During ANUSA’s OGM on the 13th of August, the ANUSA Women’s Department were successful in putting forward a motion that the Australian National University Students Association must grant the Department a full $5,000 without the requirement of a budget. The motion was moved by the Women’s Officer, Erin Gillen, and was supported by a consensus of the Women’s Collective.
The Women’s Collective was repeatedly asked by students why it did not have to provide a budget for the money that was requested. The argument put forward by Gillen was that having to provide a budget would impede its autonomy since it would mean the ANUSA Executive would have discretion to dismiss items. Although student governance is fallible, the ANUSA Executive is an elected body and our vote is our symbolic statement that should allow us to rely on representative democracy. Collectives and ANUSA should engage in a consultative process.
Dallas Proctor, bookkeeper for ANUSA, clarified that the Women’s Department were in the process of getting an Australian Business Number (ABN). This would mean that the Collective would be required to complete audits, Business Activity Statements, end of year Expenditure Reports and be subject to the taxation laws in Australia.
The Women’s Collective is meant to be a representative body. As a woman and as a student, when I weigh up the complete lack of financial accountability that arises from a Collective simply asking for a substantial grant of money without having to provide any clarification, I can honestly say that I do not feel that my interests are being protected.
Tara Shenoy is the Editor in Chief of Woroni. However, the opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of the ANU Student Media Organisation.