On Wednesday the 20th and 27th, ANUSA held its 4th and final Ordinary General Meeting of the year. At OGMs, any undergraduate student can put forward motions, and debate and vote on these motions. Topics that came up at this OGM were constitutional changes, returning to campus, and stipends for the Clubs Council Executive.
The first bloc of motions passed (4.1 – 4.4) implemented the recommendations made by ANUSA’s governance reform committee. These included changing rules around debate, such as introducing easier and more fluid rules around asking questions. The Chair may also now call upon more speakers even in the absence of opposition. For example, if there are no more speakers against a motion, but more for it, then the Chair can use their discretion to call on such speakers.
Motion 4.5 moved funds away from the Budget and Societies Budget line to the Honorarium Committee in accordance with funding changes made during a Special General Meeting during lockdown. The 2022 Provisional Budget (Motion 4.6) was passed. This is required for ANUSA to access SSAF over the summer break and in the lead-up to O-Week.
ANUSA’s freedom of information (FOI) rules were updated. This brings it in line with legislation around charities. Essentially, the only people who can access sensitive information are students whom the information is about, or people who have written permission from the person. There was contention around a clause stating that if the University does not want the information released, ANUSA cannot release it. In response, the General-Secretary argued that the change has to be approved by the University, and that the provision exists in the current constitution.
The definition of who can run and vote in the Women’s Department elections has been updated, now including students “…who self-identify as a woman or woman-aligned, have experience gendered oppression as a result of being perceived as a woman, or identify as transgender or gender diverse and find the services of the Women’s Department useful..” This reflects changes already made to the Women’s Department’s own constitution and procedure.
The final motion of the OGM established stipends for members of the Clubs Council Executive. Until now, these have been unpaid roles with very large and burdensome work hours, to the extent that several whole CCEs have resigned over the years. In speaking for the motion, the Clubs Officer, Phoenix O’Neill argued that stipends will show the gratitude of students to the CCE. In 2022, $10,000 will be spread amongst the three CCE members. Another motion made these stipends retroactive for members of this year’s CCE. These stipends should make running the Clubs Council smoother for both the CCE and the Clubs themselves.
The Socialist Alternative’s ‘Health Before Profits’ motion (4.8) failed to pass. It’s intent was to ensure a safe return to on-campus living, working and studying. Its measures included demanding that the ANU provide adequate air filtration in all rooms on campus, provide N95 or KN94 face masks for everyone on campus, and mandate vaccination for students and staff. Beatrice Tucker, the Education Officer, was the first person to speak against the motion. They argued that the ANU would use the motion to cut in-person classes. “If we vote up this un-nuanced ‘safety’ approach by SALT, we are all complicit in helping the ANU ramp up their austerity hidden behind ‘safety’” they said in their speech. Many of those who spoke against, including Beatrice, proposed taking more time to create a different motion that would prevent the ANU from using Covid-19 as an excuse to cut courses and in-person classes.