On Monday, ANUSA held its first Ordinary General Meeting of the Semester. Ordinary General Meetings, or OGMs, are open to all undergraduate members of ANUSA. Any undergraduate student is free to put forward a motion – similar to a policy – and to debate on the motions of others. This OGM saw the election of new probity officers, changes to the electoral regulations, a referendum from the Environment Collective, and various motions from the Socialist Alternative.
As General Elections approach, OGM 3 saw the election of four new probity officers (Felix Friedlander, Rebecca Donald-Wilson, Chamika Fonseka and Adeer Siddiqi). Probity Officers are in charge of ensuring that candidates and tickets abide by ANUSA’s electoral regulations and that elections are free and fair.
Following its dissolution into voluntary administration in June, Motion 4.1 called on ANU to take over the Health Co-Op. The motion also condemned ANU’s decision to outsource the Health Co-Op and commits ANUSA to endorse the ‘Save the ANU Health Service’ petition.
ANUSA Queer* Officer Vincent Lee put forward an amendment to this motion mandating that ANUSA campaigns consult with ANUSA’s autonomous departments. Lee highlighted the fact that PrEP, a HIV prevention drug, was unavailable at the National Health Co-Op, demonstrating the need for consultation with marginalised students about their healthcare needs.
While an amendment to the above section was opposed by members of the Socialist Alternative, it also passed. They argued that this should be an issue of solidarity rather than debate and, as representatives of workers, they encompassed other minorities.
Motions were also passed to clarify some electoral regulations, such as the distinction between using exclusion zones (where campaigning is not allowed) to produce online content, and producing online content in exclusion zones. While a small technical change, ANUSA General Secretary Meghan Malone illustrated its purpose. Under the regulations, a candidate could film a Tik Tok in Kambri, outlining their ticket’s policies, but they could not film a Tik Tok in which they ask undergraduates to vote for their ticket. Other changes included removing the Union Court, which no longer exists, from the regulations and making it mandatory for the General Secretary of ANUSA to release Expression of Interest forms prior to general elections.
ANUSA also made changes to the nature of campaign financing. This was largely an administrative change, meaning that the ticket expenditure cap is generalised to any possible number of positions. This was brought about due to the increase in the number of possible positions on a ticket which it previously didn’t account for.
The Environment Collective’s Motion 4.6, which called for an ANUSA referendum on the ANU’s divestment from fossil fuels, passed along with a commitment by ANUSA to campaign for the ‘yes’ vote. All undergraduate students will have the option to vote on the question “Do you think ANU [sic] should withdraw all current investments from fossil fuels and commit to make no further investments in the fossil fuel industry?”. The passage of motion 4.6 also mandated that, following a result of ‘yes’ the referendum be tabled at the ANU council.
Following the passage of Motion 4.10, ANUSA endorsed the campaign to oppose the Menzies Institute at the University of Melbourne. This motion also directs ANUSA to promote the open letter opposing the Menzies Institute and petition the ANU to change the name of the Menzies Library.
Controversy arose when Indigenous Officer Katchmirr Russell asked members of the Socialist Alternative if they had consulted with the BIPOC department in the construction of the motion. In response to this, Grace Hill accused the Indigenous Officer of “navel gazing” and identity politics, comments which BIPOC Officer Chido Nyukuengama called insensitive and bordering on racist.
Members of ANUSA also condemned the use of ANU facilities to quarantine returning students, staff and government officials with the passage of Motion 4.11. It called for both the ACT and Federal governments to invest in purpose-built quarantine facilities for incoming international and interstate travellers.