Candidate Statements 2016



Postgrad Action


VALDOVINOS, Jorge (Lush)
WORTHY, Blythe (Lush)
DONG, Qing
CHARLES, Gareth (Postgrad Action)
XU, Xiao (Lush)
CORR, Evelyn (Postgrad Action)
ROWBOTHAM, Nick (Postgrad Action)
DUCK, Martin (Postgrad Action)
PREECE, Joshua
McMAHON, Edward (Lush)
MANE, Mithil
GREENWELL, Thomas (Postgrad Action)
RYAN, Matthew (Postgrad Action)
BRENNAN, Claudia (Lush)
JOHNSON, Rebecca (Lush)
NIXON, Alexandra (Postgrad Action)
MUNN, Brandon
BUTLER, Michael
MORTHA, Kiriti
HARDY, Kane (Postgrad Action)
MATCHETT, Lily (Postgrad Action)
EVANS, Rachel (Postgrad Action)
MOORE, Oliver (Lush)

Ticket Statements

Postgrad Action

We stand for Free, Quality Education

We stand for free education – for education that puts students learning and staff’s well being ahead of profits. We stand in defence of the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies which is under threat of amalgamation under Spence’s proposed Restructure.

We stand in defence of the Sydney College of the Arts, and oppose the attempted to close Callan Park. We oppose the University becoming a profit machine for Spence.

We stand for an End to Discrimination

We stand for an end to racism and discrimination on campus. We stand for equal transport concessions for international students and for real and meaningful respect towards First Nations students and staff.

We will fight to end discrimination against Muslim and LGBTIQA+ students. We will fight to implement anti-bullying programs, like Rainbow Campus.

We stand for an Eco-Friendly campus

We stand for an environmentally sustainable campus. We will fight for the University to end all investments in the top 200 fossil fuel companies, which are the highest contributors to climate change and the demolition of First Nations lands. We will take a stand against the University for its dirty practices, and see a sustainable campus for all.


It is a winter of discontent. Student unionism is in a rough patch. The dream of a vibrant student life in a free and accessible higher education system has been diminished by neoliberal, corporatist approaches to education.

We need to renew the dream with a LUSH SUPRA – a postgraduate union that people want to be part of.

A SUPRA that delivers:

  • More dedicated postgraduate spaces
  • A response to the chronic child care shortage and unrealistic costs for such an essential service
  • Increased Assistance with finding internships, placements and research grants + fulfilling other study requirements that are onerous and lack sufficient support.
  • Support to any activist who wants to organise a campaign
  • Support to the entire postgraduate community in developing stronger social networks by facilitating affordable + fun social events.

We’re cute, femme, lefty babes.

We have experience + dedication.

We have a vision and a plan for a LUSH SUPRA.

Make your vote lush.


Candidate Statements

Jorge Valdovinos

My name is Jorge, and I come from that beautiful long and narrow strip of land known as Chile. I studied Art, Graphc Design and Multimedia Communication, which in my country are mostly practice-based fields: I come from a background in ‘doing’. Now that I’m in Australia doing a PhD in Digital Communications and Culture, my plan is to get into the world of ‘reflecting upon’. Although my background has nothing to do with social sciences or cultural studies, it certainly is responsible for the way in which I approach the question for “culture”: I believe that art and aesthetics are central to understand our meaning making practices.

Blythe Worthy (Lush)

I want to be involved in SUPRA as I think the association as a whole needs to take responsibility for its lack of overall support for wom*n and non-cis men, and really concentrate resources and energy in this area. Because I think this is an organisational problem, I have set up a rapidly growing Wom*n’s Reading Group, the first of its kind certainly in recent history. There also needs to be more communication between OBs and in social media environments. I have experience in this area as I was Education Officer for the SRC last year.

John Nairn

No statement received.

Qing Dong

No statement received.

