Who are the candidates?

Wren Sommerville: ‘Fight the Liberals’

John Dove: ‘Brighter Together’

Maddie Chia: Proud! of our ANUSA

Sophie Macdonald: ‘Refocus Your ANUSA’

Jacob Ellis: ‘Go the Distance with ANUSA’ Current General Representative

 

Key policies:

Somerville argues that he would fight for an education sector that serves all students and which is not profit based. He would also fight for the extension for JobKeeper and JobSeeker. Ultimately, Sommeville stresses, the Education Officer’s role should be based on advocating for student welfare. 

Dove notes that while the Officer’s role is vague in day to day duties, it is fundamentally a political position which should be focused on fighting for students. As the Education Officer, Dove states that he would be focused on student activism, and would encourage further training in the handover process. 

Ellis emphasises his three point policy: stamping out wage theft; fighting government cuts to funding; and working with the Treasurer to restore ANU’s SAFF bid. Ellis also notes that while the Education Officer role is in many ways reactive, he would engage with the position in a more active way. 

Arguing for the importance of intersectionality, Chia argues that her vision for the role centres on accessibility and making activism engaging for all students. Chia speaks  on the importance of engaging the departments in activism. She also notes ANU’s failure in regard to SASH policy and consent on campus and hopes to address these issues. 

Macdonald speaks on her two-pronged policy platform. Firstly, she notes that there needs to be increased considerations for regional and remote students, as well as student carers. Secondly, she proposes a unions week, which would help students engage with and learn about unions such as the Young Workers Centre and Unions ACT. 

 

On Federal Budget Cuts: 

All candidates protested this issue, with broad agreement that this is an anti-student policy which will leave education less accessible. With regards to their policy plans in fighting these budget cuts, however, the candidates were divided.

Chia and Dove emphasise a need to mobilise and get students involved.

Chia, Macdonald, and Ellis further recommend a turn inward to the university administration to address the budget cuts.

Somerville, however, argues that activism and protest would allow the best opportunity to fight this controversial decision.  

 

On Education Committee Accessibility: 

Again, all candidates widely agreed that the committee has been largely inaccessible to many students. Chia and Macdonald both agree that the committee needs to diversify the voices that are heard, and to become more intersectional.

Somerville, Dove, and Ellis all agree that the committee needs to become better at advertising and to become a more welcoming environment for students  

 

On the Education Officer’s role with the University Administration: 

While all candidates generally agree to fulfil this role, there is a certain level of disagreement as to the extent.

Somerville and Dove both disparage the idea that activism should take place within institutional structures, and emphasise a certain level of reluctance to engage with university management through bureaucratic means.

Ellis and Macdonald alike demonstrate a willingness to engage enthusiastically with this role, although also acknowledged other forms of activism.

Chia expresses a need to actively consult with departments and diverse students, and notes that while it is important to fulfil the role, activism should be more than just lip service.