Slogan: Progress with Poirier
Questionnaire score: 44%
Faction: Independent (remains a member of Ignite)
Alexandre Poirier is one of the three candidates who failed Honi’s Election quiz. It follows a trend of Conservatory of Music students running for student leadership positions on a platform promoting the Con’s seemingly underrepresented interests. As one of USU’s Welcome Fest coordinators and Chairman of the University of Sydney Chinese Orchestra (SUCO), Poirier enjoys a substantial level of engagement with USU, attributing himself credit it in his interview for ensuring that the Con gets its own Welcome Week events in 2022.
Poirier tried to distinguish himself from Student Unity (the right-wing labor faction of which he was a member) by stating that he represented the interests of the Conservatorium in this election. However, he also made a point of claiming that he did not represent Ignite (a student faction at the Conservatorium, of which he is also a member). When Right here asked if Unity would support his campaign, he said “I doubt it”. He also struggled to articulate his political views, largely presenting himself as “fairly leftist”, citing the importance of decolonization, commitment to “diverse peoples and minorities” and broad opposition to capitalism.
He was unable to justify a connection between his self-proclaimed progressive politics and his former Student Unity membership, saying he would likely align more with NLS (Labour Left) or Grassroots (left-independents).
On the question of free speech and USU club membership for right-wing groups such as LifeChoice, Poirier struggled to come up with an answer, ultimately concluding that “it’s better if they [LifeChoice] having a club in the USU system because it means they are bound by the rules”.
“Here are the guidelines, if you break the guidelines you will not be [registered]in conclusion, they [pro-life clubs] should not be recorded. So if they’re going to make people uncomfortable, obviously they can’t do it,” Poirier said, further blurring his position. Although he last year named CathSoc’s ableist A-frame as an example of unacceptable behavior, he did not specify where he drew the line more broadly for politicized clubs, commenting that episodes such as the Occupy of the F23 by student activists in 2020 do not fall under USU. jurisdiction. This contrasts with the sentiments of previous leftist candidates, who have suggested that USU’s jurisdiction should be expanded to cover such militant causes.
In interpreting these policies within USU, Poirier seems to lean toward a view of USU as a service provider, rather than as a militant institution that holds the university leadership accountable.
Despite his background in the USU bureaucracy as the Welcome Fest coordinator, his knowledge of the companies USU engages with is minimal. Asked what types of companies he wouldn’t work with, Poirier couldn’t name any, other than those “that have something to do with advancing the climate emergency.” He pinned this lack of awareness on the fact that he hasn’t interacted with any company outside of “the vein of [the] Performing Arts” as part of his role as Welcome Fest coordinator.
Overall, Poirier’s candidacy is almost exclusively confined to Con interests, while a laudable goal, questions remain about whether he can meaningfully represent those on main campus and beyond. Being a multi-million dollar organization presiding over the welfare and lives of over 65,000 students, Poirier’s lack of policies outside of the Conservatorium suggests he will be less equipped to advocate for other students outside of its circles.
Listen to Alexandre Poirier’s interview and read the transcript here.