2019 Biennial State Conference – Our Meeting Place, and the launch of the QTU’s Innovate Reconciliation Action Plan

The title of the QTU’s three-day Biennial State Conference – Our Meeting Place –came out of a face-to-face meeting of QTU Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) Working Group members and members of Gandu Jarjum last August. Therefore, it was timely that the QTU had set the launch of the Union’s RAP for the morning of the first day of the Conference, 1 July.  

The QTU has been working with the RAP Working Group, staff members and the Gandu Jarjum committee to move the QTU from our Reflect Reconciliation Action Plan to an Innovate Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP).   Reconciliation Australia were generous in working with the QTU, supporting us to develop a quality Innovate RAP

The launch of a printed copy of the Innovate RAP was beautifully book-ended with a wonderful and powerful Welcome to Country by Ashley Ruska, of the Yuggera Nunukul clan, followed by the unveiling of the DA Daughtrey Art Bequest, for which the QTU’s Trustees had selected and purchased two beautiful paintings by Chern’ee Sutton, a contemporary Indigenous artist whose heritage lies with the Kalkadoon (you can find out more about her artwork here 

RAP-at-conference.pngThe presentation of the Innovate RAP to the General Secretary, Graham Moloney, by our co-Chairs, Rachel Bos and Tom McCartney, then occurred (pictured right).  An excerpt from the Message from the General Secretary contained within the RAP captures the QTU’s values commitment:

The QTU’s first Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) – a Reflect RAP – was endorsed by the QTU State Conference on 1 July 2015. The renewal of the plan as an Innovate RAP is both a natural progression and a more ambitious statement of the Union’s belief and commitment.

Reconciliation is central to the work of the QTU: it is important for the work and lives of our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander members.  It is important for the lives and future of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students who learn in state schools. And for non-Indigenous members, and staff and students within schools, it is fundamental to the just and prosperous society we seek for Australia.

As an organisation, the QTU is committed to walking humbly with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to achieve the objectives of the Uluru Statement from the Heart: a First Nations Voice enshrined in the Constitution; a formal process of agreement-making between governments and First Nations; and truth-telling about our history.

Please follow this link to a copy of the Union’s Innovate RAP or request a hard copy by emailing  

The celebrated Yugambeh Youth Choir sang us to morning tea, led by Candace Kruger, a proud Kombumerri/Ngughi woman, the choir’s director and educator and QTU member.

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Life Membership for Margi Malezer

Margi.jpgThe first morning of conference provides the opportunity to express our Union’s gratitude to some of its most dedicated activists through the presentation of Life Membership. The award, the highest that the Union can bestow, was presented to nine retired QTU stalwarts.

Former QTU Executive member, Gandu Jarjum member, and Cairns QTU and QCU activist, Margaret Malezer was rightly recognised with the bestowing of Life Membership.  Margi is of the Gubbi Gubbi and Kamilaroi peoples and was born and raised in Brisbane.  She was the first person to fill what was in 2016, the new position of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander representative on the QTU’s Executive.  The 2015 QTU Biennial Conference made the historic decision to expand the Executive to recognise the unique experiences and perspective of our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander members.  The introduction of that identified position ensures that there will always be at least one Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander voice on Executive.  Margi’s election then and her Life membership now recognised her history of activism with the QTU. 

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Penny Taylor elected as a QTU Trustee

Penny.jpgCongratulations to Penny Taylor, a Wiradjuri woman and QTU Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander representative on Executive, who was elected to a consequential vacancy for a QTU Trustee at the recent Biennial Conference. 

The QTU has four Trustee positions charged with the responsibility of managing the Union’s capital investments. The Trustees are grassroots members.  Penny was the first Aboriginal person to be elected to the QTU Executive by a rank and file vote at the QTU’s State Council in 2013.  She has remained on Executive since that time and presently holds the designated Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander position.  Penny is an active member of her branch, representing the branch at Area Council and on State Council, and is also a member of the Women’s Committee and Gandu Jarjum.  Penny also represents the QTU on the AEU’s Yalukit Yulendj Committee (the national Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander committee). Penny’s election to the trustee position is another first for the QTU and Penny.

