WORDS | Annabelle Lum
Student elections are fast approaching, and the animals are hungry for your vote. We are all familiar with the usual and generally harmless CV-obsessed invertebrate, the mature-age amphibians with a bee in their bonnet, and the goose that promises golden eggs. We all assume that amongst them there are some students with real ability, but how do you spot one? To find them, you need to know your enemy. To help you wade your way through the forest of bullshit and find the candidates worth knowing (and they do exist!), I give you this handy guide.
You will find this self-important creature stalking the dark corners of the Ubar, flanked by two or three like-minded beasts –one of whom will be wearing a suit.
How to spot a Hack:
The hack is nobody’s friend but everyone’s ally. In the course of two beers, the hack will go from speaking in hushed tones about insider-plots and having ‘the numbers’, to bragging loudly that their electoral material was printed on parliamentary photocopiers, courtesy of a borrowed staff member’s pass.
“Let’s cut a deal.” “Deal’s off!” “We can’t trust them, they’re from [insert faction name here].” Listen for political name-dropping (“as I told Tony the other day”, “Albo warned me off”) and a slew of acronyms (think NUS, NLS, ALSF).
How to avoid:
Stay a minimum of 50m from any person in a brightly coloured t-shirt (complete with not-so-catchy slogan) who is surrounded by confused, similarly dressed first years.
If approached. Stand tall, shout, “I’ve already voted,” and briskly walk away.
THE “YOU DON’T EVEN GO HERE” PSEUDO- POLITICO
This breed was thought to be restricted to the staunch socialists; but it has recently been discovered (by electoral officials) that these devoted nuts will cling to any pack they can get their claws into.
They can be found perpetually loitering around the Campus Hub and Library.
How to spot a Pseudo-Politico:
This new breed is adept in the art of camouflage, blending in as a Macquarie student. Why they do this is anyone’s guess, and what they lack in political zeal they make up for in an unhinged desire to be on the top of the food chain. It is recommended to approach them only with extreme caution.
The ‘original’ socialist Pseudo-Politicos can be easily spotted; look for ponytails, clipboards, and ideological angst. The right-wing genus (not to be confused with ‘genius’) is typically a failed alpha-male who aspires to make their nest in campus accommodation.
Socialist Species: “Smash Imperialism, NOW!” “Sign our petition to end racism!” Right-Wing Genus: “I love Macquarie!” “Tell me what I need to do for your vote? I’ll do it.” “Mate, I’ll buy you a beer if you vote for me… can I borrow some cash?”
How to avoid:
Raise your arms in the air to increase stature. Standing your ground, stare boldly into the creature’s eyes. Remain silent. This will unnerve the creature and they will back away.
If this fails, yell unintelligibly, beat your chest and flap your arms. The animal will consider you one of it’s own kind, and move on to prey on someone of another species.
This particular electoral beast will find you, and will always be looking for a favour. If you are lucky, you will escape with a mere promise to vote for them or their ‘ticket’; but beware, linger too long and you may find yourself bundled with rolls of sticky tape and posters of beaming law students.
How to spot a Libertarian:
Look for flyers and A4 images of someone’s face poking out of a shabby satchel or backpack. The Libertarian is poorly attired, and reeks of desperation. This experienced prowler can smell indecision, and preys on innocence.
The Libertarian is intensely ambitious and hopes to be supreme ruler of the jungle, although their reptilian form prevents ascendancy up the food chain.
“Well, yes, I couldn’t agree more. You are highly intelligent, like me.”
“I see you are interested in [insert any topic]. In fact, I have read extensively on that very issue.”
“I will give you class-notes if you assist me in my campaign.”
Listen for an air of pomposity masking utter desperation.
How to avoid:
Engaging in debate should be avoided at all cost. Agreement is crucial, and will allow for a swift escape. Nodding your head, lower your gaze, and back slowly away. For added safety, mutter “yes, absolutely,” as you do so.
Finally, a Word of Caution:
It is often said that you get the candidates you deserve. To prevent extinction of the advocates who offer honesty and hard work (who fall prey to the noxious-gas emitted from those animals above), become involved, get informed, and vote for those worth voting for.