Debate among the candidates for ANUSA treasurer focused on alternative revenue streams for the student association, at a roundtable discussion last week which gave students a chance to engage with candidates for ANUSA’s next general secretary and treasurer.
On the panel were the general secretary candidates: Eden Lim (Lift), Bolwen Fu (Shake Up) and Howard Maclean (Independent); as well as treasurer candidates: Mariah Chang (Shake Up) and Lewis Pope (Lift).
The debate among treasurer candidates focused on Lift ANUSA’s policy for generating non-SSAF funding for ANUSA, with the examples given for potential revenue-raising including a coffee shop or shop-front.
Chang of Shake Up suggested there was no real grounds on which to fear SSAF being cut, and that Shake Up’s approach would focus on giving the government no reason to cut SSAF rather than investing in diversifying ANUSA’s revenue.
While Chang did suggest she would look into further sponsorship opportunities as treasurer, she does not believe that any other revenue stream could replace the $2 million received from SSAF.
Lift treasurer candidate Pope suggested a cut to SSAF was not totally out of the question, pointing to the fact that it is still a relatively new policy, and that the coalition government has floated the re- moval of SSAF.
He emphasised that these initiatives would not be able to replace SSAF in the short-term, instead they would create longer term back-ups if SSAF ever was to be cut in the future.
Both candidates said they felt that vital services, such as the counselling centre, should not be funded by SSAF, and that the ANU should take over funding of such services to ensure their security.
The theme of the roundtable for the general secretary candidates was quickly established as engaging students in the ANUSA process, with the focus on SRC meetings.
The general secretary candidates agreed that the current structure of the SRC meetings is not conducive to student engagement, with the run time often reaching 3-4 hours, and students being generally disillusioned by the process.
Eden Lim of Lift ANUSA suggested streamlining SRC reports and prioritising important issues to encourage engagement. She also emphasised the need to bring more definition to the general representative position and to make SRC reporting more streamlined and efficient.
Bolwen Fu of Shake Up ANUSA suggested utilising infographics to summarise meeting discussions, as well as listing a range of different ways to engage students with ANUSA, including Shake Up’s policy to develop a centralised app for information on ANUSA developments. Fu also focused on the need to include information in various languages to engage international students.
Howard Maclean pointed out the need for housecleaning of the ANUSA constitution, while also criticising Lift’s policy of bringing in an external body to review the SRC decisions, suggesting an internalised review would be more appropriate. Maclean also noted the need to bring more attention to the ANUSA sub-bodies such as the clubs council.
All of the candidates expressed their approval of the move adopted in the last SRC meeting to create a progressive speakers list, which gives preference to marginalised groups in the SRC speaking order.
The candidates used their closing statements to emphasises their points.
For the treasurer candidates, Chang promised to work on student connections with employers, while Pope committed to safeguard ANUSA’s future and engage students in the process.
As for the general secretary candidates, Fu stated he would use multiple platforms to engage students, Maclean pointed out that his impartial position as an independent candidate is important, while Lim emphasised the efficiency she would bring to the role.