Defending public education, not bankrolling parties

As the 24 March state election looms, the QTU is gearing up to play its role. But while the Union will be involved in the process, there are some things it will definitely not be doing.

While many unions are affiliated with the Australian Labor Party, the QTU is not and never has been. It is not affiliated with any political party, nor does it donate funds to any political parties.  Under the QTU Constitution, political party affiliation could only occur after a referendum of all members.

The QTU is affiliated with the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) and the Queensland Council of Unions (QCU), the peak Australian and Queensland union bodies, but neither of them is affiliated with, or donates funds to, any political party.
Of course, that does not mean the Union cannot get involved in elections or other political campaigns. The QTU reserves the right to support or oppose candidates, depending on their attitude and actions in relation to QTU policy positions – in particular public education and industrial relations.

In our case,  the employer is the state government, so it makes even more sense for the QTU and its members to take an active interest in politics and to campaign politically. The major decisions affecting you as a teacher or principal and the system you work in are all made by governments via the political process.

To promote its position, and to oppose policies harmful to QTU members, your Union therefore produces material and advertising during election campaigns. For the same reason, the QTU may also chose to have representation at rallies, functions and campaign launches as part of its involvement in the political process.

It is one of the QTU’s strategic objectives to seek to have supportive governments and candidates elected. But the QTU runs its own state election campaigns; it does not donate to political parties. However, there is nothing to stop individual QTU members supporting any candidate they want in whichever way they choose.

Queensland Teachers' Journal, Vol 117 No 1, 17 February 2012, p11