On Wednesday the 13th of August, in Union Court, ANUSA is hosting its OGM. What is of note is that a motion that will be raised at the OGM. Fossil Free ANU (FFANU) seeks to pass a motion allowing ANUSA to call referenda.
ANUSA’s Constitution lacks a section on how to call a referendum, even though it has provisions for the running of referenda. FFANU has compiled and submitted a motion that would change this, allowing presentation of a percentage of the undergraduate population’s signatures to trigger the calling of a referendum. After that ANUSA must give 5 academic days warning before holding a referendum.
FFANU have made it clear that they plan to call a referendum if the motion passes. They will be asking students to vote yes on divestment. Divestment is the opposite of investment – instead of gaining assets one gets rid of them. In this case ANU still owns shares in the gas and oil ‘exploration’ (an euphemism for the ages) company Santos, as well as having invested in a variety of other companies that are directly involved in fossil fuels.1 This may be considered odd given that ANU has supposedly embarked on a policy to ensure that all investments are ‘socially responsible.’2
FFANU has expressed concerns that despite the fact that Vice Chancellor Ian Young considers climate change the greatest challenge facing humanity, ANU continues to invest in, or at best reluctantly divest from, fossil fuels. FFANU holds that divestment is a powerful way to withdraw “political support from damaging industries.”3 And if Ian Young is uncertain if divestment is the way forward maybe its time to ask the ANU’s biggest stakeholders: the students.
The ANUSA OGM will be a touch more dramatic than usual, given how invested the FFANU are in this motion and its successful passing. Regardless, for the environmentally conscious amongst us, this might be one OGM you don’t want to miss.