Council report: 23 November 2019

Thursday, 9 April, 2020, will be the cut-off date for determining each local association’s financial membership, and therefore Councillor and Annual Conference Delegate entitlements for 2021-22.

The number of Council and Conference delegates an association, or group of associations, is entitled to is determined by the number of financial members of that association. Federation also has provisions that ensure members of the Aboriginal Members’ Roll are represented at Council.

The eighth and final Council for 2019 opened with a video summary of the Week of Action held in workplaces from 18-22 November. From the correspondence received and photos sent in from workplaces, it is clear that we are building levels of engagement throughout our membership. Seeing so many teacher unionists come together in solidarity to hear reports around our shared commitments and campaign objectives at this point is critical and will contribute towards our ongoing strength as a union.

An active and engaged membership can help achieve great outcomes for public education. This was demonstrated during Council by the announcement that the Department will establish an Intensive English Centre in Armidale.

Council unanimously passed a recommendation addressing the bushfire crisis that has affected public schools, TAFE and their communities. Hearing the heartfelt and emotional personal stories of members directly affected was an opportunity to reiterate the union’s call on all levels of government to acknowledge the research and evidence, and demand that action be taken to address climate change and cuts to emergency services.

Federation has proudly, for more than 100 years, established itself as both an industrial and social justice union. Our support of the Australian Service Union’s “We Won’t Wait” campaign to establish paid domestic violence leave and goal of establishing provision of timely, effective and expert non-judgemental support for women experiencing violence is something we are proud of.

Women need to know that their workplace has a commitment to supporting them through paid leave to speak out, seek help and take action if they are affected by domestic violence. Economic dependency traps people in violent relationships.

This important workplace right will make all the difference to whether a woman successfully rebuilds her life and achieves safety. It will save lives.

I wish you a restful and safe holiday period. If you’re stuck for gift ideas, encourage someone to join their union. It’s the gift that will keep on giving!