A motion calling for the restriction of voting for the Women’s Officer position to the Women’s Collective was voted down by the Student Representative Council last week.
Moved by Michael Rosser and supported by Women’s Officer Amber Karanikolas, the motion would have required attendance at Collective meetings in return for voting rights.
Karanikolas said the Collective had been relatively weak, and this would be one way of strengthening it, and providing it with autonomy.
Welfare Officer Orrie Johan said the motion would disenfranchise women around the campus.
“There are plenty of women on campus, that for whatever reason, don’t attend the Women’s Collectives,” he said.
“They should still have the right to elect an officer.”
Several compromises were suggested.
Queer Officer Sally Cotton suggested meeting attendance could be a prerequisite for nomination for the Women’s Officer position.
Ed Kearney, President of the Postgraduate Council, said the Collective could consider electing a chairperson separate to the Women’s Officer.
Karanikolas said the change would ensure continuity for the Collective, meaning it would be able to plan further into the future, and remove politics from the election.
Tim Kaliyanda, President of the SRC, told the meeting that moving the election outside student politics wouldn’t work. He said the Women’s Officer position was very political.
Kaliyanda asked how many regularly attended Women’s Collective meetings, to which Karanikolas said there were about 15.
Michael Rosser criticised both tickets running in the last student election, and said neither ticket had any women’s initiatives listed on their how-to-vote handouts.
Liz Brooking, from the campus Socialist Alternative, said she didn’t see how disenfranchising the majority of women would strengthen women’s voice on the SRC.
She said if Rosser had felt strongly about this change, “Stand Up!” should have taken it to the election so students could vote for it.
The motion was voted down.