For a ticket that has only lost control of the Guild twice since 1994, the results from the 2018 UWA Student Guild Elections is unprecedented in recent Guild history with STAR emerging victorious in the presidential race by just 14 votes.
Here is a summary of what I consider to be the most important, and interesting, results for the officer bearer positions in making a projection of the seven National Union of Students (NUS) delegates and the 13 Ordinary Guild Councillors (OGC’s).
President of the Guild
The most important, and indeed the closest result, was for the position of President. The pattern established in the last few electoral cycles has continued in this election as Launch steadily makes gains against STAR. This time, for the first time since 2012, preferences had to be distributed and while Launch is narrowly ahead of STAR by 22 votes in the first round, they haven’t won a big enough margin to solely win on first preferences. The next table shows the result after preferences of Left Action were distributed to the top two candidates.
At this stage, STAR has overcome the narrow 22 vote lead Launch had to a majority of 14 votes, or 0.42%.
Another interesting thing to note is that the preference flow of Left Action votes overwhelmingly exhausted in this election, specifically at a rate of around 57.5%. However, unsurprisingly, out of the roughly 42.5% of Left Action voters that did indicate a second preference, around 63.5% of them went to STAR over Launch. In this year’s Guild Elections, Left Action was clearly the kingmaker.
Public Affairs President
The result for Public Affairs President is intriguing considering that Launch broke the usual pattern of the ticket that elects the President of the Guild sweeping the rest of the office bearer positions. Launched sneaked out a victory here after preferences by a margin of 46 votes, or about 1.5%. It is not as narrow as STAR’s presidential victory which suggests that not enough STAR voters either voted down the ticket or that the Launch candidate’s personal vote was substantial enough to overcome the preference flows from Left Action, which generally favours the STAR candidate.
STAR’s strength among women voters is reflected in the fact that the Women’s Officer race was the only three-cornered contest to be decided on first preferences (in other words, that one of the candidates has got a majority in first preferences). The interesting to note here is that in this year’s election, the swing among women between Launch and STAR was only about 0.85% with the presence of an outperforming Left Action candidate explaining most of that rater large 13% swing against STAR.
International Students’ Officer
The International Student Link’s (ISL) rebranding as GLOBAL seems to be successful as they have recaptured the International Student’s Officer position from Launch in one of the biggest swings in this election cycle at around 16.5%.
This seems to suggest that Launch’s victory in 2017 was either a strong protest vote that has “come home” to GLOBAL or that the circumstances in last year’s election for International Students Officer was influenced more by the presence of an independent candidate in that election and other prevailing factors.
Forecasts for NUS and OGC
It will normally take one to two weeks to get the official final results from the Western Australian Electoral Commission for the offices with multiple positions – like the seven NUS delegates and the 13 OGC’s. With the rest of the count to continue on Tuesday, I am prepared to give a rough projection based on the percentage of first preferences received in the office bearer positions.
Out of the two positions in doubt, one of them would be a toss-up between STAR and GLOBAL, though leaning towards GLOBAL based on how well they did in the International Students’ Officer position. The other position would be a three-way fight between STAR, Launch and Left Action. However, considering that in recent elections Left Action has proved to be resilient in the count towards securing the final seat, I am inclined to bet that Left Action are more likely to hold on to their sole NUS delegate position.
Ordinary Guild Councillors
Of the positions in doubt, it is conceivable that GLOBAL they might snatch a third seat that otherwise might have gone to STAR based on their performance in this year’s elections. The other position in doubt might either be taken by Launch, Left Action or the sole independent. The election of OGC’s has the most complicating factors and the numbers above are rough numbers that I suggest might be close to the official outcome.
The opinions and views expressed in this article is solely that of the author and does not reflect the positions of State or the UWA Politics Club. The author ran in Guild Elections in 2014 and 2015 on an independent ticket.
Kallen White is a recent graduate of UWA, holding a Bachelor of Commerce in Economics and Chinese. He holds a further Graduate Diploma in Economics from the Australian National University and is currently working in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.