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Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander representation at Conference sets a new benchmark

Approximately 5 per cent of the delegates at the Biennial Conference were Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander members. Metropolitan West and Logan had four delegates attending the Conference, including experienced reps Penny Taylor and Rachel Bos and new educator and school reps Emerson Payne and Freddie Reid.  Representation came from across the state.

Delegates to Biennial Conference 4-delegates.jpg

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Gandu Jarjum polo shirt

The beautiful Gandu Jarjum committee polo shirt was launched at Biennial Conference.  Here, the Chair of Gandu Jarjum, Amanda Power, reflects on its conception and design.

“The polo shirts have been a vision of Gandu Jarjum for a while so there could be a visible identity and profile in the Union for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander members.  

It is something that can be recognised by all Union members and gives everyone in the Union the opportunity to wear it and stand in solidarity with Aboriginal peoples and Torres Strait Islander peoples and on Aboriginal issues and Torres Strait Islander issues.  The artist, Dr Mayrah Yarraga Dreise, a Gamilaraay and Yeeralaraaya woman, was, at the time of formulating the design, a principal, an active unionist and member of Gandu Jarjum.  Gandu Jarjum members chose the animals on the shirts from Mayrah's designs to reflect Aboriginal peoples, Torres Strait Islander peoples and the Union. 

gandu-jarjum-shirts-for-web.jpgThe eagle on the front was chosen as it is significant and is a symbol of leadership.  It is a bird that flies high by itself, it doesn't hang out and follow other mobs. So that's like our Union, it's not afraid to stand and speak up, also as it soars high it sees the whole picture, but then it can also narrow its view to focus on one point.  The turtle on the back was also chosen as it is significant and a symbol of protection.  The turtle is a gentle creature which has a hard shell on its back. This is why it was placed on the back of the shirt. It's our protection just like we have the support of our Union’s strong back.  These two animals can also be seen either in the sea, on the land or in the sky, therefore making that connection stronger to all.”

Click on the image to find out more about the tshirt.

Download an order form here - word format or pdf format.

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Queensland Council of Union’s (QCU) NAIDOC Union Award recognising the QTU and our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander activists

It is not surprising that Margi Malezer’s work as the QTU’s Fair Funding Now! Leichhardt seat campaign coordinator was recognised by the Queensland Council of Union’s NAIDOC Award.  The honour was in recognition of the Union’s work in advancing the agenda for fair funding for education in remote communities, particularly in far north Queensland, as well as its collaboration with the ACTU’s Enrol to Vote campaign. 

The 2019 award builds on the QTU’s success and recognition at the 2018 QCU’s NAIDOC Awards.  The most significant award bestowed each year is the Dr Robert (Uncle Bob) Anderson Award. Dr Robert Anderson is a well-respected Ngugi Elder from Mulgumpin in Quandamooka, South East Queensland who currently lives in Brisbane. He was an active delegate and then the first Aboriginal organiser for the then Building Workers’ Union.  He is an honorary member of the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU). The 2018 Dr Robert (Uncle Bob) Anderson Award honoured the work of Margi Malezer and her Gandu Jarjum, Peninsula Area Council and branch compatriot, Letitia Choppy.  The dynamic duo were recognised for their work in engaging with and promoting to others the need to participate in the democratic structures of the Union and to engage in campaigning (read more here).  Also, the Union received the QCU NAIDOC Union Award for the QTU’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Project Officer - Membership Growth, which ran during term four 2018.  Experienced Aboriginal activist and project leader Rachel Bos was present to receive the award. 

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Expression of interest in attending the March 2020 National Conference of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Principals Association (NATSIPA) and Te Akatea Maori Principals

Ms Dyonne Anderson, the President of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Principals Association, has requested that the QTU share the following link with our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander members and the broader leadership and educational community.  The link below is to allow potential delegates to fill in an expression of interest (EOI).  Ms Anderson has indicated that the conference registration site will be live in mid-September at the latest, but an EOI would be helpful so that registration links could be forwarded to people who are interested.   

The conference is at the Novotel, Brighton Beach on 18-20 March 2020, with a two-day pre-conference program on 16-17 March visiting four schools or a two-day healing program. 

