Student Guild Elections 2023: Get to Know Left Action
Students at UWA will have the opportunity to elect next year’s Student Guild Council later this month. Campaigning has begun and this article introduces the Left Action ticket.
Voting begins on the 18th of September and end on the 21st. Polling will occur on campus but you can also apply for a postal vote by the 15th of September by 4pm at the latest. Every UWA student can vote and voting is not compulsory. See here for more information and to apply for a postal vote.
What makes your party different?
One word: activism. Most other parties are content to just advocate, go to board meetings, and make crummy deals with the head honchos at the University. We want to fight for student rights. That means protesting the powerful not placating them. To do that you need radical left-wing politics and a willingness to confront the status quo. Our party is made up of seasoned left-wing activists who have coordinated and led countless rallies and stunts around Perth.
What’s your vision for the Guild in 2024?
The Guild needs to be made into a fighting force for student rights. In 2024 this means organising campaigns around housing and the cost-of-living crisis and smashing racism and sexism on campus. The Guild should use its huge budget and resources to do these things.
What’s your party’s best achievement from your past year on the Council?
Left Action members, through the Defend Abortion Action Network, organised pro-choice protests of over 2,000 people last year and now we’re seeing the new abortion reforms about to pass in WA. Protests started as a solidarity response to Roe v Wade being overturned in the United States, but now we’ve shown that even twenty-five year old abortion laws can be changed if we’re willing to fight for it. The far right have been attacking the right-to-choose all over the world, including in WA, but we’ve countered them every time. This year, we’ll continue to push for fully accessible abortion and for the Guild to put its weight behind this fight for fundamental rights.
Which of your policies are you most excited about?
Fighting for cost-of-living relief. University management treat students as cash cows and aren’t interested in helping us tackle the cost-of-living crisis. Students need to fight for changes on and off campus like free parking, cost of living relief and rent freezes. Students need to fight for changes in society like ending unpaid student placements and free and expanded public transportation. Students need to fight for changes in government policy like doubling Youth Allowance and other welfare payments. You don’t get these things by asking nicely, you get them by fighting in the streets as a collective and students have the power to do that.
What do you think the Guild is lacking at the moment?
The Guild lacks left-wing politics. There are issues that affect students every day, from racism to sexism to the cost-of-living crisis. The main parties have confused ideas and an ‘apolitical’ approach that accepts and reinforces the status quo. We need our Guild to take firm positions against bigotry, and that means supporting protests and rallies for our rights, not just making social media posts or hosting brunches. It is Left Action that bring political questions to the Guild, and it’s us who organise and build activism in and around Perth. Student guilds can be leading bodies fighting for social change but only if we have activists pushing them to take action.
What’s the most compelling reason for students to vote for you?
We’re the only ones that go out and fight for better. As the most left-wing group, we are always actively involved in social justice struggles. Just this year, Left Action members organised successful protests defending a drag story time event at Maylands Library, and opposing anti-abortion bigots—and won. The event was able to go ahead, we massively outnumbered the far right and we sent a strong message that transgender rights are here to stay. We’ll continue being activists whether we’re elected or not—but the Guild should be an activist body too.