Mary Burke is running for the role of Student Guild Councillor with Illuminate and describes herself as a “confident and quirky” individual, who stands for equality and making everyone feel welcomed.
Born in Ireland and raised in Karrinyup, Burke is passionate about making students from rural corners of WA and far corners of the world feel heard and welcomed at Curtin. She is currently in her first year of a medical degree, and is also the treasurer of the Curtin Medicine Society.
“Getting into medicine was a really big achievement for me, it’s something that I’ve worked at for a long time,” Burke said.
Having only been with Illuminate for a few months, Burke admitted she had never considered the role until Illuminate’s candidate for General Secretary, Dylan Heywood, made a suggestion.
“Before that I didn’t even know [Illuminate] was a thing, so I was pretty lucky to get the offer,” she said.
As a Student Guild Councillor, Burke hopes to integrate more student voices in the things Guild does.
“I know there’s a lot of people that don’t even know who the Guild President is, what the Guild does or what Illuminate does, and I think it’s so important for people at this university to know about their Guild and what it’s doing for them,” Burke said.
“I think that Guild councillors should be a link between the students at Curtin and Guild itself, and that is something that I really wanted to do.
“I definitely want to make guild more accessible to everyone else, and a lot of the things I want to do focus on education — things like improving pass requirements, making sure you can get extensions if you need them, keeping our tuition free weeks, and so on.”
In a candidate statement, Mary said she would “continue to support free Guild, be a voice for all clubs and students on campus, and promote some of the biggest Guild parties yet!”
Including Burke, 18 candidates from Illuminate will be contesting for one of the 10 spots on Guild Council, along with 5 candidates from their rival party, Left Action.
Ayan Mohamed, an anti-racism activist and education campaigner, is one of the five Left Action candidates also competing for a spot.
According to her statement in The Candidate, Mohamed said:
“It’s vital to have activists on the Guild Council who will advocate to have the student union push back against racial attacks on campus and broader society, and who will also demand a more inclusive education.”
An education which does not use international students as “cash cows”, according to Mohamed.
Mohamed was approached for comment on her political platform, but failed to provide a response.