Sarah Strange (she/her) is running as the first independent in this year’s ANUSA election. Running for Welfare Officer, she has described herself as a “genuinely independent candidate” who aims to “stand up for underrepresented communities in student politics like working, disabled, and postgraduate students”. She is also running to “hold the ANUSA Executive to account.”
Strange believes her experience serving in various union positions over the last four years and her involvement in student activism makes her a well-qualified candidate.
Strange has listed “three endemic problems” with ANUSA that she aims to combat if elected. The first problem is a “myopic focus on some student communities while excluding others.” She aims to redistribute policy and advocacy efforts to be more inclusive of previously underrepresented student groups including working, off-campus, and international students. She aims to “… fight for [all] students… but also seek[s] to distribute ANUSA’s focus more evenly.”
The second problem is a “culture of unaccountability.” Strange identifies instances of “student money being unaccountably and inefficiently spent” and a culture of “people not actually reading reports, questioning decisions or seeking to hold elected leaders to account.” Strange claims that a key value of having an independent in the Welfare Officer position is the ability to create a “powerful voice against this culture.”
Lastly, Strange argues that ANUSA has “a professed but not demonstrated focus on activism,” likening it to doublespeak. She claims that while the incumbent ticket “says a lot of things about being left-wing and supporting a fighting union,” this does not translate to the effective use of many roles within ANUSA in campaign efforts. Strange acts to rectify this, claiming she has a “demonstrated record of being an activist and a fighter.”
Overall, Strange aims to take a “left-wing, activist approach” that involves “engaging students.” She will focus on “material conditions that matter to working students and students who are struggling with money” and aims to lower medical and housing costs and improve workers’ rights. To decide what matters to students, Sarah thinks the Welfare Officer should consult more widely than other ANUSA personnel. Her number one priority, she promises, will be working students’ welfare and “freedom from wage theft and exploitation.”
Sarah is not on the Executive nor a General Representative, but has been active at their public meetings and in action committees. Her only contender for the Welfare Officer position at the moment is Skye Predavec (she/her) who is running on the incumbents’ ticket.
If you’d like to learn more about Sarah Strange, she can be contacted through Facebook or by filling out an anonymous form where she is eager to hear feedback from students on what they want to see from next year’s Welfare Officer.
Woroni will extensively cover this semester’s upcoming ANUSA election. Stay tuned for future content.
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