Gareth Charles (Postgrad Action)

I have been an active councillor with SUPRA for 2 years. I want to help SUPRA fight attacks on education by the federal government, which only add to the increasingly heavy financial burden for all students.

I will help SUPRA fight the university restructure which will result in the gutting of staff, services and courses.

I believe in free education which is why I am running with POSTGRAD ACTION.

Xiao Xu (Lush)

I am an international student and I want to help out other international students like with the transport concession campaign and I think it would be something I would be good at. I have experience with organising for students back in china

Evelyn Corr

No statement received.

Ahmed Bin Suhaib

Last year I ran for the council to improve the education, and enhance student life of postgraduates. As a councillor and co-education officer of SUPRA I have done exactly that this past year. From networking with students to address common postgraduate issues and running campaigns that improve the postgraduate experience on campus to social events such as Wine and cheese does Trivia.

However my work at SUPRA is not complete. With the University proposing ridiculous changes that will cause more harm than benefit, and postgraduate community feeling more isolated there is plenty that needs to be done. I plan to continue working on the campaigns like travel concessions for all international students, and create a greater postgraduate community within University of Sydney and NSW. I will continue cooperating with other councillors to ensure that SUPRA achieve its goal while ensuring proper governance takes place within SUPRA. Moreover I want to make SUPRA a more democratic organization by promoting committee meetings on E-Grad, SUPRA Facebook page and groups to allow postgraduate students to have their say in SUPRA events and campaigns.

If elected, I will continue my work and will aim to make SUPRA a better representative of the postgraduate community.

Nicholas Rowbotham (Postgrad Action)

I’m running on Postgrad Action because we need SUPRA to fight for postgrads at a time when the university is trying to force more students into full-fee paying degrees, and the federal government is maintaining its commitment to fee deregulation. We need to strongly resist these trends and articulate a vision for free and properly funded education. We also need to prepare to defend the rights of academic staff when the University EBA is renegotiated in 2016/17, particularly because many postgrads have casual academic jobs. As an undergraduate I edited Honi Soit, and was on the Executive of the SRC.

Martin Duck (Postgrad Action)

I’m running for SUPRA because I want to stand up for post-graduate student’s rights.

I believe in equal rights for international and domestic rights and will fight for equal international student transport concessions.

I will stand for free education, and against the university re-structure and course cuts.

Joshua Preece

No statement received.

Edward McMahon (Lush)

A student union is only as strong as its membership. And it can only count on its membership if it delivers real benefits to them.

SUPRA should work to deliver more dedicated spaces for postgraduate students.

It should address the chronic shortage of child care on our campus.

It should provide support systems for students who need to find internships, placements or research grants.

As a former SRC Queer officer + Board Director cum Honorary Treasurer of the USU, I have the skills + dedication necessary to make these things happen.

It’s time for a ~Lush~ new approach to postgraduate student unionism

Mithil Mane

The purpose of getting involved with SUPRA is to get engaged with wide range of social networks, events and other fellow students in the university as a whole. Overviewing past and current events, I personally feel SUPRA is taking lot of efforts to engage PG students into social events and helping solve their problems affecting their academic as well. I’ve been actively involved in organizing social, cultural and technical events during my bachelor’s degree. With ample of experience in managing and leading extra curricular activities, I was elected as The General Secretary of the Students Council in the final year of my degree. Being at this position, I learned how it feels to take responsibilities on your shoulders when people count on you to ameliorate thing. My propensity to understand team work took my managing and leadership qualities to the next level. I’m looking forward to get involved with SUPRA and I assure to give best of my combined efforts to procure and astute its sole purpose and mission to serve all Post Graduates of USYD.

Thomas Greenwell (Postgrad Action)

I am running for SUPRA Council because I want to stand up for Postgrad rights at this campus. This year I have stood up to the Business School with BUSS5000 and BUSS6000 students, and together we won large gains for students. I have successfully defended simple extensions, and also written University policy that extends the rights of both coursework and research students. I want to continue to do this.

