29 January 2015

Stop-work drives home TAFE messages

Congratulations to all QTU members who participated in the stop-work and rallies this morning.

In Brisbane, over 150 rallied outside the Executive Building, addressed by ALP education spokesperson Dr. Anthony Lynham and Greens Senator Larissa Waters, as well as QTU President Kevin Bates, QTU Executive member and TAFE teacher Scott Tibaldi and QCU President John Battams.

In Cairns, 70 people rallied with ALP and Greens candidates speaking. There were 50 in Toowoomba and 30 in Townsville, as well as rallies in Logan, Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast. In Ipswich, staff in the electorate office of a local LNP MP complained of feeling “threatened” by a peaceful protest of 25 placard and balloon-waving TAFE teachers. Maybe they do feel threatened by the impending election result, but it surely pales into insignificance compared to the insecurities of working in TAFE for the past three years!

Messages of support and solidarity were received from unions across the country, including the Australian Education Union federally and education unions in NSW, Victoria, ACT, South Australia, Western Australia and Tasmania. Other unions, including Together and the NTEU, also supported the action and rallies, as did the Queensland Council of Unions. Members at CQU also expressed their support.

The stop-work occurred in the face of significant intimidation by TAFE Queensland, including threats of disciplinary action. QTU Senior Officers and Executive have made it clear that any attempt to discipline teachers and tutors will buy a fight with 43,000 QTU members, not just 1,000 in TAFE.

This action has been very important in publicising the issues facing TAFE and TAFE teachers in the lead-up to the state election on 31 January. The campaign to wind back the so-called “reforms” that are strangling TAFE will continue. Today’s action was by no means the end of the campaign to ensure not only a viable, but a strong, TAFE system into the future.

If you haven’t already voted, the choices when you do are stark – the track record of the LNP against the positive policies of the Greens and especially the ALP. Whomever you vote for, fill in every square and put the LNP last.

Authorised by Graham Moloney, General Secretary, Queensland Teachers' Union,
21 Graham St, Milton Q 4064