Petition calling for a Student General Meeting

Friends of Wholefoods is now gathering signatures for an official petition to call a mass student meeting, in addition to the online petition at

A Student General Meeting (SGM) is the highest decision making body of the Monash Student Association (apart from a referendum). It has the constitutional power overrule the Monash Student Council (MSC) and the MSA’s Executive; the current predominant decision making bodies.  This means that any decision made in this forum is legally and constitutionally binding on the MSA’s Executive.

Unlike the MSC, each student has a vote at an SGM, which ensures direct participation and direct democracy in the MSA. Unfortunately, the last SGM was held 7 years ago in 2005. Traditionally SGMs have played a larger role in the MSA, and they were a vital decision making mechanism which made the MSA accountable.

Sign the SGM petition and come to the SGM and regain student control over Wholefoods. The SGM petition can be found every lunch-time at Wholefoods.

This motion rejuvenates Wholefoods through reversing changes by the Monash Student Council Executive that have restricted volunteering and collective management.

Further, the motion puts a layer of protection around future decisions by calling for structural changes that give Wholefoods more autonomy.

The motion achieves this vision by asking for a referendum to make Wholefoods a division of the MSA, which have their own autonomous governance and constitution.

Specifically, this motion will direct the MSC to:

1. reinstate the progressive aims of the Wholefoods Restaurant (as defined in clause 19 in the MSA constitution);

2. reinstate the volunteer system and encourage broad participation in the daily running of the restaurant,

a. at all levels of all operation, in all areas of the restaurant,

b. including enabling the provision of a free meal as acknowledgement for each hour volunteered in all major aspects of the restaurant (i.e. cooking, serving etc), subject to a disclaimer that it does not create an employment relationship;

3. reinstate the Wholefoods Collective as the decision making body of the restaurant. As a matter of mutual respect and cooperation, and in an attempt to present a viable alternative to a hierarchical organisation as per (subclauses 19(2) and 19(3) of the MSA Constitution);

4. return Wholefoods to being a not-for-profit operation (as defined in clause 19 of the MSA constitution);

5. call a referendum for the 2012 MSA election period to make Wholefoods a division of the MSA.


Image:  A Student General Meeting, 1969.

Published in: on July 31, 2012 at 10:22 pm  Leave a Comment  

A response to insinuations

We are sorry, friends, to state an obvious redundancy but we feel we must respond to recent insinuations.

Friends of Wholefoods does not condone any form of bullying or harassment. We do not and will not participate in any form of harassment.

Friends of Wholefoods believes that our contention is so strong that all we need to do is speak softly and say what needs to be said.  We don’t need to push people or scare anyone into believing anything. Wholefoods has so many supporters who can see that Wholefoods has become an odious shadow of its former self that we don’t really need to do anything except turn up.

However, we cannot control what everyone does with the information once we have put it out there.

Regarding the recent political scribblings, Wholefoods has always been a space for street art and political messages. We are surprised that – amongst it all – specific messages could be found. We didn’t do the graffiti this time, but we don’t condemn it.

Let us be clear: our problem is with the Monash Student Council Executive and their utter contempt for Wholefoods. We see staff as friends and colleagues who we expect to work beside before long. We see it as pointless to engage with the Wholefoods Manager: he is not the problem, it is the system imposed on Wholefoods by the MSC Executive.

Published in: on July 22, 2012 at 7:00 pm  Leave a Comment  

To the President from Collective.

This is an open letter written by the Wholefoods Collective sent today in response to an email written regarding the redesign and refurbishment of the Wholefoods space.

An open letter to Esther Hood, Monash Student Council President, 2012
From the Wholefoods Collective, the student organising body of Wholefoods since 1977

Dear Esther Hood, President of the Monash Student Council Executive (and Freya Logan, acting President of the Monash Student Council Executive)

Re: Wholefoods Redesign Update
We, the Wholefoods Collective, write in response to your email, received on the 29th of June this year. You describe in your email that you wished to give ‘a quick update on the Wholefoods redesign’ and that  ‘hopefully in the next three weeks the MSC Executive will be able to present the Collective with two different choices in overall design’. From this design, we will have ‘options’: For example you might like one type of flooring over the other.’

The Wholefoods Collective regards this as a mere tokenistic gesture on your part. It is an attempt to placate us, to give us the false impression that we– in your words – have a choice. The fact that Collective has merely an ‘either/or’ choice between the types of wood, or the colour of tiles is a clear bastardisation of the Collectives role. These choices disguise the fact that the Collective has never asked for aesthetic changes to the space.

We find this presumptuous, condescending and misleading in the extreme. Up until the 29th of June 2012, plans for a radical reshaping of the Wholefoods space have been going on behind our backs, and now, in the final stages, you wish to give us ‘options’.
As it stands, the Collective has no opinion on any redesign and refurbishment. As we have been systematically excluded from all decisions and negotiations, the Collective has not been in a place to discuss whether this is something that we need, or whether this is an unnecessary and excessive expenditure.

Your email is only one of the more recent examples of the MSC Executive continuously undermining the power of the Collective in order to impose their own vision of corporate and anti-student management.

You write that ‘We have also made sure that all materials used are at least 60% recyclable to ensure we are committing to the ethos of the restaurant.’  We regard this as a farcical attempt to appeal to our environmental ethic, whilst simultaneously indicating a gross misunderstanding of the ethos of Wholefoods.

Further, your recent designation of the Collective as a ‘Directory Advisory Committee’ continues this absurdity and is absolutely antithetical to what we consider to be the ethos of Wholefoods. This form of consultancy is a farce – a parody of the kind of autonomy that Collective has been running Wholefoods under for 35 years.

