So many parties, but who are you really voting for?

A graphic posted last year by Grassroots on its Facebook page highlighting the role of feeder parties. A couple of these have returned this year, others have disappeared.

By SIMON KUPERMAN and MATILDA BOSELEY

Every year there when it comes to voting time at Clayton you can get a little laugh out of all the joke groups that have lodged a ticket.

There is Free Beer, 420 Blaze It and dozens more. 

But who is actually behind them and where do their votes go when they inevitably lose? The answer, it turns out, is no joking matter.

These tickets are often registered by former or current members of the major parties: Go! and Left Action have been the most frequent in recent years.

In positions where multiple people are elected, similar to the Federal Senate system (eg. Monash Student Council), the MSA uses party preferences to distribute votes for parties that fail to reach the quota.

These “joke” tickets typically preference a major party in their preference statement (publicly submitted before the election), but often withdraw on the last day of voting.

This effectively means all their votes flow to the major party they preference first, creating an extra stream of support, potentially without the voter knowing.

The candidate for five of these small tickets is a past or present Go! member. On their preference statement, all these tickets have preferenced Go! first.

Two smaller tickets have been registered by current Left Action members. There are another 10 smaller groups that have preferenced Left Action first, but Mojo can not confirm if those who registered them were Left Action members.

Nicholas Virgo

While many have fun names, some of these tickets focus on more serious topics, such as “Support for International Students”, a group registered by Go! member and current MSA welfare officer Nicholas Virgo.

Another reason a party may consider running a “feeder” ticket is paper.

The MSA have strict regulations surrounding election practise, including the rule that each party is only allowed a maximum of 6000 sheets of A4 and 400 sheets of A3 paper. Registering more than one ticket allows for more posters and flyers for the major party to be handed out.

Grassroots has spoken out about this “feeder party” phenomenon previously.  

Grassroots member Mali Rea spoke to Mojo News earlier in the semester. She said she was frustrated by new rules that make it difficult to tell how many votes feeder tickets actually get.

“Before that you were able to know how many votes they got from the feeder tickets and there was actually a record that it got them over the line in cases … now there’s no record, it’s as if they never existed when they’re being counted.”

While there is no way to definitively say which groups are being used as feeder tickets, these tickets do fulfil many of the criteria.

Free Beer Party

Caitlin Brown

This group is contesting five positions this year and has been seen in several MSA elections previously. Go! member and current MSA treasurer Caitlin Brown is the listed authorising officer.

 Go! member and 2016 education academic affairs officer Daniel Ffrench-Mullen is listed as contesting four positions on the ticket.

The group has listed the Go! candidates as their first preference for every position, and withdrew before the end of polling in 2016.

Support for International Students

A new ticket this year, Support for International Student is contesting six positions.  Go! member and 2017 MSA welfare officer Nicholas Virgo is listed as contesting a position and  as authorising officer.

Go! member and current Lot’s Wife editor Sophia McNamara is also contesting positions on the ticket.

They have also listed Go! candidates as their first preference.

Refresh Your Student Union

Juliet Steel

Another new group this year, Refresh is contesting five positions. Go! member and this year’s MSA education academic affairs officer Harini Kasthuriarachchi is listed as contesting a position and the as authorising officer on the ticket.

Go! member and Lot’s Wife editor Nicholas Bugeja, Go! member and current MSA education public affairs officer Juliet Steel, and Go! member and current MSA welfare officer Patrick Stephenson are also listed as contesting positions on the ticket.

They have also listed Go! candidates as their first preference.

More Funds For Clubs

More Funds for Clubs, another new ticket this year, is contesting six positions.  Go! member and this year’s other MSA education public affairs officer Corey Rosevear is listed as contesting three positions and as the authorising officer.

Go! member and current Lot’s Wife editor Emina Besirevic is also contesting a position on the ticket.

They have also listed Go! candidates as their first preference.

Free Parking Party

Raphael Tell

A veteran group, the Free Parking Party is back contesting five positions. Go! member and current MSA education academic affairs officer Raphael Tell is listed as the authorising officer.

The party has once again listed Go! candidates as their first preference. In 2016, the party also withdrew just before the end of polling.

Monash Freedom

Monash Freedom is a new ticket that has listed Left Action candidates as their first preference.

Left Action member and current MSA environment and social justice officer Jasmine Duff is listed as the authorising officer.

420 Blaze It

This is another ticket that’s been around for a few years.  Left Action member Chloe Gabrielle Fuller is the sole candidate and authorising officer.

Blaze It was withdrawn just before the end of polling in 2016. Ms Fuller was a candidate for Left Action in 2015.

Fidget spinners and others

The following 10 tickets are all running one candidate and have preferenced Left Action candidates first: Ban Fidget Spinners, Equal Marriage Now, Free Coffee on Campus, Free Education Now, Free Fidget Spinners, Free Palestine, Free Speech On Campus, Refugee Rights, Smokers Rights and Students Against Racism.

The party view
 
Outgoing MSA president and Go! member Matilda Grey said feeder tickets were registered by Go!, Together and Left Action for a number of different reasons.
 
“For some it may merely be to obtain a political advantage within the boundaries of the election regulations, however Go!’s feeder tickets represent campaigns and projects that are a part of our policy platform,” she said.
 
“Go! believes they provide a valuable indication of which activities the MSA should be prioritising according to the voting interests of the student community.”
 
Mojo was unable to find minor parties mentioned on Go!’s Facebook page or policy publications.
 

Left Action were contacted for comment, but did not respond in time for publication.

Party

No. of candidates

Candidate and authorising
officer affiliations

Top preference

History of withdrawing

Free Beer

5

Daniel Ffrench Mullen –  Go!
(2016 education academic officer)

Caitlin Brown – Go!
(2017 treasurer)

Go!

2016

Free Parking

5

Raphael Tell – Go!
(2017 education academic affairs officer)

Go!

2016

More Funds For Clubs

6

Corey Rosevear – Go!
(2017 education public affairs officer)
Emina Besirevic – Go!
(2017 Lot’s Wife editor)

Go!

New

Refresh Your Student Union

5

Harini Kasthuriarachchi – Go!
(2017 education academic affairs officer)
Nicholas Bugeja – Go!
(2017 Lot’s Wife editor)
Juliet Steel – Go!
(2017 education public affairs officer)
Patrick Stephenson – Go!
(2017 welfare officer)

Go!

New

Support for International Students

6

Nicholas Virgo – Go!
(2017 Welfare Officer)
Sophia McNamara – Go!
(2017 Lot’s Wife Editor)

Go!

New

420 Blaze It

1

Chloe Fuller – Left Action
(2015 Left Action candidate)

Left Action

2016

Monash Freedom

1

Jasmine Duff – Left Action
(2017 environment & social justice officer)

Left Action

New