Inquiry head made education champion

The work of Dr Geoff Gallop AC, who chaired an independent inquiry into the teaching profession in NSW has been recognised by Federation, naming him its 2022 Champion of Public Education.

Federation bestowed the accolade on Dr Gallop, a former West Australian premier, for his stewardship of the panel that conducted the Valuing the teaching profession: An Independent Inquiry” during 2020.

His final report of the year-long inquiry, provided the overwhelming evidence and impetus for Federation to lay the foundations of its More Than Thanks campaign for better wages and reduced workload to urgently address crippling teacher shortages.

Federation President Angelo Gavrielatos presented Dr Gallop, who was commissioned by Federation in February 2019 to chair the inquiry, with his award at NSW Teachers Federation’s Annual Conference in Sydney this afternoon.

Federation was fortunate to secure such an erudite and respected member of the community as Geoff Gallop for this independent examination of the changes to teaching conditions since they were last examined some 20 years earlier,” Mr Gavrielatos said.

His deep knowledge and appreciation for public education, as well as its intrinsic value to society, proved to be critical in such a forensic examination of the issues facing the profession and its changes over those 20 years.

The calibre and reach of his findings, now known far and wide as the Gallop Report, gave Federation the solid foundation needed to prosecute its claims for a total reset of the remuneration and working conditions of the teaching service, which has been neglected by this NSW Government to the extent we now have a critical teacher shortage.”

Dr Gallop, premier of Western Australia (2001-2006) who also served as its education minister in the Lawrence Labor government, is presently Emeritus Professor, School of Government at the University of Sydney.

He told Federation delegates he counted the award as a blessing” to be recognised by the membership for his work on the inquiry.

I recognise you are in campaign mode at the moment and in that context I have three very simple messages: be firm; be clear; and be proud,” he told conference.

Be firm when making your case against the myths, the prejudices and the falsehoods that have been gathered together under the Orwellian headline ‘Education reform’.

Be clear about the educational consequences of the current regime. I stress educational: you are the educators, not your adversaries.

And above all else, be proud about what you do. It’s not just about what you do in the school and classroom but what the system in which you work can do, and we know it can do it, when it comes to the stated aims of an educated society, citizenship and a fair go for everyone.”

The inquiry panel, which included former Deputy President of the NSW Industrial Relations Commission, the Hon Dr Tricia Kavanagh and former head of the NSW Institute of Teachers Mr Patrick Lee, conducted a thorough investigation receiving evidence and submissions from teachers, academics and the community about the changing nature of the teaching profession since the last examination set pay and working conditions 20 years earlier.

Federation awards the Champion of Public Education to non-members who have demonstrated over many years some or all of the following attributes:

  • a contribution to Federation campaigns in support of public education
  • a close collaboration with Federation members in support of the union’s campaigns
  • the provision of support, advice and research to Federation in support of campaigns
  • the use of a public profile to protect, defend and advance the cause of public education.

The inaugural award was posthumously bestowed on Greens MP John Kaye in 2016.