I also believe in International Student rights, equal travel concessions and free quality education, and that’s why I’m running on Postgrad Action.

Melanie Stevenson

I am interested in becoming a SUPRA Councillor as I am passionate about creating a better campus experience for our postgraduate students. I have previously held roles within student organisations, most notably as the secretary and subsequently president of Griffith University’s Student Representative Council (Queensland Conservatorium). One of my major advocacy wins was forcing the inclusion of a designated subject for students to advance their performance studies whilst also working towards their honours.

Since moving to the University of Sydney, I have been involved in the Australian Medical Students’ Association (AMSA) on both a social and an advocacy level. I regularly represent the University of Sydney at AMSA Council, advocating on behalf of our medical students. Through this avenue, I also organised a blood drive where students helped save over 350 lives. Furthermore, I filled a casual vacancy on SUPRA Council for the 2015-2016 term, so I understand how meetings work, and also the commitment needed to the subcommittees. Finally, as a rural student who had to move away from home to study at university, I understand the struggles of our disadvantaged students and the unique challenges that rural and remote students face.

Matthew Ryan (Postgrad Action)

My name is Matthew Ryan, and I am a postgraduate research student (MPhil) and tutor in the Department of Political Economy. From this academic perspective, I am particularly concerned by how the prestigious reputation of the Univesity of Sydney is being used to whitewash over blatant neoliberal and corporatist policy changes. In short, I stand for free education for all, education and research agendas not defined by marketability, and accessible and equitable support services for those who need them – in particular, international and low socio-economic background students. I hope to represent you in accordance to these values.

Emmet Gillespie

No statement received.

Claudia Brennan (Lush)

I’ve been a Postgrad for only a few months but I am really interested in becoming more involved with SUPRA. As a female student I want to be part of a strong wom*n’s collective and support others. I also am interested in welfare and the Education Campaign, something I was involved in as an undergrad. If elected I will continue to be involved in these campaigns and hopefully to a more intense degree. My name is claudia & I am happy to be alive.

Cameron Nottingham

SUPRA has always been contentious, sometimes able to provide for the student body, others it provides a forum for debate, often becoming weighed down by self interest and bureaucracy. In running for SUPRA council 2016 I aim to work towards efficiency and improvement of student services whilst maintaining adequate representation and advocacy.

Rebecca Johnson (Lush)

I am a natural social organiser that loves bringing people together! Post-grads are often at risk of isolation; I aim to help SUPRA members connect and develop a sense of belonging.

Currently, Masters of Communications (complexity and organisational structures). Previously, B.Science (Australia) and B.Arts (Canada). The decade between I was working and skiing in the Rockies, crafting a range of social clubs, and organising rad events both corporate and grassroots.

I am honoured to be a part of the USyd academic community and I hope to help many others enjoy the same level of Uni Stoke that I have!

Alexandra Nixon (Postgrad Action)

My name is Alexandra Nixon and I am studying a Graduate Diploma of Music (classical voice performance) and a diploma of languages. 2016 is my 6th year of student activism at USYD. I have stood in solidarity with staff and students during the 2013 strikes, campaigned against fee-regulation and in 2015 and 2016 have been heavily involved in campaigning against Spence’s profit hungry Restructure. I stand before you as a rural student on both a satellite campus and Camperdown aiming to broaden support and engagement with our postgrad student body. I am running with Postgrad Action, as a passionate advocate for a progressive, activist SURPA.

Brandon Munn

Recently beginning my research Phd in Physics and Neuroscience I am interested in further engaging with my postgraduate peers and the university community as a whole, along with leaving the lab! From beginning my postgraduate research and tutoring with the uni I have found many administrative guidelines and services available to postgraduate students poorly communicated (at least within the Faculty of Science) that would significantly ease the transition into a postgraduate role. When looking for a place to voice these issues and concerns along with a conversation with current councillor Joe, I came across SUPRA and decided to nominate for council.

