September 6, 2021
From Red Flag (Australia)

Socialists have secured a resounding victory in the Adelaide University Student Representative Council (SRC) elections. Campaigning alongside other progressive students as Left Action, we won the key positions of president, education officer, environment officer, postgraduate officer and a general councillor position.

A coalition of Left Action, Labor and Grassroots (Australian Greens) factions won twenty out of 23 positions—including every office bearer position—ousting the right-wing Progress-Connect alliance, which has controlled the SRC for two years.

During its time in office, Progress-Connect banned left-wing students from moving motions it deemed “irrelevant to students” at SRC meetings and defended management’s attacks on students and staff.

Despite online voting, we were able to campaign to students in person. Our campaign focused on political and class questions; we argued to kick destructive industries off campus and cut the vice-chancellor’s salary to the average wage, and argued for anti-imperialist solidarity.

The most popular demand was opposing university management’s plans to merge five faculties into three, sack 200 staff members and axe courses. We have been running a high-profile campaign against these cuts since they were announced in July.

Left Action argued that only through mass movements can we overcome the power of management and democratise our university.

The deal with the Labor and Grassroots factions was made on the basis that they endorse our presidential candidate Ana Obradovic, a known campus activist. In 2020, the same deal was refused by the Labor factions. But Labor supported us this year after we matched their vote share in 2020.

While socialists hold a number of key positions, no one group has a majority on the SRC. Labor Unity (the Labor right faction), National Organisation of Labor Students (Labor left faction) and the Grassroots all control some positions, as do a small rump of Liberals and Progress.

This is an important step forward for the left at a campus that has been dominated by the right for several years.