1 November 2013, No. 26-13

Ballot reminder

The behaviour of the Premier and Education Minister in the Queensland Parliament on 31 October starkly demonstrated their attitude toward the teaching profession.

A number of questions without notice were asked that were relevant to the ballot currently being conducted.

The first asked the Premier to explain how he had informed principals and deputy principals of his plans to put them onto performance-based fixed-term contracts: the Premier’s reply largely focused on criminal motorcycle gangs, paedophiles and sex offenders, with a passing dig at “the performance of teaching staff”.

The second asked the Premier why he had refused to properly engage with teachers over his Great Teachers = Great Results plan. His response was a diatribe against the QTU, ending with a claim that the QTU was “joined at the hip with the Australian Labor Party”: he apparently still has not noticed that the QTU is not affiliated with the ALP and donates no campaign funds to it.

The third was a Dorothy Dixer to the Education Minister about possible industrial action arising from GT=GR; his answer, in short, was that the Government intended to implement the plan, whatever the position of the QTU or its members.

The full responses can be found on the Parliamentary website.

It is abundantly clear that this Government has no intention of listening to the views of the education professionals it employs.

The education profession in Queensland is under direct attack. A strong “yes” vote in the current ballot will demonstrate that teachers and principals are not about to stand idly by while decades of hard-won working conditions, including job security, are stripped away at the whim of this Government.

Further IR changes

This Government continues to show its disdain, not only for teachers and the profession, but also for workers. With the introduction of the sixth amendment to the Industrial Relations Act in Parliament on 17 October, the Government took aim at a number of employment conditions and arrangements that have underpinned the industrial relations system in Queensland for several years.

The introduction of the Industrial Relations (Fair Work Act Harmonisation No. 2) and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2013 sees the introduction of modern awards and high income contracts (currently pegged in the bill as $129,300 including super). The changes to the bargaining and arbitration process, while described as creating efficiency, demonstrate the Government's lack of understanding of industrial relations and its disingenuous approach to bargaining. The Bill, similar to WorkChoices in nature, acts to strip away the conditions and protections of workers while providing little improvement. The QTU has provided a written submission to the Parliamentary Committee highlighting the key aspects of the Bill, and will also provide evidence at the Parliamentary hearing today

 Authorised by Graham Moloney, General Secretary, Queensland Teachers' Union