The QTU and elections: what we do and why we do it

There is an old French proverb that says: “Those who do not do politics will be done by politics”. As we head towards yet another Queensland state election, it is worth reflecting on the QTU’s current strategy, mission, values and objectives.

The QTU’s mission is as follows.

“The Queensland Teachers’ Union (QTU) aims to be the most democratic and representative voice of the teaching profession in Queensland on industrial and professional matters, and in support of public education.”

Although this is broad in its scope, the mission outlines the Union’s purpose.

The QTU’s values then underpin the way we approach our mission.

In its pursuit of members’ interests, the QTU is:

  • professional 
  • courageous 
  • united 
  • democratic 
  • member focused. 

The QTU’s Strategic Objectives for 2015-2019, as endorsed by QTU State Council, inform our day-to-day work with members to improve their working lives and public education in general. Strategic Objective 4 states:

4. Strong influence over the state/federal education/training agenda.

The impact of politics and governments at both state and federal levels on public education, training and teaching is so profound that it simply cannot be ignored. The QTU is not affiliated with any political party. The Union will lobby and publicise the views not only of governments, but individual members of parliament and candidates. QTU campaigns will seek to help elect governments and candidates that support teachers, school leaders, TAFE, public schools and workers’ rights.

Over the past 12 months, the QTU has grown in size by just over 1,200 members, to more than 44,000 members across the state. Inevitably with such a large and diverse membership, not every member will agree with or support the Union’s campaigns when a state or federal election rolls around. However this work is always guided by the QTU's mission, values and strategic objectives.

The last state election saw two QTU members elected to Parliament: Julieanne Gilbert in Mackay and Scott Stewart in Townsville. Over the years there has been plenty of commentary about the lack of diversity in our Parliaments, which had become dominated by lawyers and political staffers. Having teachers and school leaders elected to Parliament definitely adds to the diversity of views and should result in better policy outcomes.

At the forthcoming election there is at least one additional QTU member seeking election. QTU Principal Union Rep Corrine McMillan has nominated to run for the electorate of Mansfield.

The election of QTU members has not seen any special access for your Union, but has led to greater respect for the profession and genuine consultation across government about key issues that impact upon schools, TAFE and the work of our members.

The QTU always allocates campaign resources, including employee time, to achieve the most efficient and effective result while maintaining all other core business and services to members.

The Union will assess the policies of the major parties and candidates and align any of our campaigns in the context of our mission, values and strategy above. This may include member surveys, member-to-member phone calls and other direct campaigning in electorates where candidates sign a pledge to support key issues the Union determines are important to supporting our members in state schools and TAFE.

Members who don’t want such contact can register for no political contact by sending an email to the General Secretary at

As a state registered union for which the state government plays the dual role of employer and regulator, it is even more critical that we scrutinise the policies of current and prospective governments, particularly in areas of education, training and industrial relations.

Brendan Crotty                                                                                                             Deputy General Secretary (Member Organising)

Queensland Teachers' Journal, Vol 122 No 4, 2 June 2017, p14