The profession must claim its rightful place in education discussions

Teachers need to take the lead in debate on
education policy, Australian Education Union Federal President Correna
Haythorpe told delegates at Federation’s Annual Conference.

“Teaching is often challenging yet very
rewarding, but our jobs are made much harder by wholesale education reforms
implemented by governments without consulting and working with the teaching profession,”
Ms Haythorpe said.

“When we are frozen out of the consultation
process due to political ideology, it is our students who are ultimately

“Delegates… we will claim our rightful place
with respect to professional and industrial issues and our rights. We will
demand our rights to lead education policy debate and we will prosecute that in
the public domain.”

Ms Haythorpe said that thanks to the
campaigning support of teacher members “the nastiest components of the Abbott,
Turnbull and Morrison reform agenda” had been fought off, but campaigning
needed to continue.

“Politicians don’t act against their natural
political inclinations for their own benefit or for the good of their health,”
Ms Haythorpe said. “They do it because of the public pressure of sustained
campaigning. And that is the strength of our union.

“We have a duty of care to our students.

“We accept it when we start our teaching degrees,
when we graduate, when we stand nervously in front of our first class and then
every day from then onwards. The question we have to ask ourselves is very
simple. If we don’t fight for public education and fair funding for preschools,
schools and TAFE, then who will?”

— Kerri Carr