History of Federation’s involvement in Aboriginal issues


Federation is proud of its contemporary history with Aboriginal Peoples, which is founded on mutual respect for one another. It has enjoyed active partnership with the NSW AECG for over 40 years. This has carefully guided the direction of the organisation in the critical matters of social justice and human rights as they affect opportunity and outcomes in education and the broader community for Aboriginal peoples both domestically and internationally.

More specifically the Federation was there in 1976 leading the battle for the original affirmative action strategy for the employment of the first group of Aboriginal teachers to graduate in numbers from teacher training.

Federation is proud to have founded, in partnership with the NSW AECG and its Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal members, the first union policy on Aboriginal issues in this country in 1980.This partnership paved the way for the ultimate development and support from teachers of the first Department of Education Aboriginal Education Policy, the foundations of which were so ground breaking that it formed the backbone of the 1997 DET Aboriginal Education Policy.

The fight to demand ongoing growth and access to public education has been the cornerstone of equity for Aboriginal peoples. In times of government destabilisation of the public education system through reduced funding, the most economic and socially disadvantaged have the most to lose.

Employment of and protection of the rights of Aboriginal teachers has been paramount in the Federation’s policy. This support is responsible for their active involvement in the union.

Aboriginal Studies was a foundation issue in Federation’s first and subsequent policies and will remain the primary curriculum tool for social justice for Aboriginal peoples in our public school/training institutions.

Since the creation of the Aboriginal Education Co-ordinator’s position in 1986 and its complete incorporation into Federation’s structure in 1994, Federation has moved strongly to support Aboriginal education for all staff and all students. Trade union courses have been developed and are available to all members.

The fight for equity for Aboriginal students is ongoing and the development in 2010 of Aboriginal Education 25 year Plan: The Way Forward addresses both equity and Aboriginal perspectives issues.

Federation will continue to seek social justice and advancement of Aboriginal Peoples.

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