The ANU Law Students’ Society (LSS) has recently decided to ban electoral tickets. The LSS is one of the largest societies on campus, with a committee made up of around 35 people.
Last year was one of the first years that candidates for the LSS election put together tickets. The election saw three tickets put forth candidates amongst a slew of independents. However, the use of tickets has largely been unpopular in LSS elections.
LSS President Dan Trevanion said although the use of tickets had been growing over the last three years, “the existing electoral by-laws of the Society did not adequately address the use of tickets and so I felt it was necessary for the Society to either formally accept or reject tickets in our elections”.
As such, Trevanion put forth the motion to amend section 3.4 of the LSS Election By-Law to state:
‘No candidate may run on a ticket. A ticket is defined as more than one (1) candidate running under an express common name or organising co-promotion for the purposes of the election. Candidates may not make any reference to any other candidate for the purposes of the election in published material.’
During their consideration the LSS committee discussed the exclusionary nature of tickets. Many stated that tickets discouraged people from running, as they might not feel they had the same support of those in tickets. There was the risk that people were also being pushed into portfolios they weren’t necessarily passionate about due to the need to fill roles on the ticket.
Trevanion said, “the ANU LSS operates on the trust its members place in us as their representatives. Encouraging an election that perpetuates a perception of exclusivity undercuts our ability to act as representatives of our community”.
Members also raised the point that the LSS is a functional body, rather than a political entity such as ANUSA. In many cases the LSS isn’t about putting forth policy reform but working in the already established portfolios to advocate for students in a variety of ways.
Trevanion also stated that the LSS “is at its core, a functional body that operates through events. For this reason, individuals that have strong organisational skills, communicative ability and work-ethic are needed. These capacities are personal and are not strengthened by running together with other students”.
The committee decided in a meeting on Sunday 21st August to ban the use of tickets as well to disallow students from endorsing one another in published material, as is commonly done in the Woroni elections.
“To ensure the Society operates with the best personnel in the future it is critical that our elections encourage students with the appropriate attributes to run and allows for students to distinguish themselves on the basis of these attributes”, said Trevanion.