“So you’re from Fenner?”
This is the first question they ask in her interview for GenRep. Simple. Friendly. Asking about home.
“Yes, I’ve loved my first semester there. I feel connected to a community for the first time.”
“And how do we pronounce your last name?”
“Dayson. Day-son. It’s English.”
“Ah England! I can tell from your accent. Are you on exchange or an international student?”
“I’m an international student.”
They whisper across the table to each other before ticking a box marked “International student”. Another member of the executive pulls out a pen, writing “white” next to the box as a qualifier.
This is the story Gemma reported to Woroni after her near-Stupol experience. She had first interacted with the ticket through the online-forum ‘ANUStalkerspace’ asking for “new ideas” from members of the student body. Dayson had simply appreciated the creative photography of the advertisement and kept scrolling.
“It wasn’t until my new friend, Angus, asked me, that I thought of running.”
“I didn’t realise international students were allowed in ANUSA.”
“Angus looked at me and said, ‘I think you’d be the perfect candidate for a General Representative of the ANU Students Association. Will you apply through the online form if I give you the link?’ His smile made him seem very approachable,” Dayson recalled.
Her application took two and a half hours, as Dayson answered three questions – two of which were about an organisation she’d only heard of at ANUSA O-Week’s flagship concert HYPERNOVA. The response she received from the ticket was positive, inviting Dayson to an interview to “see what she could offer the ticket.”
“They looked through my application, well… part of it.”
“The one on the left let out a low whistle, looked to the others and shaking their head in disbelief.” The interviewer then asked Dayson a question:
“Other than your perfect demographics, why do you want to be on our ticket?”
Gemma recounts her confusion – the discussion questions she had poured her heart into were sitting, unread, on the table. As she began to recite her answer, she was interrupted by the other interviewer who reportedly quizzed her further on her background.
They asked Dayson for; her wealth status; her sexual orientation; her gender identity; her school, and whether she was from a regional, rural, regional centre, metropolitan, general or selective entry public or, (“God forbid”, were the words verbatim of the interviewers) a private school; whether she was religious, and if so, to what extent she practised; and finally, her history with political factions – including, with the most emphasis, ties to the Socialist Alternative.
Dayson was told she would be perfect for the ticket – moderate to high income, not enough to cast eyes but enough to fully fund a campaign season with no time for casual employment; straight, but ambiguous about it; a cis-female, which wasn’t so much a plus but at least she was a woman; metropolitan general public; religious, but a non-practising Jew; and a Labour left supporter, but not a signed on member.
The collective jaws of her interviewers fell to the floor. As the interview came to the conclusion, one of the interviewers turned to the other and said “and she’s at least an 8/10, so people will actually stop to listen to her talk.”
When the interviewers asked if she has any questions for them, Dayson asked, “what do you believe in?” They reportedly responded, “absolutely nothing” and began laughing maniacally.”
Senior members of the ticket have refused to comment on Dayson’s case.
We acknowledge the Ngunnawal and Ngambri people, who are the Traditional Custodians of the land on which Woroni, Woroni Radio and Woroni TV are created, edited, published, printed and distributed. We pay our respects to Elders past and present and emerging. We acknowledge that the name Woroni was taken from the Wadi Wadi Nation without permission, and we are striving to do better for future reconciliation.