Grapeshot has received screenshots from an anonymous source claiming that Lachlan McGrath, the current treasurer of the SRC, stacked MQU Labor’s Annual General Meeting on Monday during which the new members of the executive team were elected.
The screenshots appear to show McGrath communicating in a Facebook inbox with members from the Macquarie University Debating Society (MUDS). McGrath is currently on the executive team of MUDS as a Marketing Officer and Equity Officer.
‘Hey guys so tomorrow ill be running for an exec position for Labor and was wondering who wanted to take 10 mins to help me’ McGrath wrote. ‘MUDS is going stacking!’
McGrath went on to say, ‘It takes 10 mins and people can come over for the 1 vote then leave if you want’.
A number of members expressed interest in attending with the sole purpose of voting for McGrath. He posted a link in the inbox for people to register to vote, saying, ‘If youre keen just fill out the form (you can resign after) and come over and vote for me’.
One member said they registered to vote less than an hour before the meeting commenced, and wrote in the inbox, ‘Hoping that counts still?!’
McGrath replied: ‘Yeah still counts. Surprisingly the Labor society doesn’t have any counter-stacking measures’.
The last screenshotted message supplied to Grapeshot shows McGrath confirming that the stacking had resulted in his successful election as Assistant Secretary.
‘I won by the number of MUDS members we brought. Thank you MUDS’, McGrath wrote, before posting a cocktail emoji.
When contacted about his decision to recruit members from MUDS to vote for him, McGrath responded:
‘In terms of the AGM at no point were any rules of the Meeting or Constitutional articles broken and the whole process was overseen by and approved by a non-Macquarie Returning Officer in accordance with University requirements. As the Labor AGMs are held in March I understand if not everyone knows each other and may feel cheated if they lost a position but all rules were followed and it was a legitimate election.’
The successful stacking of the election by McGrath has brought into question why there are no measures against stacking in MQU Labor’s constitution.
Aiden Galea, who has just been elected President of MQU Labor, says that the registration process is intended as a measure to prevent stacking, and that candidates have the right to challenge the eligible voters list. When asked if the fact that people were able to sign up less than an hour before the voting started posed an issue for the democratic process, Galea responded:
‘While I do understand the concerns raised, there is also a tough balance to strike between ensuring that the integrity of the election processes are maintained and also that keen new members joining the club have the opportunity to take part in the club’s decision-making processes.’
MQU Labor’s counterparts, the Macquarie University Liberal Club, had a number of issues with stacking at the beginning of their formation, however their current constitution rectifies this by stating that a financial member is not entitled to vote unless they have been a member for at least 30 days. This prevents individuals from signing up hours before a vote.
Galea says that the new executive team of MQU Labor will consider introducing measures to prevent a similar situation playing out in future elections.
‘While all of last nights AGM was run in a manner commensurate with the club constitution, the club will seek out procedural recommendations from members that will continue the robust democratic process whilst still ensuring that all members who wish to be involved in the Labor Club get a chance to have their say.’