Wednesday night of Week 11 saw ANUSA hold their fourth SRC meeting for 2022, which lasted over five hours and saw intense debate.
Firstly, ANUSA Officers gave reports and outlined prospects for the next semester. The SRC also approved Honoraria for students’ work over the past year.
The first debate of the meeting was for Motion 7.3, a discussion on the draft of a Student Partnership Agreement (SPA), which was proposed by the ANUSA President. This agreement is to have ANUSA, PARSA and the ANU Academic Board build a relationship with the administration of the ANU to discuss and resolve issues between each sector of the ANU.
Currently, the ANUSA and PARSA Presidents regularly meet with the Academic Board to consider issues that students face. This draft is to create a written document to solidify and formalise such relationships between these sectors, while also helping set up the ANU to understand the perspectives of both ANUSA and PARSA. ANUSA first used an SPA in 2017; the agreements last for a one year duration and must be re-approved each time.
Some students argued that such a partnership would make the ANUSA President enter this relationship “in a bad position,” and most likely “won’t get more SSAF if we sit down with them at the same table,” referring to the Executive and Brian Schmidt. Such an agreement would, these students believe, create a power imbalance where “only one person [the ANUSA president] represents the entire union at the same table as Schmidt.”
The debate lasted for over an hour and half. Because the motion was a discussion item, it was not voted on at the meeting, instead it is expected that the President consider the arguments raised.
Motion 6.2 proposed for ANUSA to publicly commit in solidarity with the University of Melbourne Student Union (UMSU) with their recent ‘Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions’ (BDS) endorsement against the occupation of Palestine. A Melbourne University student and Liberal Party member is now suing UMSU for the BDS initiative.
ANUSA proposed to make a Facebook post that outlines how ANUSA stands by the side of UMSU. Last year, ANUSA expressed support of Palestine online. .
As the debate opened up, the ANU Jewish Society (ANUJS) executive members argued that they were not consulted nor notified about such a motion that greatly affects their society and the people it represents. After the meeting, ANUJS, confirmed that they “only found out an hour before the meeting due to luck.”
The debate continued with a Jewish student recounting their personal experiences of antisemitism because of the previous ANUSA motion. This student was then accused of abusing and labeling the ‘incident’ as anti-semitic as a way to “further their agenda,” by a student who spoke for the motion.
Students argued with the ANUJS representatives that to not pass this motion would not stop nor fight antisemitism on campus. The representatives fought back and asserted that this would take away the voices of Jewish students or people that do not support such solidarity, and hence marginalise these students.
An amendment proposed by Kai Dreyfus-Ballesi obliged ANUSA to work with Jewish students at the ANU to create a post condemning anti-semitism. It was passed unanimously. After this amendment, the motion in its entirety passed unanimously.
Nonetheless, the Australia Union of Jewish Students condemned the motion in an Instagram post.
Motion 6.3 proposed by Nick Reich, called for ANUSA to publish a statement how ANUSA “condemns [the] Labor [Party]” nor “supports a vote for either the Labor or Liberal parties” in the lead up to the Federal Election. This SRC was only a few days before the federal election.
The motion was tabled because of the concern that it contravened ANUSA’s obligations as a SSAF recipient to not endorse a candidate for office.
Motion 7.4 called on ANUSA to make a more general post regarding the federal election. This motion urged the government to abolish HECS debt, make tertiary education free, and overhaul social support systems to improve accessibility. Many students felt their concerns were better represented by Motion 7.4 than by Motion 6.3.
Overall, motion 6.2 passed, while motion 6.3 was tabled.The next SRC meeting will be in Semester 2 and we can expect to see, either in debate or proposal, another draft of the SPA.
Woroni made a number of errors in the original version of this article. The most significant include: misrepresenting motion 7.3 as a motion to be voted on, not discussed; claiming that motion 6.2 failed when it passed; claiming that motion 6.3 failed when it was tabled; and labelling Ben Yates as the proposer of the amendment to motion 6.2 when it was Kai Dreyfus-Ballesi. This list is not comprehensive, please contact the News Editor for more information, at firstname.lastname@example.org
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