Top honour for Federation activists

Teachers who have given outstanding service to their fellow Federation members over many years were bestowed Life Membership of Federation at Annual Conference.

Rod Brown drafted much of Federation’s policy on retirement incomes. He was part of a team who successfully campaigned for legislative change to improve take-home pay for teachers and other public sector workers in the SSS and SASS schemes, General Secretary John Dixon states in the 2019 Life Membership booklet. Rod achieved an effective 3 per cent salary increase (between salary rounds) for members in defined-benefit schemes and worked at getting the major superannuation funds to adopt socially responsible investment policy.

Stewart Burkitt has been a leading activist in the fight for quality public education in NSW prisons. TAFE Organiser Rob Long states in the Life Membership booklet that Mr Burkitt has also participated in many Federation campaigns, most particularly Gonski, Fair Funding Now! and Stop TAFE Cuts, as well as lobbying at elections, and community actions.

Paulette Kelly has always sought to improve the working conditions of Federation members, Country Organiser Susan Armstead and colleague Lynda Wieden state. “There was no strike action or any industrial issue that Paulette wasn’t involved in or promulgated to the local community. She led by example and supported her colleagues in defending the work of the union,” they write. “Paulette encouraged her colleagues to join the union and inspired some to become a Federation Representative, Women’s Contact, Association President, Councillor, Anna Stewart Officer and even an Organiser.”

Joan Lemaire worked on two successful prosecutions of the Department for failing to provide safe workplaces. “Joan played a key role in negotiating permanent part-time work, part-time leave without pay and part-time maternity leave to address the thorny issue of balancing work and family responsibilities,” Denis Fitzgerald, Dennis Long and Julie Ross write. “Joan played a key role in identifying that rather than campaigning on work overload campaigning had to focus on how these demands affected student learning and effective teaching.”

Congratulations to the union’s new Life Members.