8 November 2013          No. 28 - 13

Members vote overwhelmingly to protect our profession, as Queensland gets Gonski (sort of…)

QTU members have voted overwhelmingly to reject key aspects of the Great Teachers = Great Results plan.

The close of the ballot coincided with the announcement of a new funding deal. Queensland teachers will not be fooled by the government’s claim that the Great Teachers = Great Results plan will in any way substitute for the full Gonski model, an opportunity foregone by this government prior to the federal election.

The ballot, which closed on Wednesday, overwhelmingly supported industrial action should the government attempt to implement any part of the plan's unacceptable ABC (appraisal, bonuses or contracts).

With around 70 per cent of members participating in the ballot, the opposition to the continued attacks on the profession is clear.

Ballot results – 23,500 QTU members have voted as follows:

Motion 1: THAT the Queensland Government and the Department of Education, Training and Employment (DETE) be condemned for their ongoing failure to consult and negotiate with the Queensland Teachers’ Union (QTU), as the representative of Queensland teachers and principals in public education, on the actions proposed in the Great Teachers = Great Results action plan.

In favour: 


Motion 2: THAT QTU Executive issue a directive for a 24 hour stoppage to all members in schools and associated workplaces should the department seek to implement any of the following:
a) a performance review process that has not been negotiated and agreed with the QTU
b) “performance-based fixed-term contracts” for principals and deputy principals
c) performance bonuses for teachers or school leaders
d) any other infringement of conditions and entitlements flowing from the
Great Teachers = Great Results action plan.





Motion 3: THAT QTU Executive issue a directive for a 24 hour stoppage to all members in schools and associated workplaces should the department seek to negate or increase class size targets as proposed by the Commission of Audit.


Motion 4: THAT QTU Executive issue a directive for a 24 hour stoppage to all members in schools and associated workplaces should the department interfere with members’ access to QTU Officers or the operation of Union Representatives.


Motion 5: THAT QTU Executive or Council be authorised to consider and issue a directive/s for lesser industrial action e.g. two hour stoppages, in response to negative changes arising from the Great Teachers = Great Results action plan.


The outcome clearly indicates to the government that Queensland teachers will stand up for their profession and hold the government to account, should it continue to attempt to undermine hard-fought-for teaching conditions.

The QTU calls on the government to negotiate with the QTU as the professional and industrial voice of our members if it genuinely wishes to resolve these matters.

Members are also encouraged to ensure that their voices are heard at the rally at Parliament House on Wednesday 20 November - it is important that the government knows that we will do all we can to protect our profession and stand up for our rights.

The timing of future action is dependent on the actions of the Queensland government and the education minister.

Queensland gets a new funding deal

The deal negotiated between John-Paul Langbroek and Christopher Pyne provides Queensland state schools with less than one third of the funding offered under the previous government. If the additional funding flows to schools where it is needed, it will go some way in assisting our members as they work with their school communities to implement programs addressing their students' needs.

The agreement is also a clear acceptance by the state and federal governments that the previous schools funding model, established by the Howard government, was fatally flawed.
In the spirit of Gonski, the funds should be directed at addressing the educational disadvantage which impacts negatively on student outcomes.

Queensland teachers and principal members, via their union, are best placed to provide expert advice to this government. The QTU will also hold the government to account to ensure that they do not cut state education funding as they receive extra federal funding.

While reports on the deal say there are no strings attached, the QTU calls on the government to meet with the Union to discuss how these additional funds can be utilised. To date, the LNP government has failed to acknowledge that the case for extra federal funding was established and prosecuted by QTU members, through the Meeting the Challenge and Gonski campaigns. The Union has a proud history of working with governments to implement national partnership programs that benefit its members and the students they teach. Had the government acknowledged this and consulted with the profession before announcing the flawed GT=GR plan, the dispute we now find ourselves in over the plan may have been avoided.

 Authorised by Graham Moloney, General Secretary