATION)
TW: mentions of violence and death in Palestine
9.1 The 109th Guild Council:
- a) Supports the University of Melbourne Student Union’s stance on the Palestinian crisis, which emphasise the importance of Palestinian activism against the Israeli
- b) Stands in solidarity with Palestinians mourning the death of Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, who was murdered by Israeli forces as she was carrying out her job at a refugee camp in press gear.
- c) Condemns the woeful acts of violence by Israeli forces attacking innocent mourners carrying her coffin.
- d) Recognises that the struggle of the Palestinian people corresponds to continuous support to Israel by the Australian government.
- e) Urges UWA student representatives and all students to educate themselves on the Palestinian crisis and to show support to Middle Eastern & Palestinian students on campus affected by this crisis.
- f) Supports the vigil hosted by the Palestinian Cultural Society of UWA, Friends of Palestine WA, and the Palestinian Community of WA held on Saturday 28th of May, to commemorate Shireen Abu Akleh and the Palestine Nakba.
Moved by Adam Elyousef (AE)
Seconded by Nicole Mcewen (NM)
Comments: (regarding section a) AE praises previous Guild decisions on Palestine. University and Student Guild stance is important and suggests motion as a means for UWA to join other Australian university student bodies in their solidarity with Palestine. Seconded by Phoebe Bee (PB), who encourages Spark to actively engage with the cause the motion addresses.
Debate: (regarding section a) concerned with the Guild President’s stance on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and the current Guild’s approach toward political issues.
- AJ recognises the value of UniMelb’s action but points out financial consequences – $8000 has been spent by UniMelb on the issue. Guild finances should be directed at resources providing information on the crisis, rather than upholding “political motions”. Guild ‘Stance’ webpage could be an answer, where students can track Guild and Departmental activity on such issues. Overall, supportive of the motion.
- NM responds – Concrete motions are important and worthwhile. Suggests UWA Guild (and university more broadly) investigate engaging with the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement.
- AE responds to AJ suggesting a political stance can be uplifting:
The Palestinian UWA community is being uplifted by a Guild that cares about them. The Israeli government has a lot of power. Don’t underestimate their power.”
Sections b) – f) discussed in camera.
Motion 9.1 passed
9.2 The 109th Guild Council:
- a) Supports the Ethnocultural Department’s petition with over 240 signatures as of 23/05/2022, to secure a safe space for students of CALD (culturally and linguistically diverse) backgrounds.
- b) Recognises the importance of these 240 signatures that represents the 46% of students that were born outside of Australia and 25% of students that speak languages other than English at home, from 23,944 students enrolled at UWA.
- c) Calls upon the Tenancy committee to consider a space for the Ethnocultural Department and prioritise this.
- d) Commits to allocating a space to the Ethnocultural Department at the soonest possible opportunity or once the tenancy cycle ends.
Moved by Amira Nunn (AN)
Seconded by Adam Elyousef (AE)
Comments: AN speaks for the motion which signifies the Ethnocultural Department advocation for a safe space for CALD students, especially considering the statistics stated in b). The Ethnocultural Department has been asking for a room since last year.
Debate: Reallocation of club rooms is scheduled for 2024. Discussion (with contributions from AM, AE, AJ, TG, Sapphire Carter (SC) David Hallam (DH), Geemal Jayawickrama (GJ) and Paris Javid (PJ) debate what can be done in the meantime and what a room would entail.
- GJ (International Students) and SC (Spark) are critical of AE for not advocating last year, which he rebukes by saying he was not part of the executive committee. AE shares he did action. SC asked what space has been made for a CALD room, reminding AE that a room cannot be taken away from another club.
- AJ appreciates point d) but says tenancy motions were dismissed. Suggests amendment to motion requesting Guild to overrule tenancy: “109th council DIRECTS Guild to give priority to CALD”. Recognises Ethnocultural’s need and admits it has been overlooked.
- DH says tenancy chair should be impartial; confidence in chair will be swayed if they make biased decisions (according to above).
- PJ retorts – Chair has been biased. There is an ““incredible amount of discretion” in allocating club rooms so “even if the Ethnocultural department meets considerations, there is no guarantee that the chair will grant their request.” Council 2024 should not have to have this same conversation again. DH disagrees.
- GJ: as an international student, CALD people should be able to “give back to the university” and they’re a “big part of the UWA community”. He supports CALD people getting a safe space and appreciates the efforts of last year’s Ethnocultural officers in addition to this year’s Ethnocultural officers.
- TG: Guild departments are given precedence over other clubs for rooms. If there are spaces being under-utilized, they should be able to convert that space into one for Ethnocultural room.
After lengthy discussion, the motion is passed.
MOTION WITHOUT NOTICE (REPRESENTATION)
10.1 The 109th Guild Council:
- a) Welcomes the defeat of the Morrison Government, after nine years of Liberal party rule in Australia that was reactionary on all economic and social questions, especially the climate.
- b) Recognises that the Albanese Labour Government will continue neoliberal attacks on students, workers and the oppressed as it has promised to be a “pro-business, pro-employer labour party”
- c) Commits to fighting for economic, social and climate justice under the ALP Government, which includes but is not limited to protests demanding: rapid action on climate change, free and fully funded higher education, an end to all mandatory detention for refugees, and real wage increases.
Moved by Nicole McEwen
Seconded by Finn Penter (proxy for Natasha Nicole)
- The motion was straight off the back of the Federal election and immediately denounced the new federal Labour government as one unfit to represent students and workers alike. It was proposed by the members of Left Action and was strongly supported by David Hallam, Ed Council President.
- Kaelin Abrahams (KA) of the Pride Department spoke against the motion, implying it is premature and especially emphasising that the Labour Party is not anti-LGBTQIA+, as purported by Left Action, and that there has been progress on social issues in both major parties.
- Additionally, Daniel Roden (DR) suggested an amendment to the motion to remove subsection b, which was subsequently rejected by Council. There is minimal commentary from Spark representatives.
- After a lengthy discussion, the motion passed in full.
CLOSE AND NEXT MEETING
Next meeting will be held Wednesday 29th June, 2022 at 6:00 pm.