On Tuesday 14th of September, Grok Magazine held a debate between key players of the Curtin Student Guild Election.
Attendees were treated to members of the two main tickets, Illuminate and Left Action, along with an independent candidate. The candidates answered tricky questions devised by Grok.
I confess dear reader, that the debate was rather exciting, and I’m not just saying that because I was the MC! No, the candidate’s responses to the questions put to them were informative, verbose, and insightful. With heated discussions about parking, online learning, student accessibility, and First Nations representation.
Illuminate, the incumbent Guild party of seven years running, was fronted by their presidential candidate Lucy Rohl. Promising to continue their work within the Guild and to deliver on their historical successes, Rohl stated, “we are for you, with you, we are just students.”
Amber Hilston, Health Sciences Faculty representative candidate, and candidate for National Union of Students (NUS) delegate and current Guild President, Jesse Naylor Zambrano, have reaffirmed this point. With Zambrano stating that they “will continue to deliver” on the progress made in years previous.
On the other hand, Left Action presented a robust activist platform, affirming their opposition to the current Federal government and Curtin’s employment of online learning in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
With NUS delegate candidate Chris MacFarlane stating, “you don’t have to look far to see what is wrong with the world”, Left Action started with a strong statement of intent that went much broader than the Guild election, even touching on the global issue of the Israel/Palestine conflict. While their wide stance on many views is commendable, it isn’t easy to understand their commitment to the Curtin Guild and what tangible difference they intend to make. When asked what they would do on their first day in office, MacFarlane said that he would “begin to educate students on the importance of the NUS”.
The final participant in the debate was independent candidate Kuda Juru. Juru is running as an independent for the position of Accessibility Officer, citing his own experience with ADHD and sensory overload as a primary driving force behind his motivation to run. Juru stated a plan to “improve the lives of disabled and neurodivergent students on campus”.
Citing an intention to create a sensory-friendly learning environment by changing the often “harsh lighting” present in many of Curtin’s study areas and buildings, Juru is also advocating for an overhaul of the CelloPark system, calling it a “tax on disability.” When asked how he would work with those elected, Juru affirmed that he “would work effectively with either Illuminate or Left Action on issues relevant to disabled and neurodivergent students.”
At the beginning of the debate, both sides delivered a passionate Acknowledgement of Country, affirming the sovereignty of the Indigenous people of the Noongar Nation. However, it cannot be ignored that neither major ticket has a nomination for First Nations Representative. This has been seen as troubling, yet both tickets affirmed their commitments to issues relevant to Indigenous students. Illuminate stated that they had a candidate for the position who “pulled out last minute” due to personal reasons. Left Action stated that “they are not running a full ticket, and are focused on certain areas, but will no less be involved in ensuring positive representation for First Nations students.”
Towards the end of the debate, independent candidate Kuda Juru invited a candidate from Illuminate, Rey Nairn, who is also running for Accessibility Officer, to make a statement of their own. Nairn’s insight into life as a Curtin student with disabilities was truly enlightening. They cited the “terribly designed” lecture hall that the debate itself was taking place in for its lack of accessibility. With Rey Nairn being voted in, it is clear that the Guild has a dynamic and passionate Accessibility Officer.
With election results out now, it has never been more important to check out who represents you on campus!
(And who ‘won’ the Great Debate….)