ANUSA is in the process of investigating ways to reform student elections. Following recommendations by the 2011 probity officer, Angus Heslop, there have been a wide range of proposed changes to the electoral system. These include reducing or removing paper from elections to dealing with harassment claims towards students standing for election.
In response to this document, the Students’ Association hosted a reform consultation to review the claims and to have students’ adds their own. With representatives from current ANUSA, past ANUSA candidates, and students, each of the recommendations were discussed and new ones added.
Student elections at ANU have long been the subject of much scorn. Some students claim that reform is necessary to improve interest in what is increasingly viewed as a disruptive and unimportant activity.
ANU student Tamsyn Caruso commented that “I try to avoid Union Court when elections are happening because I don’t like being hassled by student politicians”.
Despite the ire, ANUSA elections are some of the best-attended students’ association elections in universities around the country. In the past, the University of Melbourne has received just 600 votes from their upwards of 40,000 student base. ANUSA, however, regularly gets 10% of the undergraduate students voting.
ANUSA Secretary Tara Mulholland stressed during the consultation that these changes are to increase engagement with real issues and remove the stigma surrounding student politicians. One student emailed a proposed reform stressing the need for engagement which went so far as to suggest removing all coloured t-shirts as one way to focus on student issues.
Consultation on this issue is still in progress. If you would like to attend a meeting or to have your say, contact Tara at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.