Arnaud Gallois of the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) sends giggles through the crowd as he sheds his stuffy suit jacket, proclaiming that he has just divested..And it was easy. Replacing it with a green rain jacket, he says the next big question is about re-investing in the low carbon economy, reiterating that we need to “invest in what helps, divest from what harms” (Barack Obama, 2014).

Minutes later, a giant banner with orange writing is slowly unfurled to reveal the news…97% voted YES in the referendum on divestment!

It is Wednesday September 24th, 4 days after two week long referendum campaigns drew to a close at two Australian universities, the University of Melbourne and the University of New South Wales (UNSW). Around 80 people have gathered on the main lawn at the University of Melbourne to hear from local, vocal supporters of divestment and to learn the results of the referendum.

Earlier that morning, students at UNSW delivered their results to Vice-Principal Neil Morris. 78% of students and staff voters had voted in favour of divesting from fossil fuels.

These two referendums came hot on the heels of the Australian National University’s own referendum on divestment, in which an impressive 82% of voting students called for the University to drop its shares in fossil fuel companies.

But the referendum season is not over yet. As we speak, results are being counted at the University of Sydney, where all undergraduate students were given the opportunity to vote on divestment last week.

The University of Technology Sydney (UTS) will draw the series to a close, with a referendum on divestment to be included in their student elections this October 20th-22nd. If you are an undergraduate or postgraduate student of UTS, you can pledge to vote YES to divestment in the elections here.

We haven’t got any commitments from Australian universities to divest yet, but with the ban on new fossil fuel investments enacted at USyd in late August and a steady stream of students and staff voting YES to divestment, the heat is rising Down Under.