Woroni has spent the second term of this semester reaching out to your ANUSA General Representatives to provide you with an update on their work in their elected roles.
The 2023 ANUSA General Representatives are: Oscar Moysey, Skye Predavec, Chris Morris, Abirami Manikandan, Yerin Park, Myka Davis, Kelsie Suter, Anton Vassallo, Noor Shah, Brandon Lee, Luke Harrison, Ollie O’Kane, Adhyan Dhull and Max Marland.
ANUSA describes the role of General Representatives (‘Gen Reps’) as being: “tasked with implementing the many important projects that we do which lie outside Executive portfolios. Working in groups and reporting to the Student Representative Council, Gen Reps are invaluable in ensuring that ANUSA makes visible improvements to campus life over the year.”
While some independents run for a Gen Rep position, most come from tickets – informal political parties and affiliations. The current grassroots-style incumbents (Power in Community), Labor (Action for ANUSA), Socialist Alternative (ANUSA for Climate Action) have Gen Reps. Anton Vassallo represents the Liberal-aligned ticket, Voices for ANUSA.
The 2023 Gen Reps have achieved their roles to differing extents. We sent questions to all 14 Reps; receiving responses from only five. ANUSA does say that Gen Reps “…must also act as a key communication link between the student body and ANUSA with regard to the concerns and problems that ANUSA should be addressing.”
Woroni reached out to the Gen Reps multiple times, from Week 8 until the time this article was published, and the lack of response from some of those reps suggests they are not fulfilling at least one component of this role.
Woroni asked your Gen Reps about what their role is, what they have been up to, what their campaigns focused on and what they have to say about the current state of ANUSA and the ANU more broadly.
The information within these profiles is drawn from the Gen Reps’ responses to Woroni’s questions and the Agenda of the ANUSA Student Representative Council (SRC) 4 2023 where some gave reports on their work.
Gen Reps are volunteer positions, and they tend to receive honoraria in recognition of their work. Certain Gen Reps receive a special mention from the ANUSA Honoraria Committee for specific work, or for going above and beyond.
Your ANUSA General Representatives
Woroni attempted to contact Oscar Moysey, who ran for the Power in Community ticket. As of SRC 4, Oscar had resigned from his position.
Woroni did not receive a response to our questions from Skye Predavec. The below summarises her semester report at the Ordinary General Meeting.
Skye Predavec, who ran for the Power in Community ticket, is both a General Representative and the ANUSA Deputy Education Officer. In describing her role this semester, Skye wrote “the bulk of my work as a Gen Rep this year has been on the bus campaign”, referring to the proposal to bring back the Daley Road bus route. She elaborated: “the petition drive ended up on 1237 signatures, achieved significant media coverage, and pretty definitively raised the profile of the issue on ANU Campus.”
Skye listed her other involvements in her Gen Rep report:
- Attended all SRC meetings in the first Semester.
- Volunteered at ANUSA events, marshalled at rallies, etc.
- Had some involvement in the Housing Action Committee before she “burned out”.
- Heavy involvement in the Education Action Group, in my capacity as Dep Ed.
Next semester, Skye plans to focus on renewing her campaign for the Daley Road bus, fixing campus cycling infrastructure and attempting to make ANUSA more of an activist union.
This semester, the ANUSA Honoraria Committee recognised Skye for:
“Going above and beyond in contributions to the Ethical Sponsorships Committee, the Housing Action Collective and being actively engaged and committed as a General Deputy Education Officer. Going above and beyond in contributions to a lot of campaigns and political protests”.
Chris Morris and Yerin Park
Woroni did not receive a response from Chris Morris and Yerin Park. The below summarises their semester report at the Ordinary General Meeting.
Chris Morris and Yerin Park ran for election as part of the Socialist Alternative’s (SAlt) Climate Action for ANUSA ticket. At the time, Woroni reported their key objectives were “campaigning on activism surrounding climate change, women and queer students, and racism at the ANU. Objectives of this ticket include calling for the sacking of Chancellor Julie Bishop, action against course cuts and a price cap on on-campus foods.”
In their Gen Rep report they cite their key achievements as being:
- “Working with the Education department and ANUSA to build the women’s rights/abortion access focussed rally that drew respectable numbers”.
- Organising the National Day of Climate Action protest. They specifically mention the disruption of the ANU commencement ceremony with a “promo stunt” as one of their successes.
- Aiding in coordinating the protest against ‘Posie Parker’ at Parliament House. To be clear, several groups organised the protest against Posie Parker, including the Queer Department, the National Union of Students, and other Canberra organisations.
- The Nakba Rally which they argue “will be an important date to stand in solidarity with Palestinians who have continued resisting occupation, oppression and violence from the Israeli state for all this time.” Woroni notes that it was the ANUSA Vice-President who moved the motion to send an ANUSA contingent to the rally, not Morris or Park.
This semester, the ANUSA Honoraria Committee recognised Yerin Park for “going above and beyond in contributions to a lot of activist work, active participation in bringing motions at the meetings and being an International Womens’ Day rally speaker.”
Chris Morris was also recognised for “going above and beyond in contributions to a lot of activist work and active participation in bringing motions at the meetings.”