Being a student leader in high school and on the students club in college during my undergraduate studies, I possess experience representing my colleagues and would like to continue this by seeking a position on SUPRA council. I am excited to represent my Physics & Neuroscience cohort along with all scientists and students on the council.

Michael Butler

I have been SUPRA’s indigenous officer since 2014 and have gone on to become the most disliked person within the council.

This means I’m doing my job. SUPRA is a nest of deal-making, ideal-compromising student politicians more concerned with party agendas than actually representing postgraduates.

It’s kind of disgusting but that’s student politics. This is why a decent and independent Indigenous voice on council that sticks up for those who deserve it (roughly speaking, students who get a raw deal) and sticks it up the rest is something that’s not only a good thing for SUPRA, quite frankly, it’s needed.

Alex Trussell

No statement received

Kiriti Mortha

To contribute to society has always been important to me, a quality that was instilled in me at a young age. Seeing as the postgraduate student community at the University of Sydney is my immediate society, I wish to represent its needs, ideas and work towards improving the quality of student life.

The prospect of being on the council for SUPRA – a body that is a pioneer in representing postgraduate interests in Australia, is encouraging. SUPRA office bearers and councillors have always commanded the respect that postgraduate representatives deserve. I believe that my experience with student bodies in the past and my varied allied interests will equip me to work towards being a councillor who is worthy of SUPRA’s reputation.

My time as a student council member for one year at Christ University, Bangalore has given me an understanding about the dynamics of a student run body. In the same year, I was one of the two students on the Anti-Ragging Committee (ARC), a committee that includes the Pro-Vice Chancellor, Registrar, Deans and parent representatives. The ARC gave me the opportunity to learn about how to interact with top-level management of an institution and refine my interpersonal skills.

Kane Hardy (Postgrad Action)

I’m running for SUPRA with Postgrad Action because I want to see an organisation that continues to represent students through activism. In the previous term, I and other Postgrad Action councillors have been involved with and have run many campaigns including fighting the government’s attacks on higher education, fighting attacks on safe schools, promoting a queer-friendly campus and fighting for international student concessions in NSW.

I thoroughly enjoyed my last term as secretary and I want to continue to represent postgraduate students into the next term. Vote for a progressive SUPRA in 2016!

Lily Matchett (Postgrad Action)

I’m nominating for council because I want to use it as a space to challenge the university in delivering fairer opportunities, policies and education.

I stand for an ethical education that encompasses: free education, diversity, support of marginalised groups, acknowledgement and protection of First Nations land and an ecologically sustainable campus (including clean investments).

My past comprises anti-exploitation activism of a non-violent direct action & campaign kind. This has involved taking down fossil fuel industries & advocating for just transitions; working in solidarity with First Nations struggles; providing radical progressive political education for peers & fighting for gender equality in all arenas.

Reza Kahlaee

No statement provided.

Rachel Evans (Postgrad Action)

Hi! I am Rachel Evans and studying Aboriginal resistance. I was Queer Office-Bearer in 2015 and helped the Rainbow Campus campaign and the fight for equal concession cards for international students. I’ve also been active against VC Spence’s course cuts. I’ve stood up for the anti-bullying ‘Safe Schools’ program. As a council member I will stand up against the profits-first agenda on campus and against state and federal attacks towards students, the rainbow community, refugees, Muslims and the poor. I stand for free education, and an anti-capitalist, democratic socialist future. I am a member of the Resistance club on campus.

Oliver Moore (Lush)

I would like to be elected to council as I feel there is a greater need for representation by queer students and in particular non-cis male students. I, as a queer-identified transmasculine person, bring to this role lengthy experience of working with queer student organisations, and in 2016 I am the co-convenor of the Australian Queer Student Network, which is the only national organisation of queer students. If elected I would work closely with named OB positions to advance the rights of queer students both at a campus level as well as for regional and rural distance students.