With three weeks remaining before the 2016 ANU Students’ Association (ANUSA) elections, the first ticket, Amplify ANUSA, has officially launched. Woroni sat down for an interview with Jessy Wu, Kat Reed, and Waheed Jayhoon, Amplify’s Education Officer, General Secretary, and CASS representative respectively.
The ticket, spearheaded by current Education Officer James Connolly, claims to be running on a platform of genuine “inclusivity and diversity” by including people from diverse backgrounds, and from different social and marginalised groups. For example, Wu and Reed emphasised the equal split between male and female or non-binary members on the ticket, along with the high proportion of people of colour.
Additionally, Amplify ANUSA has cited their focus on allowing General Representatives to run on their own distinct platforms as a differentiating factor between themselves and other tickets in the past. Wu claimed they will work with these General Representatives and their “passion projects” by using ANUSA as a springboard to “amplify their voices.”
There are currently 10 vacancies available for these General Representative positions, with nominations open on Amplify ANUSA’s website.
Although this move further suggests a commitment to “inclusivity and diversity”, it should be noted that positions among the executive and college representatives have already been decided outside of this process, largely from hearing expressions of interest “along the grapevine” and through discussions with different societies and colleges.
Other policies discussed included ways of improving mental health and advocacy through the union court redevelopment, employment of more counsellors, and a university wide survey; the creation of a clubs and societies council to improve funding allocation and collaboration; an internal restructuring of the education officer role in order to expand its reach; and more transparency within the treasury of ANUSA.
As part of these policies, Amplify also intends to oppose Coalition Government education reforms that they see as harmful to students, with Wu citing changes to HECS as an example.
Additionally, Amplify perceives that the main topic that will dominate discourse during the upcoming elections is the idea of change, and the need to rethink how ANUSA has traditionally worked and how it can improve.
“Change is very much on everyone’s mind at the moment. The general feeling at ANU is that most students are quite sick of the traditional way that tickets are being run… so we’re trying to change the status quo a little bit,” Reed said.
“We’re trying to find a mix of what are the traditional ways that worked and were effective and are important to keep, and what are the things we can change and how we can approach this in a more accessible manner.”
This will include keeping the student community engaged past the elections, according to Amplify. When questioned about preserving student engagement and diversity post-election, they claimed the very structure of the ticket and its diversity will help do so, along with greater accessibility through “standing order reform.”
Amplify cites the greatest challenge in student politics to be “apathy.” But cynicism is also a strong presence amongst the broader student population.
In the face of the introduction of online voting and restricted campaign areas in particular, only time will tell if the creation of a “positive vibe” around campaigns, transparency within the ticket, and accessibility of positions will remove the negative reputation surrounding student politics.
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