A foe for GO? A look at new party Together

 

Michael Fisher heads Together, a new political party at Monash. Picture: Matilda Boseley

By MATILDA BOSELEY,
politics editor

The 2017 MSA election is shaping up to be an interesting one, with a new contender emerging in the party Together.

Go! has been in power for 12 years, and has won many positions uncontested over that time, but this new party is launching a near-full ticket to oppose them this year.

Together is headed by Michael Fisher, last year’s national chairperson for the Australasian Union of Jewish Students, with the majority of its member coming from clubs and societies around Clayton campus.

“Right now we have 35 clubs [supporting the ticket],” Fisher says. “The reason we have constructed the coalition the way we have is we know that the only way you can have a good MSA is by … having people from all of the campus and that’s what we have tried to do.”

Among these clubs are the Law Students’ Society, the Society of Arts Students, the Business and Commerce Students’ Society, the Biomedical Society and the Monash Engineering Students’ Society.

Together’s main focus will be promoting campus life, and say they feel Go! has been too complacent on this issue. “There isn’t that deliberate energy invested in the life on campus,” Fisher says.

“Right now people aren’t proud of their MSA, no one is like ‘oh fuck yeah, it’s week three of semester two, let’s find out when the next MSA event is’. That has honestly never happened in the last few years.”

Some areas Together wants to focus on are increasing live music on campus, addressing sexual assault, improving the expulsion and academic exclusion process and creating a more engaging campus life.

Go! says it will focus on some similar things for the next year, and is currently working on the sexual assault awareness campaign Shift, replacing the After Exam Party with a live music event and successfully getting the university to allow MSA members to sit on academic review boards.

Controversy has already emerged in the election. A notice has been issued by the returning officer saying there can be no campaigning for political parties in any club forums, including social media.

It came after Together representatives began approaching clubs to form its coalition.

Current Go! president Matilda Grey said the complaint did not come from her or her colleagues. “I didn’t even hear about the issue until the day [the notice] was issued.”

Another notice was issued against Monash Right after video footage uploaded to Monash StalkerSpace showed a Monash Right representative campaigning in an MSA bar space (a campaign penalty was applied). 

The role of the Labor Party is also playing a part in this election.

Fisher says Together is “absolutely not” being used as a tool to promote the political careers of members.

He says that while the majority of members on the ticket are from clubs and societies on campus, some members of the ticket do have a Labour background. But claims the party is being driven by the Labor Right are “rather baseless”, he says.

Grey says she is not sure the Together group is “as apolitical as they claim to be”.

“I mean being political is not a bad thing at all … but actually we know their whole ticket is being driven by the Labour Right,” she says.

Grey says Go! has no official alignment with the Labour Left, however some members are actively involved in that political group.

On Together’s ticket, candidates for the key political roles are largely being filled by Grassroots members, a group that is politically left.