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Student politics

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Australia is less than two weeks out from an election. Those eighteen and above will go to the polls to have their biggest say in politics for the past three years. But 1.2 million of us eligible to vote have kept our names off the electoral role, 400 000 of those being young people 18-24. It begs the question, “why are young people not having their say?”

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Yes, it's student election season again. Here are my tips for not being harassed by people in bright t-shirts...

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So today's the due date for responses and submissions to the Green Paper. Huh? You say. Green Paper? What's that? Read on to find out!

Green Paper

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Uni seems different around this time of year. Although it was seen on a slightly smaller scale for the USU board elections, a general hustling and bustling is pervading the campus atmosphere. Most of the hustling comes from the sounds of flyers being carried around, and stapled diligently to notice boards and walls. Most of the bustling comes the hastened scratching of chalk on concrete, or that of electoral candidates and their thralls (edit: promoters), working hard to bring their message to the masses. That’s right; it’s the Presidential/Honi elections.

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At the moment I live in a world of chalk dust and footpath art. It is a lovely yet hectic land which I like to think I stroll through with the air of a flâneur, enjoying the smell of fresh paint in the Graffiti Tunnel and watching piles of printed propaganda float by in the breeze.

Oh yes, it is Union election time again.

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Emerging from the cocoon of my beloved Fisher library yesterday, I took a few moments to get accustomed to the late afternoon sun, whilst attempting to transform into the neglected social butterfly of my former self. This is none to easy a task when carrying twelve books, the physical manifestation of an unhealthy belief that if I can just borrow all the books on my topic I’ll get through my thesis.

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Affirmative Action was put in place last year for the University of Sydney Union (USU) Board of student directors. The premise is that the USU Board must always comprise of at least 50% female-identifying students. Questions must be asked why this year, despite AA, only three women nominated for Board and all were appointed without going to election because there were too few candidates. It is a disappointing result for democracy. But moreover, it is a disappointing result for the women on this campus.

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The lights on the porch were just right, enough to see the glass you are drinking from but not the pores of the person you are talking to. There was a bunch of relaxed looking students enjoying their weekend in the best way possible, with a crispy snag rolled in a fluffy piece of bread. I sidled up to the evening’s host to get some clarification about the guests that I didn’t know.

D: “So who’s that guy?”
H: “Oh he’s the neo-realist.”

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I had an awesome day at O-Week yesterday. Here is a photo diary tracing my footsteps...

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February is a very gay month in Sydney. It is Mardi Gras season again, which features a month-long festival of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer cultures in Sydney. And this year, Mardi Gras Festival sprinkles its rainbow glitter all over Sydney University...

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On Monday night the Sydney Uni Law Society (the society which represents law students on campus and organises a whole range of social and other events for them) had its annual general meeting. Those present at the meeting voted to introduce Affirmative Action into the constitution to ensure that women would have equality in representation.

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I used to lament the fact that I was a Sydney Uni student who wasn't on Camperdown campus. I missed out on Theatersports at Manning on Thursdays and the food from Ralph’s café. I used to think that Cumberland was a small campus where nothing very much would happen outside the lecture theatre. But I am beginning to realise that this can also be a good thing!

Last week I walked on to Camperdown campus and was confronted by student politics.

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What do you get when you combine over 300 queer students from more than 20 universities across Australia, house them in one backpacker’s hostel for a week and host over 50 workshops, lectures and seminars on topics ranging from homophobia, religion, sex, art, politics, racism, coming out, identity, health, social change and relationships? Don’t forget to add to that, a 6-day packed social calendar, including an underground performance night in a back-alley warehouse, an art exhibition, a literary journal launch, a burlesque night in an old sandstone church and 3 parties just for the sake of it!

We’re talking about the annual mega long-awaited Queer Collaborations (QC) Conference 2006.

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Above: The QC logo utilising the pink triangle; a symbol of queer pride appropriated from Nazi Germany where homosexual people were branded with upside-down triangles and put in concentration camps.

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I signed my first contract this week: I put my name on a lease. You’d think as a law student, I would actually be able to read and understand a contract. Haha, don’t be silly! Thankfully, the SRC was there to help…

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VSU

17 Jun

As the time to implement this new legislation approaches there is still heavy debate going on about it. Although protests and campaigning around campus seemed to have died down I'm still pretty sure that the majority of students have not accepted it yet.

But considering how politically orientated Sydne Uni is, I'm surprised that some students have come to accept it.

So what is VSU and what do people, especially students, think???? (Remember, this is only my opinion from talking to people around Uni)

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That’s right ladies and gentlemen, it’s only a couple of days until Union elections! How exciting. I’m sure for some of you, this means absolutely nothing. In fact, I guarantee the majority of uni students won’t VOTE (which is a huge shame in my opinion. It’s one of the few times in your life when you can be assured your vote actually counts), but I for ONE will be there, bright and early at the ballot box, casting my vote.

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Union politics

3 May

Wander through any of the Union buildings on campus, park yourself outside Fisher Library or alight the train at Redfern and you'll notice a common occurrence.

Wearing brightly coloured T-shirts pledging their allegiance to their candidate, hordes of loyal followers spruik the USU hopefuls by handing out flyers and decorating the campus with their neon chalk. The Graffiti Tunnel is thick with their names, they visit our lectures, and like characters on a soap opera, for a few weeks each semester, we get to know our USU candidates.

Yep, it's election time again.

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Everything you ever wanted to know about uni but were too afraid to ask....
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