August 29, 2004 | Unknown

Illuminate Your University: It’s Election Time

I know all the talk is on that other, supposedly more important election, but if my memory serves me correctly, I think we must be coming up to the always vital (for budding politicians at least) student union elections. What follows is my, well, somewhat fictionalised, and very silly account of all the fun and nonsense of the campaign. By the way, the bunch that run the Griffith University Student Representative Council have apparently been misbehaving of late to the detriment of ‘minority’ students. I myself recently had an interesting ‘discussion’ with the “apolitical” women’s officer. Kick ’em out if you’ve got a vote.
Harried students hurry by not noticing winter has given way to spring or the t-shirt clad groups assembling in the space between the main hall and the eatery. Hopeful and current student politicians also rush about in an agitated state not associated with their grades slipping from Conceded Pass to Bugger Off and Find a Job in a Junior Minister’s Office. Yes, it’s election time and the air is thick with an excitement unfelt by only 95% of the student population. Declan and Damian, presidential candidate and campaign manager respectively for Illuminate, are sitting at the team stall when their talk turns from Iraq to more pressing matters.
“Why aren’t you wearing the team t-shirt”, Damian asks Declan tersely.
“It’s crap”, responds an even terser Declan.
“Illuminate – Lighting Up Your University with Social Justice, Equality, Feminism, Revolution, Environmentalism, Disco Balls and whatever else. Fortunately, the print gets so small you can’t read pass Up Your. As the leader, I can look a bit different, anyway”.
“Declan, you are decked out in jeans and a Colorado shirt. You might look different from the group but not from every other bloke on campus.
“You accepted the vote to let the immoderate left, the greens, women’s and the queer area in so now you have to put up with their contributions even if it means endless meetings and a t-shirt that is like a grocery list for Ideology Mart”.
“Fine, I will put it on later”, snaps an unhappy and soon to be unstylish Declan.
“By the way, David wants to know if it’s too late for the Democrats to join us”.
“I know who David is, but who are the Democrats?”
“I don’t know, some fringe group or something”.
“Right, well tell David we don’t have enough room on our t-shirt for whatever it is the Democrats stand for”.
At this point in the conversation Andrew, former student turned staffer for a junior minister, has taken the opportunity afforded by the rest of his team mates being away composing a scurrilous leaflet about Declan’s sexual proclivities to sidle up to Illuminate’s stall. His manner suggests he has got something more on his mind than the Meals on Wheels meeting he is going to attend shortly for his boss.
“Hi, Andrew”, Declan and Damian slur in unison.
“How’s the campaign going; tenth one isn’t it? Don’t suppose you want to tell us where the rest of Winston has gone?” adds Damian sarcastically.
“Just printing our queer policy”, Andrew answers in the petulant tone his Young Liberal colleagues have gotten used to of late.
“There is something I want to talk to you guys about. There are a few issues I believe we’re not addressing and I thought I would take it upon myself to raise them; not to undermine the team but just to let students know what Winston will stand for when Adrian finally stops being preselected as our presidential candidate.
“Unfortunately, the Liberal Club is drier than an Evangelical Students’ Convention these days, and twice as dull.
“Anyway, I better get back to the stall before somebody pinches the Adrian – A Real Student for Real Students leaflets again. You haven’t seen Mitchell from Beazley have you, Damian?
“Probably trying to find a more relevant name, I suspect”.
With Andrew’s departure, Damian starts giving the recently gathered Illuminate their first tasks for the day.
“Steven, Mick, Anthony, Chris and Jessica, here are some brochures to give out and yes, Jessica, I know leaflets are made from trees and that without trees sloths don’t have anywhere to come down from when they need to take a crap but people need to be told how to vote. Especially ensure you have them when you go to the Engineering and Arts faculties.
“John, Stewart, Brian and Sandy, here is the lecture bash list and yes, Brian, I know I have given you Killing Off the Welfare State and Other Economic Rationalities 101 to do but think of all the potential recruits to the Socialist Liberation Front of Brisbane (SLFB) in that class.
“Everybody else is to monitor the movements of those students who tell you they have already voted even though the polls aren’t even open yet. If they still haven’t cast their ballot by the end of the week get their names because we are going to introduce a retrospective policy making voting compulsory. The fines incurred for failure to comply with this should make for a very fine time indeed at next year’s National Union of Students’ (NUS) Convention in Hawaii.
“Nobody get into any debates about the need to serve real food in the refectory or the merits, or otherwise, of the new Kylie single. Stay focussed, look humble and if you have got a spare moment try and get rid of the graffiti Andrew has written in the toilets.
“We don’t want the Electoral Officer blaming us for all those references to Adrian’s small pecker in the John Dawkins Building lavatories”.
The group heads off in different directions, while Declan leaves to change his shirt and redo his hair. Damian allows himself a moment’s reflection and a Marlboro Red. “Thank God the Greens still smoke”, he mutters to himself as he lights one of the cigarettes he has pilfered from the Environment Officer candidate. He notices the rest of Winston has returned but as usual they are just sitting around smirking. Except Andrew that is; his smirk has become a permanent scowl.
“My second last year of doing this”, he thinks with some sadness until his mood changes dramatically with the sudden arrival of Betty, the twin-set and pearls Young Liberal President whose voice sounds like a drill.
“Did you put that nasty graffiti up on the toilet walls because if you did I’m going to tell the Electoral Officer and he’ll make Illuminate pay for the damages. Besides, it’s not true and I should know”.
Andrew takes another drag on his smoke while preparing to respond. He thinks again to himself but more happily this time, “My second last year of doing this”.

Posted by Unknown at 12:56 pm | Comments Off on Illuminate Your University: It’s Election Time |
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