We draw your attention to Section 19 of the Monash Student Association (Clayton) Inc. Constitution as what is emblematic of the ethos of Wholefoods, particularly parts 2 and 3:

(2) to encourage voluntary student participation at all levels of operation of Wholefoods, in an atmosphere of mutual respect and co-operation;

(3) to demonstrate that a collective operating with a consensus decision making process is a viable alternative to a hierarchical organisation;

Esther, we decline your offer to participate in a decision making process that has already ended. We ask that all renovation negotiations, until this point, be abandoned and begun again from scratch. We suggest, as a starting point, that you approach the Wholefoods Collective in an atmosphere of mutual respect and co-operation with the following question: Does Wholefoods need to be redesigned?


The Wholefoods Collective

Published in: on July 10, 2012 at 2:25 pm  Leave a Comment  

Monash student politicians turn feral over dirty tactics

Crikey, 25th August 2010

Monash student politicians turn feral over dirty tactics

The Monash Student Association (MSA) is in meltdown after members of its ruling clique sidelined rivals from running in forthcoming elections while paying a factional associate and adviser to ALP Senator Gavin Marshall $32,000 to oversee the poll.

While Crikey is usually loath to dip its finger back into the cesspit of student politics, damning details have emerged this week that MSA President Lauren O’Dwyer, a fellow-traveller in Senator Marshall’s Socialist Left faction, secretly registered all rival tickets, including the name “Liberal”, to eliminate competition in the September 20-23 vote.

The elections are now in crisis with bitter O’Dwyer rival and campus Liberal Party President Ben Kunstler lodging a series of complaints with the University’s feared Electoral Tribunal.

Following a ruling yesterday, a make-up registration day will be held on Friday. A separate appeal to push back the poll has been dismissed.

The Clayton bearpit serves as a key funnel for professionalised political talent, with many former office bearers later ruling over everyday Australians in State and Federal parliaments. Former Treasurer Peter Costello famously cut his teeth at Monash in an alliance with right wing of the Labor Party which persists to the present day.

Six weeks ago, O’Dwyer hired Marshall staffer Gavin Ryan as Returning Officer for the elections, replacing Greens in-house psephologist Stephen Luntz. Ryan formerly held O’Dwyer’s position as MSA president in 1998 and hails from the same Left factional grouping, which campaigns at Monash under the generic name “Go!”. Variations on the faction have controlled the union for nine of the last 13 years.

Kunstler told Crikey that an email normally sent to advise of the looming re-registration period, that enables the previous year’s tickets to keep their names, failed to appear this year. He claims that with their opponents in the dark, O’Dwyer and offsider Sheldon Oski helped themselves to names including ‘Liberal’, ‘Clayton Jewish Students’, ‘Connect’, ‘Unity’, ‘Free Parking’ and ‘Pirates Rrrrr Us’ in an attempt to dupe voters via a preference scam.

At the end of the registration period, only the Labor Left and Trotskyite cult Socialist Alternative held tickets, with independent, Labor Right and grassroots left groupings denied representation.

Kunstler said: “Go! is always very nervous when it comes to ensuring their control for another year. They have shown themselves willing to use plenty of dirty tactics in the past and have been taken to court in previous years for their behaviour.”

Under official election rules, the Returning Officer must advise of the elections and re-registration period seven weeks before the poll on the MSA website, on noticeboards and campus kiosks. However, as of this morning, the website remained un-updated.

The well-regarded Ryan dismissed the allegations, saying he had extensively advertised the elections on noticeboards in the union, in student newspaper Lot’s Wife and in other prominent locations throughout the Clayton campus.

“It’s unfortunate that he’s [Kunstler] missed out. It seems normally cognisant people have not taken as much attention as they should. It’s all quite bizarre.”

He rejected allegations of a Labor Left conspiracy theory, saying that he was familiar with student politicians from across the political spectrum. And to underline his impartiality, Ryan said that O’Dwyer’s group had appealed to the Tribunal against his decision to re-open registrations.

It is understood Ryan did a good job administering last year’s election at the Labor Left-controlled La Trobe SRC, which he will again oversee this year. According to the minutes of the Monash Student Council meeting held on July 16, O’Dwyer was “strongly in favour” of accepting Ryan’s quote after grafting positive intelligence from her associates at La Trobe. She said Ryan’s “institutional knowledge” was crucial to the decision to write out the $32,450 cheque.

However, others have suggested that Ryan’s hiring was payback for a controversial 2008 Stephen Luntz ruling that led to a life ban for former Labor Left president Julian Campbell and his associate’s subsequent shaming in Federal Parliament. That year, Campbell and Alan Griffin electorate officer Mat Hilakari published a hate poster claiming a rival candidate had faked a disability in order to take sick leave from the union. In fact, the rival was seriously ill.

Luntz’s ruling spilled into the Senate after the victim took her claim to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal. Liberal Senator Helen Kroger then assailed Hilakari under parliamentary privilege, claiming he had paid for the $60,000 settlement with student money.

Crikey attempted to contact Lauren O’Dwyer this morning for comment but she did not respond before deadline.

Published in: on July 1, 2012 at 12:56 am  Leave a Comment  

Collective bee

Wholefoods Collective poster from the 2007 Publicity Coordinator, a role that has since been abolished because the MSA already has someone who works on publicity. Or something.

Published in: on July 1, 2012 at 12:31 am  Leave a Comment  

Romans go home!

From the Tent City protests of 1998. Students camped outside the admin building over the deregulation of Higher Education.

The security camera mounted high near the ponds? A monument erected by the university dedicated to the time and energy put into future students by an active left wing student body.

Published in: on June 25, 2012 at 3:03 am  Leave a Comment