What's a #RepsElect and should I care?

The Professorial Boardroom in a simpler time (ie not during #RepsElect)

The Professorial Boardroom in a simpler time (ie not during #RepsElect)

"Hack Christmas" has come and gone, and so now I guess it's time for Hack New Year's Day - where we all make promises of what we're going to do over the next year that inevitably fail before the end of Summer. Oh, and we elect the dozens of Office Bearers that will run the SRC alongside the President from December 1. That's probably an important thing to mention.

Tonight at 6pm, in the Professorial Boardroom in the Quad (go up the stairs next to the Nicholson Museum then take a left/follow the noise), we get our much anticipated next instalment of SRC Drama - #RepsElect.

How does it all work?

Remember the big white ballot at the SRC Elections? The 33 winners from that election vote on the rest of the SRC positions available. It's called a meeting of the "Representatives-Elect" - the Representatives that take office on December 1 -  thus the nickname "Reps-Elect" in case you didn't get it (It took me several years to see that one).

Each Representative-Elect receives a ballot for each position, which then usually get passed onto a factional headkicker/voting genius to have them filled out. Oh, you thought this was secret ballot? Hahaha, nope. Strategic voting is important for some positions, so in some ways it makes sense to have one person vote for half a dozen people to ensure everything goes smoothly.

We'll go through the positions briefly in a moment, but suffice to say that the group with a majority will get most of the positions. Stand Up and Ignite together have 18/33. Barring any funny business like last year (and Honi reports that it's possible this year too), you'd expect them to take the lion's share of the spots on offer.

What positions are available?

They're all on this spreadsheet which will be updated LIVE tonight (hopefully). Most can be split between two people, because why not share the love/responsibility?

The Executive

While the President is already elected, the "seven" other members of the Exec need to be elected by the Representatives. Two of these positions are quite important, with both the Vice-President and the handsomely-paid General Secretary position getting important spots on University Committees and expected to do a lot of work over the year. You need 17/33 votes to win these spots. These two positions can be shared by up to two people each (so there's seven spots up for grabs on the Exec, but nine people can be elected tonight). The remaining Exec positions are General Exec, which only need about 6/33 votes to secure, who must also be Representatives (one of the 33 people elected from that white ballot). The VP and Gen Sec can be anyone. Following? No? Get used to it, it only gets weirder as you learn more.

Office Bearer Spots

Most Office Bearer positions are linked to Collectives or Departments - historically the source of no small amount of tension. One of the biggest of these is the Women's Officer position - the only autonomous OB to be paid a stipend of ~$18k, and can be split between two people. This position usually has candidates that have been pre-selected from the Women's Collective. The last paid position is the Education Officer position, which has a far more tenuous link to the Education Action Group. If the Stand Up-Ignite coalition holds, expect their Education Officer candidate(s) to have less of a connection to the EAG than, say, a candidate from Grassroots or Socialist Alternative. Whether that's a positive or negative is up to you.

While these next positions aren't paid, they usually take on more work than most, or have been more active in recent years, or are just considered important despite doing no work. I'll leave it to you to guess which is which.

The Queer Officers, up to four individuals, are (usually) preselected by the Queer Action Collective, same as the Autonomous Collective Against Racism (ACAR) and the Ethno-Cultural Officers, the Disabilities and Carers Officers/Collective, the Indigenous Officers/Collective. The Welfare Officers can be anyone and can also host four candidates. The Environment Officers usually have preselected candidates from the Environment Collective that get ignored by certain factions - why have proven environmental activists in a role facilitating environmental activism when Young Labor members need another line on their CV?

Oh, and there are a bunch of minor ones too - Residential College, Mature Age, Global Solidarity, Social Justice... seriously, so so many. They'll all get filled, of course, because who doesn't want CV lines? Every position mentioned here can be filled by anyone, not just the 33 elected Councillors.

Other positions available

The only other positions worth mentioning are the Director of Student Publications (DSPs) and Chair of Standing Legal and its members. DSPs are responsible for checking Honi Soit every Monday morning for defamation and other things that may embarrass the SRC. There's six of them, so they rotate week by week - the President also acts as a DSP in that they must also check Honi every week. Anyone can be a DSP.

Chair of Standing Legal is my current position, and convenes the Standing Legal Committee which consists of two elected Representatives and half the Executive. Whenever a regulation or policy motion is proposed, it is the job of the Standing Legal Committee to determine if such a change contradicts the SRC's Constitution, Regulations, or Policy. They can only suggest changes or rejecting motions, it is up to the Representatives to follow through on that.

What can we expect?

Last year was pretty unprecedented in terms of the behaviour of Representatives - police called, the fuse box tampered with, a six-hour long meeting. Don't expect any of that to happen again (especially the fuse box, which has since had a padlock slapped on it).

Honi has reported that it's ~possible~ for a Power-led bloc to emerge, but it'd be difficult. Last year the new-deal bloc (GRoots, NLS, SA, Solidarity, Indies) were brought together by ideology; keeping Libs out of SRC positions. NLS has made it quite clear they're happy with Libs in SRC positions this year ("Support Ed McCann for VP" appeared on all election material) so that's a much harder thing to do now unless NLS have found the moral compass they threw out the window a couple of months back.

So it'll probably be a bit more tame, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't watch on. Check Facebook and Periscope for some live-streams, and check the #RepsElect Twitter Feed for more. I'll be tweeting from @CJCaccamo at the very least.


Cameron Caccamo