Fact Check: "10 Things That Stand Up Has Already Delivered"

This is the image the Buzzfeed article used - unsurprisingly, no credit was given to the University of Sydney for the photo.

This is the image the Buzzfeed article used - unsurprisingly, no credit was given to the University of Sydney for the photo.

Hoo boy, this is an interesting one. If you missed it, Stand Up published this Buzzfeed Community Post (which is... apparently a campaign technique now) outlining ten "things" "Stand Up" has "delivered". I think you can already tell that these claims can be viewed with a healthy dose of scepticism.

Before going through all of these one by one, let's try to define what "Delivered by Stand Up" actually means. There are a couple of definitions we could use:

  • Things that the current people campaigning for Stand Up have achieved. Given that one of the oldest hacks on the team, current President Chloe Smith, only entered student politics in 2013, that's probably the absolute earliest they can claim any influence over (let alone achievements with) SRC policy.
  • Things that the Stand Up brand has achieved through campaigning consistently with that name and similar ideology behind it. Stand Up did not exist in 2015, and was run by different Labor groups in 2016 (NLS+Unity), 2014 (NLS+Unity+SLS), 2013 (Unity+SLS), and 2011-12 (NLS+Unity, SLS did not exist). Before 2011, Activate was the preferred name for Labor campaigns. So not only is it difficult to claim any consistency in the Stand Up name, it's also impossible to claim any policy achievements before that, by this definition.
  • Things that were achieved by former NLS and Unity members regardless of brand name. This is almost certainly what Stand Up are going for but want to hide behind their brand name. Does this count? I would argue no, but I leave this to you, the reader.

Look, it's really easy to be pedantic here and say that the SRC ~lobbied~ for free Wi-fi, and saying that the SRC "delivered it" would be akin to saying the SRC installed every Wi-fi router on campus, which it clearly did not do. Let's give Stand Up the benefit of the doubt (spoiler: they'll need it a lot in this piece) and assume they meant this.

Free internet as we know it became policy in February of 2011. That's before the name Stand Up was even thought of, as Activate's Donherra Walmsley was the sitting President and a significant number of her OBs were Independents or Liberals (remember when Libs ran the SRC? Spoiler: it didn't go well). So we've already failed the two main definitions of "Delivered by Stand Up". Not a great start.

Aahahahaha. Ahahaha. Haha. Ha.

Sorry, I was thinking about the single unit I'm doing this semester and how lectures aren't recorded for it. 

Beyond this meme being wrong, there's some truth to changes in lecture recording policy, with 2015 seeing lots of great discussions between staff, the University, and student representatives, before an opt-out system was rolled out later that year. That would be the same 2015 that Grassroots' Kyol Blakeney was President. Stand Up members may have been a part of those negotiations (not to my knowledge though), but any claim that they are responsible for it is dubious at best.

Hold on to your seats as this may come as a shock: this actually happened. In 2016. From members of the Stand Up team, including President Candidate Isabella Brook.

I mean, sure, it was a small exercise to promote an upcoming Welfare Day of Action, but it's a thing Stand Up actually did this year and can claim as an achievement. Nice!

Ok, we've got some momentum, let's follow this up with something good for Stand Up...


...Do I have to do this one? This is also a last-decade reform. Seriously guys, so much has happened this year. Simple Extension changes, Special Consideration changes, the sacking of casual workers, the sexual harassment campaign, the SCA merger and occupation... why talk about something that was introduced a decade ago? Christ.



So, so close guys. This is a relatively recent achievement - early 2013, so predating almost the entire Stand Up team, but it's still believable that it's a Stand Up achievement..

Seeing as it's 2013, though, that makes it the year of SLS President David Pink, so... probably not something that Stand Up can claim (Pink was elected under Stand Up! branding, but left NLS to form SLS in early 2013).

As further proof of that, this is the post that announced the policy change. It looks a lot like another founding SLS Member, Harry Stratton, I reckon.

It doesn't get much better for the second "thing", the SRC Bookshop, established in... 2006. Yes - more than ten years ago. This happened before most of the Stand Up Team hit High School (I was in Year 8). This happened before the first Kevin Rudd Prime Ministership. So, uhhh, this is a very long stretch to say it is a modern Stand Up delivered promise. 

Interestingly, thanks to this presentation (cheers Ed McMahon) I was able to figure out why it has lasted so long. The bookshop gets a pretty good space for the $0 it pays in rent...




If you thought this would be another last-decade innovation that Stand Up seeks to take credit for, then you're probably getting the point of this piece.

The earliest I can find confirmation of emergency loans existing was in the very first 2009 edition of Honi, and were probably set up well before that. In any case: again, this is not a Stand Up achievement by any reasonable metric.



...What? Huh? There is so much to unpack here.

So, Stand Up stopped Fee Deregulation? Not the Senators that voted it down (the last time in 2015, again, under Blakeney), not the National Union of Students or numerous other lobby groups or campaigners, but specifically members of Stand Up that didn't annoy students on Eastern Avenue. Because, you know, trying to talk to students to change their minds on things never works - I guess the election is going well?

This is hardly an "achievement" and seems more like an amateur attempt at discrediting the opposition.

Here we go - this happened this semester! The Library has been moving towards 24/7 opening hours for several years, but huge strides were made in Semester One (several spaces opened) and now in Semester Two we made it there!

So Stand Up can have this one. What's the tally looking like? We're at... 2/8. Oh.

Why wait til the very last point of the list to bring up a recent development that's actually quite good? Free Tax Help came into being on May 25th of this year according to the SRC website. So... genuinely good job to to current SRC team and President Chloe Smith for that one.

So, where does that leave us? At the very worst for Stand Up, it's a solid 3/10. Not great, I reckon.

It's made worse by all the things they missed from this year that I mentioned above - SCA, Special Con, Sexual Harassment, etc. Well, the bright side of that is at least they only take credit for the achievements of very old NLS and Unity people, instead of current Grassroots activists.

Are there any preposterous claims made by other campaign teams you want me to fact check? I'll be doing a general policy round up in the coming days, but if there's something specific you want looked at, @CJCaccamo is where I'm at.