Government on notice: it will be held to its commitments!

It was prescient that Minister Prue Car should thank The Hon Dr Geoff Gallop in her speech at our recent Principals’ Conference on 5 May.

“That moment when Federation asked that the [Gallop] report be conducted, that’s a seminal moment in NSW history,” Ms Car told our principal members. She went on to say she was “happy to acknowledge that is our blueprint” for addressing the crises in the state’s public education system.

That moment was back on 20 February three years ago, when the Gallop inquiry was set in motion and became the foundation upon which we have built our industrial, political, legal, electoral and communications strategies aimed at achieving the crucial change needed to address the workload, wages and job insecurity issues that have beset the profession and led to the teacher shortage.

With the acknowledgement, finally, that education is at crisis point, it was fitting that federal Education Minister Jason Clare, himself just a year in the job, also addressed the Principals’ Conference.

We all know that at the crux of many issues assailing our system, it is the underfunding of our public schools which are, courtesy of a decade of state and federal Coalition governments, stuck at only 90 per cent of the minimum level of funding considered necessary to give all students their best chance to succeed.


At the conference, both ministers signed a pledge to commit to funding public schools to 100 per cent of Schooling Resource Standard (SRS). That undertaking reads: “We are committed to ensuring every NSW public school is on a path to reach 100 per cent of the Schooling Resource Standard – the fair funding level.”

With the former state and federal governments consigned to the lows of history, let’s not forget who did the heavy lifting to achieve that: you, the members.

Your community campaigning, lobbying of MPs and industrial action and unprecedented presence at about 240 polling booths in targeted electorates finally ended the Coalition, ushering in a new era for our profession and public education.

And you deserve the thanks; More Than Thanks.

Members across the state have found some relief in the honesty of Minister Car.

It is a refreshing and necessary change from the recent past. The acknowledgement of the workforce crisis we face is a welcome departure from the contempt and disrespect of the previous government.

To date, our relationship with the new government remains respectful yet, as you’d expect, robust. It is a relationship that we’ve entered with goodwill and one that we trust we can build on. The success of the relationship will, of course, depend on the Government delivering on its commitments to the profession.

The Government is on notice; it will be held to its commitments!


It’s time to commit to one of the most important nation-building campaigns of our lifetimes: ensuring a “Yes” vote for a constitutionally enshrined Voice to Parliament.

Federation is guided by its Aboriginal members and bound by our Annual Conference and Council decisions, to do its utmost to secure a positive outcome in the referendum.

Annual Conference of 2018 committed us to embrace the Uluru Statement from the Heart and deliver on Voice, Treaty, Truth.

Together, alongside the broader union movement, we must do our utmost to attend to this unfinished business of due constitutional recognition and Voice for our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples for, if we don’t, not only will we have missed an opportunity to continue on a nation-building journey, a journey of reconciliation, but also we will witness a disastrous repudiation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

It’s time to fight for a Voice for our First Nations peoples. Together, united, unions for yes.