The Postgraduate and Research Students’ Association (PARSA) will be implementing changes approved last month to the election process of the Postgraduate Representative Council (PRC). The PRC, made up of 29 elected members, represents all postgraduate students at the ANU, advocating for their interests and organising events. Elections will run from Monday 18th to Friday 22nd of May, following a brief campaigning period. All postgraduate students are members of PARSA, eligible to stand for election to the PRC and are strongly encouraged to vote.
The 2014 election process was fraught with difficulties, resulting in a call for such a rule alteration. However, PARSA’s new constitution, adopted by special resolution during the PARSA OGM in March, will not be in effect for these elections. The necessary ratification of all constitutional amendments by the University Council is not able to occur until the 29th May- after the elections will be concluded.
The idea of quickly ratifying Sections 6 and 7 of the 2015 Constitution, to allow direct elections to be run, was discouraged by legal counsel. The entire document will thus be ratified together to ensure cohesion. Pending University Council ratification and acceptance by the Office of Regulatory Services, the new Constitution will take effect sometime in the middle of this year.
New election and discipline regulations, in conjunction with the PARSA Constitution as of May 2013, will control the elections. This year, election figures will be released alongside the overall results at the PARSA AGM, which will be held on Monday 25th May. The same day will see the first PRC meeting held, at which eleven officers will be elected by PRC members. Candidates are now required to select on their application form which officer positions they plan to run for in order to build transparency. Pending approval of the new PARSA constitution, 2016 will see a shift to direct elections whereby all officer positions will be appointed by the general postgraduate body’s votes.
PARSA has also made a move toward greater general understanding of information and electoral processes. Information sessions relating to the procedure were run during the first week of nominations, while detailed infographics outlining the process can be viewed online. Once all candidates are confirmed, individual profiles will be released to encourage general student involvement and to seek individual candidate support.
Other alterations new this year include limitations on when and where candidates may campaign, as well as the direct identification of what constitutes an electoral offence and possible retributions for them. Further details of the PARSA elections can be sourced online at parsa.anu.edu.au.