What is the Australian Queer Student Network?
AQSN is the Australian Queer Student Network. AQSN connects students from across the country to communicate and collaborate on issues and actions pertaining to diverse sexuality and gender. AQSN seeks to provide broader representation to include the entire spectrum of people who identify as queer, gay, lesbian, bi, trans*, intersex, pan, poly, fluid and questioning. Through its resources, AQSN aims to provide support and engagement, and work towards a national standard of representation and advocacy that looks after the well-being of queer students.
The Australian Queer Student Network was established at Queer Collaborations 2011 at Curtin University, Western Australia. Discussions persisted at previous conferences for the establishment of a national network to support and enhance queer student politics and representation across Australian University and TAFE campuses. The need for a national network took on more relevance when Voluntary Student Unionism was introduced by the Howard Government in 2006.
In 2014, AQSN tackled a number of issues facing queer people in Australia, both in higher education and the wider community. This included specific focus on recognition of diverse gender identities in student records and services, the rights of queer refugees, the safety of queer students on campus, and issues of police brutality against queer people in Australia. Through working closely with cross-campus queer groups in each state, AQSN also prioritised the role of queer people in student activism, whether through education campaigns or working in collaboration with Indigenous, wom*ns, ethno-cultural, disabilities and other collectives on-campus.
What is the AQSN Annual General Meeting?
The AQSN Annual General Meeting (AGM) is the formal avenue through which our organisation develops its strategic and operational goals. Furthermore, this is where the executive office-bearers and general members are elected for the following year. These include national Co-convenors, Treasurers, Secretaries, and General Executive positions. It is held at the Queer Collaborations (QC) conference each year, and takes the form of an open meeting where any queer-identifying student from any Australian university may attend as a voting member.
The primary focus of these AGMs in the past has been to solidify the fundamental operational requirements of the organisation – such as reviewing the Constitution, organising bank accounts, and setting out AQSN’s role in relation to both NUS and QC – as well as developing broad and strategic campaign ideas as resolutions that are voted on by all members.
This meeting functions in the same way as the QC conference floor – including protocols for points of order, clarifications, amendments, etc. – though requirements of specific majorities for passing resolutions are outlined in the AQSN Constitution.
All participants are asked to familiarise themselves with the AQSN Constitution. Copies of this document can be requested from Dean (National Co-Convenor) through firstname.lastname@example.org
What is the National Union of Students Endorsement?
Each year, the AQSN endorses one student as a candidate to the National Union of Students National Queer Office-bearer position. Nominations for this endorsement begin at the beginning of QC each year after a Returning Officer has been elected and Standing Orders resolved, and the endorsement is voted on by the entirety of the QC conference floor.
It is envisaged that this person will be supported by both the only autonomous and national queer student representative body (AQSN) and the only autonomous national queer conference (QC), and therefore provides the requisite representational skills and abilities to adequately and appropriately address the needs of all queer-identifying students in higher education.
Candidates are given the opportunity to speak to their nomination before all QC attendees; the QC conference floor is also given a platform to ask questions of each candidate before the endorsement is voted on. This election is generally held on the last or second-last day of the conference.