The second meeting of the 2015 ANUSA Student Representative Council failed to live up to the anticipated drama surrounding the appointment of a temporary Disputes Committee. During the meeting, which ran for two and a half hours on Tuesday 10th March, the Council decided on how this committee would be chosen, heard from key ANUSA officers, and discussed reaccreditation with the National Union of Students (NUS).
In order to compensate for the failure of the previous SRC to appoint its own Disputes Committee, ANUSA General Secretary, Megan Lane, sought legal advice regarding precedence on the appointment of a temporary disputes committee. However, Lane described the advice she received from the ANUSA Legal Officer as “quite honestly not all that encouraging because the constitution is so vague”.
A motion was put forward that a selection panel consisting of one general representative, one executive member, one college representative, one department officer and one other elected member of ANUSA would appoint the committee, provided the SRC ratified such appointment with a two-thirds majority. This motion was passed.
However, once chosen, this Disputes Committee would only stand until the next SRC meeting, which is scheduled for early term two, at which the current SRC plans to appoint its own committee. Lane said, “while this seems excessive for 6 weeks it is a precedence for how we then elect the disputes committee for the rest of the 12 months”.
It was decided that an email from the ANUSA Executive would be sent to each relevant group entrusting them to elect their own representative to sit on the Disputes Committee selection panel, while the college representative would be decided on at the next CRC meeting.
ANUSA President, Ben Gill, also put forward a motion that ANUSA affiliates with the NUS for a fee of up to $5000. The NUS initially levied ANUSA with an affiliation fee of $89,800, which is estimated to comprise of $625 per full-time student, and consequently ANUSA will negotiate with the NUS Accreditation Committee to lower this fee to a maximum of $5000, as proposed by Gill.
This was met with great debate, mostly because several SRC members were unwilling to re-affiliate with NUS due to NUS’ decision to defund the Disability Office Bearer and its continued disregard for Queer Collaboration. This debate has been delayed until the ANUSA SRC receives reports from 2014 NUS Conference delegates and an NUS Officer Bearer is able to brief the ANUSA SRC about the values of affiliation.
Women’s Officer, Loren Ovens, successfully moved a motion to include the word “consent” in the title of ANUSA’s Sex Week. Queer Officer, Kat Reed, seconded the motion, saying, “I have concerns about the impression the title ‘sex week’ alone might have on people, who maybe aren’t as aware of safer sex practices… forgetting that, yes we celebrate sex, but it must be consensual to be great sex and, in fact, to be considered sex at all”.
It is yet to be decided when this week will be held, with Lane suggesting it could be held during Bush Week. “Bush Week doesn’t really seem to have a particular purpose; it’s not as big as O-Week and it just tends to be an excuse for ANUSA to throw a couple of really cool piss ups, but this could provide some structure around Bush Week.”
In his Presidential Report, Gill revealed that he is currently spearheading the SSAF Agreement negotiations with the ANU on behalf of ANUSA, PARSA and ANUSM (i.e. Woroni).
Education Officer, Jock Webb, emphasised the importance of campaigning against the private member’s bill to abolish SSAF, which was presented a few weeks ago by Liberal Senator James McGrath in order to bring back “true voluntary student unionism”.
“SSAF is obviously extremely important to our organisation and I think there would be a consensus in this room that, with SSAF money, we as an organisation, along with other organisations on campus, manage to provide fantastic services to students who are really in need and those who may not be in need,” said Webb.
In her Queer Report, Reed discussed establishing an inter-hall gender and sexuality committee to provide support to relevant officers at colleges and halls. “[The committee will] try to outline some potential goals to reach for in terms of their role as [Sexuality and Gender Officers] as it’s been expressed that many people in these roles don’t have a clear outline of what they’re supposed to do,” said Reed.