Abirami Manikandan did respond to Woroni’s request for comment but was unable to provide answers to our questions. The below summarises her semester report in the Ordinary General Meeting.
Abirami Manikandan, who ran for the Power in Community ticket, writes that her focus as a Gen Rep “has been on mental health, wellbeing, and the rights of international students.”
Abirami lists her achievements this semester as:
- Attending meetings of the ACT Women’s Health Matters team to raise the profile of discussion around a free abortion access plan.
- Lobbying for better access for international students to abortion services.
- Met with members of the ANU School of Medicine and Psychology to discuss improving international students’ access to mental health services.
- Worked with the ANU Respectful Relationships Unit to discuss better ways for international students to access the sexual violence prevention toolkit.
- Currently working with the ANUSA Treasurer to lobby for a possible ANUSA Mental Health Grant that could be accessed by students in need.
The ANUSA Honoraria Committee recognised Abirami for “going above and beyond in contributions to the Ethical Sponsorships Committee.”
Myka Davis did respond to Woroni’s questions.
Myka, who ran for the Action for ANUSA ticket, describes their role as “fulfilling election policies through consultation and collaboration with ANUSA Departments and other relevant groups. I also attend SRCs to vote on important motions related to expenditure, solidarity/protests, campus accessibility, and ANU accountability.”
Myka campaigned on a personal platform of increasing sexual assault and sexual harassment (SASH) accountability and increasing ANUSA’s accessibility for students through making their bureaucratic processes more understandable and instituting specific hours where ANUSA representatives would be available to the student population for consultation.
Action for ANUSA focused on advocating for a change in ANU’s approach to residential agreements from occupancy rights to tenancy rights. This is an issue Myka says she is very personally passionate about.
In describing what she’s has been up to in their role, Myka told Woroni:
- Attending SRCs to advocate for their policies.
- Overseeing events in O-Week.
- Planning a consultation process to collect all ANU Departments views on sexual assault accountability mechanisms.
- Meeting with the ANUSA lawyer to discuss occupancy rights for residents in relation to SASH.
In response to a question about ANUSA’s accountability functions Myka said:
“I believe my ANUSA accessibility policy is another way of achieving my accountability function. ANUSA is intended to be by the people, for the people but if not enough of the student population engages with ANUSA and its various capacities effectively enough, I don’t believe we are doing enough.”
Kelsie Suter did respond to Woroni’s questions.
Kelsie Suter, who ran for the Power in Community ticket, described her role as having “the ability to run projects which I believe to be important to both myself and the wider student community within ANU. As well as this as a part of ANUSA, I am looking to bridge the gap between ANUSA and the students of ANU as well as encourage the involvement and collaboration with students.”
Kelsie tells Woroni that she campaigned on three main policies: “improving the EAP [Education Access Plan] process, CASS course cuts and improving the success of low SES students.”
Kelsie wrote that her key achievements this semester were:
- Being a member of the minuting team for ANUSA’s SRCs, OGMs and AGMs.
- Being on the New @ ANU 2023 Team.
- Volunteering during O-Week.
- Being on the Clubs Committee.
- Being a member of the Housing Action Collective Organising Group.
- Beginning the process of an EAP system review.
- Rallying support against further CASS course cuts.
Kelsie emphasised to Woroni that her key policies, including an EAP review and advocating for an end to CASS course cuts, would take time to achieve.
Kelsie also told Woroni that she believes ANUSA is succeeding in being accountable to and engaging with the student population.
Woroni attempted to contact Anton Vassallo, who ran for the Voices for ANUSA ticket, but received no response and could not find any details about his work in the role since being elected.
Woroni reporters have noted that Vassallo has frequently been absent from ANUSA meetings.
On a Facebook page about himself in which he refers to himself in the third person, he claimed the relaxation of mask rules as “delivering on promises.” It’s not clear if Vassallo lobbied the ANU, and if such lobbying precipitated the rule change but the ANU messaging focused heavily on health advice, not on student demand.
Noor Shah did respond to Woroni’s questions and the below is drawn from those responses.
Noor Shah, who ran for the Action for ANUSA ticket, described her role to Woroni, writing: “there are 14 of us and our job is primarily to help out the Executive committee with initiatives/projects and to report to the Student Representative Council or SRC meetings every month.”
Discussing her election platform, Noor told Woroni: “I am a big believer of good mental health, and all of my policies are around improving our counselling and wellbeing services as there are issues that need to be addressed.”
Noor listed her achievements this semester to Woroni:
- Being part of the Self Care Society.
- Volunteering at Market Day.
- Attending all SRC meetings in Semester 1 as well as the AGM and OGM.
- Holding a course rep position in Semester 1 and continuing that into Semester 2.
- Involvement in the Universal Lunch Hour.
Noor would specifically like to see ANUSA’s Wellbeing Committee advocate for key changes at the ANU. This includes “having more psychologists present or initiating alternate services in order to reduce the long waiting times for students, where students have to wait for months to see a counsellor.”
Brandon Lee did respond to Woroni’s questions.
