By SIMON KUPERMAN and MATILDA BOSELEY
Controversy broke out on the Facebook group Monash StalkerSpace last night when a screenshot of a post from Together candidate Fergus Calwell showed him saying Together would “take the student union back from the Left”.
Mr Calwell made the post last week in the Facebook group Young Labor Action, widely known as a part of the youth wing of the Labor Right faction.
The post on StalkerSpace has since been deleted.
This screenshot was posted to Monash StalkerSpace about 7pm last night with the caption: “TFW [that feeling when] student politicians claim their intentions are apolitical
Given its placement on a Young Labor Facebook page, “left” suggests the Left faction of the Labor party.
Sources within Go! said this showed that new party Together was not an apolitical collaboration with people from various clubs, but a new ticket primarily driven by the Labor Right to take out Go!, which is aligned with the Labor Left.
While Go! in the past have stated they’re not officially aligned with the Labor Left, they have admitted Labor Left and progressive politics play a role in their party.
Mr Calwell said he made the post because he thought “people in that Facebook group would also want to know that a similar group” to the party More! at Melbourne University was also forming at Monash.
Together was a project that had been a year in the making by presidential candidate Michael Fisher, he said.
“No, Together was not created by Labor Right … This isn’t about removing Labor Left, it’s about making sure the MSA is led by experienced Monash community leaders who are connected with the student body at large.”
Together campaign manager Jett Fogarty said the ticket was never about Labor Right taking over the MSA from the Labour Left.
“(The ticket was about) making sure the people that were actually going to represent students and actually deliver on what we’re promising to do would be in power, not some politically ideological Left v Right of the Labor Party attack.”
Mr Fogarty denied the party had ever campaigned on being apolitical.
“We never claimed to be apolitical … If members of our ticket are politically inclined, it’s the nature of the campaign people like that are going to be involved,” he said.
“If we wanted to do it the Labor Right way, like that’s been done at Deakin and Latrobe … instead of getting a diverse range of clubs and community leaders from across the spectrum, you would recruit 50 to 100 incredibly intelligent, hard working, machine-type Labor people, and you would drill them and drill them untill you became a campaign machine.”
Mr Fogarty accused Go! and current MSA President Matilda Grey of hypocrisy for attacking Together for doing what Go! had done for the past 12 years.
“As much as Matilda (Grey) wants to say that the Labor Left has nothing to do with the MSA, it’s become a breeding ground for Left Labor crew,” he said.
“Go! for the past few weeks now has relentlessly prosecuted a campaign saying that this is a takeover, that this Labor Right, how disgusting is it when political factions take over a student union, where in they have been for 12 years a political faction of the Labor Party controlling the MSA.”
Ms Grey said Go! was transparent about its political involvement, but that it was something students didn’t care about.
“Go! has always been transparent in its broadly progressive political involvement. But frankly, students couldn’t give half a shit about campus political intrigue.”
She said students cared about better campus life and representation and that Go!’s policies on these issues were clear – that with increased clubs funding, capping rent at on-campus residential halls and expanding the 601 bus service, their “track record and successes speak for themselves”.
“If Together devoted a fraction of the time they are spending criticising Go! towards writing their own sound policies, they’d have released a detailed plan by now.”