The conference will be a jointly hosted by the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Principals Association (NATSIPA) and Te Akatea Maori Principals.

Department of Education sponsoring two tickets to the conference

The Diversity, Culture and Engagement team are offering two tickets for five full days at the NATSIPA Principals Conference in Sydney on 16-20th March 2020.  Please note, that although the Diversity, Culture and Engagement team are covering the cost of the conference tickets, delegates will be responsible for their own flights and accommodation for the period. Delegates may ask their business area or school to cover these costs, approval of which will be at the discretion of the business area/school.

To nominate yourself, please respond to the following questions:

  1. Why would you like to attend the NATSIPA Principals Conference?
  2. How does attending this conference apply to your role?

Delegates will also need to provide written approval from their supervisor, manager or principal with their nomination to

Nominations close Monday 7 October. Delegates will be selected by the Director – Diversity, Culture and Engagement.

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Invitation from Gandu Jarjum to Identify as an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander member

The members of Gandu Jarjum, the QTU’s committee for Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander members, invite QTU members who identify as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander teachers to formally identify as an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander member. 

Identifying as an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander teacher with the QTU enables the Union to provide you with member specific information, including professional development opportunities.  Actively engaging in the QTU as an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander member enables you to participate in Union committees and decision-making, as well as representing the QTU in other forums.  There is a designated position on QTU Executive, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander member representation is prioritised on QTU committees.

Gandu Jarjum invites members to strengthen the participation and voice of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander teachers by sharing this information with members who may wish to identify.

Choose one of three easy ways to identify:

  1. Fill out our online form
  2. Update your details in myQTU. (Manage my membership > My details > Update personal)
  3. Download and return this printable form to the QTU

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QTU Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Member Seminar – late October

The QTU is holding an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander member seminar on Friday 25 October at the Teachers’ Building, 21 Graham Street, Milton from 9:30am – 4:00pm. Information on the seminar, including registration has been emailed to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander members within the south-east corner.  The QTU will advertise a similar seminar in semester one 2020 and it will be located outside of the south-east corner. 

The October seminar will be facilitated by AEU Federal Aboriginal Officer and QTU member, Darcel Russell. The day’s program will have guest speakers including QTU Senior Officers.  There will be a range of topics including:

  • The new certified agreement – moving forward,
  • Engaging in the Union and its structures and
  • the QTU’s 2019-2021 Innovate Reconciliation Action Plan.

This seminar will contribute to your professional development requirements.

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South Australia hosts the World in November 2020

The World Indigenous Peoples’ Conference on Education - Indigenous Education Sovereignty: Our Voices Our Futures, will be from 2 November – 6 November 2020.

WIPCE image.JPGWIPCE is the largest most diverse Indigenous education forum in the world – representatives from across the globe will meet in Tarndanya (Adelaide), the home of the Kaurna Nation of South Australia.

Please follow the link to find out more and register your interest in attending WIPCE 2020. There is also a call for abstracts.

Below is a brief 30+ history of the conference taken from the conference website.

30+ Years of World Indigenous Peoples Conference on Education

An estimated 370 million Indigenous peoples live in all continents of the earth and represent a significant part of the world’s vast cultural and linguistic diversity and heritage.

Indigenous peoples possess unique knowledge systems, which are recognised as crucial for sustainable development. At the same time, social, economic and political marginalisation of Indigenous peoples is pervasive in all the regions across the world. 

Indigenous peoples face fundamental challenges when attempting to reconcile their own forms of culturally transmitted learning with systems of formal education. 

Over the past 30 years, WIPCE has endeavoured to address this issue and has grown to become a major international event in the Indigenous education movement. 

The WIPCE conference draws Indigenous representatives from across the globe to share successes and strategies for culturally grounded education. The needs of young Indigenous educators and leaders will be a key feature of WIPCE 2020 youth forums.
WIPCE attracts Indigenous education experts, practitioners, scholars, students and communities, with up to 5,000 delegates expected in 2020 – the largest and most diverse Indigenous education forum on earth.

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 Authorised by Kate Ruttiman, General Secretary, Queensland Teachers' Union
21 Graham Street, Milton, QLD, Australia, 4064

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