Brandon Lee, who ran for the Action for ANUSA ticket, described his formal role as “fulfilling obligations to attend meetings required of the SRC (including OGMs, SGMs, and AGMs)…and working on [his] own specific priorities.”
Brandon told Woroni he campaigned on a platform of “addressing cost-of-living issues, mental health & student support infrastructure, and uplifting autonomous communities on campus.”
He added “I put forward specific policy proposals and solutions that I believe ANUSA can act on in addressing those issues – such as (but not limited to) further supporting autonomous Departments on campus, engaging more collaboratively with the National Union of Students, being more active in the provision of mental health & crisis support at the ANU, and directly addressing rising costs within campus grounds.”
Brandon listed his key achievements this semester as:
- Implementing MyWay vouchers for ANU students.
- Working with the Indigenous Department’s Officer, Aleisha Knack, “to support her efforts on campus to educate students about constitutional recognition for First Nations peoples in the lead up to the upcoming Voice referendum.”
- Attending the NUS National Conference.
- Participating in ANUSA’s Housing Action Collective.
- Working to ensure no students are left behind in the closing of PARSA.
- Improving crisis support across ANU residential halls.
In discussing ANUSA more generally, Brandon told Woroni: “I can’t speak for most other members of the ANUSA SRC, but I believe that our student union can do better in addressing issues that are relevant to students here on a day-to-day basis; this is underscored by consistently low voting rates at election times and generally low engagement with ANUSA outside of certain times of the year and specific groups of students.”
Brandon argues that his position as a Gen Rep allows him to hold the ANUSA Executive accountable writing: “this means both transparently interacting with executive members on the nature of their work, and at times speaking out & voting against what the ANUSA exec support (that I believe aren’t in the best interests of ANU students).”
The ANUSA Honoraria Committee recognised Brandon this semester for: “going above and beyond in contributions to the Ethical Sponsorships Committee, the Housing Action Collective, the minuting team, and by bringing back [the] transport vouchers program.”
Luke Harrison did not respond to Woroni’s questions and the below is drawn from their semester report at the Ordinary General Meeting.
Luke Harrison, who ran for the Power in Community ticket, is an ANUSA Gen Rep, the ACT State Branch President of the National Union of Students, ANUSA Deputy Education Officer, and Environment Collective Co-Convenor.
Luke lists their key achievements this semester as:
- Organising and operating stalls for both the NUS and the Education Action Group.
- Volunteering on Market Day.
- Supporting the NTEU and the ANU staff in the enterprise bargaining agreement negotiations by:
- Attending rallies in both Canberra and Sydney.
- Advocating against CASS cuts as a member of the Education Action Group.
- Helped organise the Schools Strike for Climate Rally in Canberra.
- Running anti-AUKUS protests and advocacy efforts.
- Attending every SRC and AGM.
- Sitting on the Honoraria Committee for Semester 1.
Ollie O’Kane did not respond to Woroni’s questions and the below is drawn from his semester report at the Ordinary General Meeting.
Ollie O’Kane was elected as a Gen Rep as part of the Action for ANUSA ticket.
Ollie listed his key achievements this semester as:
- Engaging with the formation of the ANU Housing Action Collective.
- Attending all SRC meetings including the AGM and OGM.
- Volunteering on Market Day.
Woroni attempted to contact Adhyan Dhull, who ran for the Power in Community ticket. As of the Ordinary General Meeting, Adhyan had resigned from their position as a Gen Rep.
Woroni attempted to contact Oscar Moysey, who ran for the Power in Community ticket. As of SRC 4, Oscar had resigned from his position.
Max Marland did respond to Woroni’s questions.
Max Marland was elected as a Gen Rep as part of the Action for ANUSA ticket.
Max described his role to Woroni as “to implement the policy that I was elected on [and to] ensure that the executive of ANUSA remains accountable to both the SRC and the wider student population.”
In discussing his policies, Max informed Woroni that “I had two personal policies: ‘Fuck Lodge’ and also fixing mental health services on campus. ‘Fuck Lodge’ was about the issues experienced by those at UniLodge Accommodation facilities. My policy about fixing mental health services was in relation to the on-campus Mental Health clinic which is desperately understaffed (about 1 counsellor for every 1700 students including Undergrad and Postgrad).”
Max told Woroni his key achievements this semester were:
- Attending SRCs and the AGM.
- Disrupting the O-Week Commencement ceremony to protest ANU’s ties with the fossil fuel industry.
- Marshalled the NUS counter-protest to the Posie Parker rally.
- Participated in the NUS National Day of Action for Climate Change.
- Consulted with SRs on their conditions and experiences with on-campus accommodation.
In a more general discussion about the ANU, Max argued “there are many things wrong with the ANU, from the lack of affordable accommodation, the attack on our degrees (especially as a CASS student), insecure work for ANU staff, and SSAF funding. All of this comes from aggressive corporate management who runs the ANU as a for-profit business instead of the educational institution that it is.”
Of the Group of Eight universities, ANU has one of the lower turnouts in its student elections. While it is up for debate as to all of the reasons for this, that only five of 14 general representatives responded to Woroni may explain part of the disengagement. At the very least, it highlights that engagement within ANUSA’s representatives itself may also lag.
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