SUPRA Council elections
Council is the representative body of students within SUPRA, and the governing body of the association. If you are interested in joining SUPRA Council, or making a nomination for someone else, or if you would like to learn more about how our elections are run, this page will help you out.
There are three ways to join Council:
- through the General Election
- through an Equity Officer election
- by filling a casual vacancy.
The General Election and Equity Officer elections are often held simultaneously, while casual vacancies are filled throughout the year as they occur.
The General Election
The General Election is the main election to instate 27 General Councillors. Any postgraduate student of the University of Sydney is eligible for nomination, provided they are also a SUPRA member, and haven’t yet completed their degree requirements.
SUPRA’s General Election period occurs annually from March to May. Those who are elected to council begin their term on 1 July and continue until 30 June the following year, or until they resign from Council.
Nominating to General Council
To nominate, a SUPRA member must fill out an online nomination form, and have two other nominators who are also SUPRA members. Membership is free, and all postgrad students at Usyd can become SUPRA members, from the moment of enrolment until graduation.
Nominations are sent to our independent Returning Officer, who is contracted to preside over the elections to ensure that they are fair and open. This person is not an employee or representative of SUPRA. During the election period you can contact the Returning Officer: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Equity Officer elections
There are seven equity officer networks, representing women students, international students, queer students, students with disabilities, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students, satellite campus students and Higher Degree by Research students. Each of these networks may elect independently a member who is part of those equity groups to hold a position on the Council.
No single person may hold more than one Equity Office, or an Equity Office and a position as a General Councillor. Nominees may submit a nomination for both General Councillor and an Equity Office, but upon success of attaining an Equity Office that nominee will be removed from the list of nominees to General Council.
These elections are run independently of the main election by their networks, but SUPRA can facilitate these elections when necessary. For more information, contact your Equity Network or the SUPRA Secretary.
Casual vacancies become available when councillors resign, and are run differently to the General Election. When one or more positions become available, SUPRA will announce it via our Grad Post newsletter, on our website, and on social media. Any SUPRA member can nominate to fill a casual vacancy.
Candidates will be given an opportunity to speak for approximately two minutes to SUPRA Council about their nomination. Councillors will then ask general questions of all candidates.
Candidates will then be asked to leave the room, and a secret ballot will be conducted. As ‘No Candidate’ is an option, meaning that Councillors can vote to have all or some of the vacancies remain unfilled, there is no guarantee of filling a position by default.
Both successful and unsuccessful nominees will be invited to attend the remainder of the Council meeting.
Nomination forms for Casual Vacancies can be downloaded here.
Council has a number of Office Bearer roles, who have duties regarding the governance, management and organisation of the association. All of the Office Bearer positions receive a stipend, but also rely on some volunteer time of the person holding the role.
No person may simultaneously hold more than one of the positions of President, Vice-President, Secretary or Treasurer. However, these offices can be held simultaneously with an Equity Office or any other Office created by Council.
The Offices of President, Vice-President, Secretary, Treasurer, Education Officer and Director of Student Publications are elected separate from the General Election. The newly elected council (Council-Elect) meet in June to vote on these executive positions.
Get all the benefits – become a SUPRA member
• Get involved with your postgrad community.
• Get involved in the decision-making that affects your studies.
• Get free, confidential, independent professional advice.