The ANUSA 2019 probity report, released today, saw that the Climate Action for ANUSA ticket received 14 complaints, ranging from campaigning in exclusion zones to misleading claims about other tickets and intimidating opposition candidates.
The report outlines the campaign ban placed on Kim Stern for 24 hours regarding intimidation towards another candidate. Stern, notably a member of political group Socialist Alternative, was recorded screaming at VOTE! candidate Jacob Ellis on University Avenue.
However, Stern was then photographed campaigning during the campaign ban. Climate Action disputed this saying that they hadn’t seen him since 8am on the day of the campaign ban. Wren Somerville, another candidate on the Climate Action ticket, then backtracked and said that they had been “confused about the time that Kim had come past”. The report stated that the probity team didn’t find the response convincing, and Somerville was given an official warning for committing an electoral offence.
Somerville also committed another electoral offence in spreading misinformation about other tickets.The report outlined that Somerville made misleading claims about both the Empower and Electrify tickets. In a recording of an interaction between an Empower candidate and Somerville, they alleged that the Empower ticket is from “a party that supports locking up and torturing refugees.” This incident was found to be in contention, despite the Climate Action ticket stating that this was a bipartisan statement that could be backed up in a United Nations report. Climate Action was issued electoral warnings.
Climate Action for ANUSA, Empower your ANUSA and Turn Over a New Leaf were all found to have campaigned in exclusion zones. Lachy Day, the ANUSA President-Elect, attempted to contest the decision made by the returning officer, which was upheld. Although no formal action was taken against Day, he was reprimanded.
The Electrify ANUSA ticket’s logo was originally too similar to that of Empower and were forced to change it. Electrify also received a complaint which claimed that “language such as ‘It’s time to put a Greek on the executive!’ normalised ethnic fetishisation.” It was found to have been unsubstantiated.
Grace Sixsmith was previously a member of Student Unity, and is a member of the Australian Labor Party.