Volume 3, Issue 4, (Originally Published on Monday 25th March 2013)
Voting for the three first-year representative positions on the Law Students’ Society committee opens today, with nominations closing last night. Ben Farrow, Erin MacMullin, Anthony Pitruzzello, Cal Samson, Kerry Riley, Alex Horton, Thomas Richardson, Alex Dworjanyn, Larissa Chan and Bridget
Meyer each submitted a poster, available outside the LSS office, and a 250-word profile, available online. Returning Officer Steph Milione said she hoped the election would be ‘conducted fairly and in good spirits.’
The standing rules prescribe only limited methods of campaigning, leaving voters at a loss as to how to meaningfully distinguish between candidates. No candidate was able to speak to De Minimis on the record this week, for fear of breaching the list of permissible methods of campaigning. The rules, introduced to avoid the harassment of students prevalent in student union elections, restrict candidates to their poster, profile, ‘lecture bashing’ of less than one minute and Facebook statuses.
One candidate, who asked not to be named, was concerned in particular with the restrictions on using social media. ‘Social media is easily the biggest influence on our generation today,’ the candidate said. ‘The standing rules are not effective for the modern JD student.’
These rules limit the ability of candidates to explain who they are and what their aims are if elected. This reduces student society elections to a popularity contest, cheapening the critical role played by the society in the law school. While reducing harassment is important, there are many other methods of campaigning that could and should be endorsed – more posters, more online information and seminars where students can speak. Last year’s committee considered and voted against a relaxation of these rules.
Committee sources confirmed late on Sunday that the students’ society has adopted a quota-based optional preferential system for electing candidates, as is used in the New South Wales Legislative Council. In previous LSS elections, a simple preferential system has been used, which in an election for multiple candidates can distort results. ‘A quota system is the only fair way to go about this,’ said third-year student Ben Murphy. ‘It removes the potential for manipulation of the outcome and means that all preferences will be counted fairly.’
De Minimis has not endorsed any candidates for this election, and wishes everyone running the best of luck.