(Updated) EXCLUSIVE – TBP speaks with former Guild Councillor Katy Wedderburn

Dylan Caporn – UWA Student Politics 

Yesterday evening it was revealed that Liberty candidate Tan Farquhar would replace the outgoing Councillor Katy Wedderburn. The result, which came as a surprise after most political pundits expected either Liberty candidate Selina Metternick-Jones or STAR candidate Priya Brown, was hinted at yesterday evening by Guild President Matt McKenzie during a press conference.

However, last night after the Guild Council meeting, Ms Wedderburn contacted The Body Politic  to inform us of her decision to appoint STAR candidate Priya Brown as her proxy for the evening.

“I made Priya [my proxy]. I was being petty. I was really mad because I’d given up something I really liked, loved even, being in the guild, months earlier than I needed to because I didn’t want to f**k everyone around. And then it was all for nothing, I could have kept it for one more month, maybe even two.”

Ms Wedderburn then continues.

And it really annoys me that Yannis [Councillor, Yannis Vrodos] and I appear to be the only two people who have done more than glance at the regulations.

Regulations state that any change to the voting membership of the guild council must be voted on by the guild council before it is enforced. So, my resignation had to be voted on. This could have been done by circular, a councillor has three days to reply to a motion by circular, after this time, if quorum is reached, the motion is closed. Or it could have been voted on at the council meeting we just had (didn’t have)

Of course, neither Matt [McKenzie] or Amy [Fels] seemed to know this regulation. And if they did then they were just screwing everyone around. My intention in resigning at the earliest possible moment was to ensure that my successor had time to get used to the working of the guild before the start of first semester, and that my position as the Chair of the Memberships Committee and a member of the Activities committee could be filled as soon as possible. Considering that the Memberships committee is most active right now.

The statement comes after The Body Politic was also contacted by another member of the Guild Council who speculated that the relationship between the Guild Executive and the former Councillor may have been strained.

“[I think]… one of the reasons why Guild Councillor Katy Wedderburn resigned is because of personal history with Ms Wedderburn and certain members of the Guild Executive, who often verbally abused her and would yell at her, sometimes reducing her to tears. Katy’s fear of their actions caused her to cry at the last Guild Council meeting for fear of their retribution for voting the way Katy wanted.“.

This speculation comes from within the Guild Council during a particularly tense time – with relationships between the two major parties, Liberty and STAR, reaching boiling point at last night’s Council meeting, which has been described by onlookers as ‘farcical’ and ‘shambolic’.

Since the publication of this article, The Body Politic has been contacted again by Ms Wedderburn in response to the speculation from the unnamed Councillor, and she states:

“I had a minor personality clash with a member of the Guild Executive… I always found it hard to forgive them for an imagined slight. I tried to get back at them, and they didn’t really forgive me for that. I supposed that is just a long and complicated way of saying we have history. But I always respected the Exec, and Matt Mckenzie as President and I liked the policies [of Liberty]. I certainly didn’t leave because of them.”

When probed further, Ms Wedderburn revealed that tensions between her and members of the Guild Executive could have made others feel uncomfortable, but that the incident at the last Guild Council meeting where she was reported to have left the room in tears was a ‘total overreaction’ on her part.

The Body Politic will continue to keep your informed in the lead up to next week’s rescheduled Guild Council meeting. Stay tuned for exclusive access to the behind the scenes workings of the Guild during 2012.