Disclaimer: Unfortunately Connect ANUSA’s General Secretary candidate, Bec Jellie, was unable to meet with Woroni for an interview on her policies and ideas for the role this week. Information about Connect ANUSA can be found on their Facebook page.
The ANUSA General Secretary is responsible for the internal administration of ANUSA, running and organising the meetings of ANUSA’s representative councils (SRC, CRC, AGM, OGM), as well as looking after and interpreting the Constitution and other ANUSA documents.
Woroni sat down with Amplify General Secretary candidate Kat Reed to discuss policy in the lead up to the election.
Reed, who also ran for General Secretary last year on the Open ticket, explained that they decided to run again this year as they believe that the position provides an opportunity to be the main communicator for the organisation and therefore facilitate the atmosphere of ANUSA.
They described this atmosphere from their own experiences with ANUSA to be quite “passive aggressive,” and something that they felt determined to address. Additionally, Reed mentioned their desire to help people have more of a say within the SRC as a motivating factor, especially those from minority groups.
On the topic of online voting, Reed stated that they thought the change was “a good decision”, as they believed the new system would increase accessibility for voters and decrease pressure on campaigners.
For instance, Reed described the potential for online voting to increase the chances of candidates without huge networks by elevating the importance of social media use.
Reed also suggested a policy of incentivising online voting in order to increase turnout. Citing the University of Queensland’s success with providing $10 lunch vouchers to students who voted in their student elections, Reed proposed a similar incentive at ANU, in the form of $5 coffee vouchers for voters.
Standing Order Reform
In regards to standing order reform, Reed stressed the importance of its implementation in order to “level the playing the field,” stating that if elected it would be their first priority. These reforms, which have already been looked at by current General Secretary Sam Duncan, include the introduction of a “point of clarification” to query meeting procedure. According to Reed, this would allow people to ask questions about meeting procedures without being out of order.
Secondly, Reed suggested creating different sets of standing orders for different meetings as an avenue for standing order reform. Reed claimed that tailoring standing orders to the different meetings run by ANUSA would better address the aims and outcomes of these groups.
Lastly Reed mentioned the need to look at practical ways to teach people how to use the standing orders and why this knowledge is important. They explained that one of the key issues with standing orders is that people who are confused by the procedures or lack practice in using them are disadvantaged in meetings.
Woroni also questioned Reed on their policies towards student engagement with ANUSA. In response, Reed discussed their policy of introducing page summaries of agendas and minutes if elected. These summaries would by distributed before and after meetings to describe key points to be discussed, as well how these topics are relevant to students.
To conclude, Reed discussed their desire to use the General Secretary position to ensure that the departments and executive have a “really solid relationship” as a differentiating factor between herself and other candidates.
Citing past difficulties between the two to be the result of misunderstandings of autonomy, Reed emphasised their past experience with departments as useful for them to help “create more trust” and “more support” for the departments within the General Secretary role.