Democracy in action: Conference 2017

The next QTU Biennial Conference takes place from 26-28 June 2017. This is the largest meeting within the QTU democratic structure and is the predominant opportunity to amend and debate QTU Policy and recommend changes to the Constitution and Rules.

Each QTU Branch and Area Council is represented by two delegates at Conference, the State Council Representative and a State Conference Representative. The call for nominations for State Conference Representative appears in this Journal.

I attended my first QTU State Conference as the Conference Representative for the Warrego branch in 1999. It was an excellent opportunity to gain an understanding of how the Union’s decision making structures operate and meet QTU activists from around the state at conference sessions and social functions. Over the years, I’ve learned from very experienced QTU activists and watched new activists grow in confidence and take the lead on matters that are important to the profession and our Union.

Delegates at QTU State Conference have the opportunity to listen to and participate in robust debates, attend workshops to build their knowledge, and to hear from a range of guest speakers. Conference is a time of reflection on and celebration of the achievements and efforts of the Union over the previous two years, and is a key forum for setting the direction and adopting positions to take us forward.

Conference has evolved over time, and now features activities such as the Conference fringe program, a formal women’s lunch, social networking functions, and caucuses for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander members and LGBTIQ members. One of the most inspiring aspects of State Conference is the Life Membership ceremony, in which those members who have made a significant contribution to the Union throughout their careers are recognised.

Conference delegates will receive the QTU Policy, reports and proposed amendments prior to the Conference, to enable them to seek feedback from their branches. Amendments to policy can be submitted up until the end of the first day of Conference, and guidance is provided to help first time (and returning) delegates to fulfil their role.

If you are interested in participating in the supreme decision making body of the QTU, then consider nominating for a position within your branch or contact your Regional Organiser to discuss opportunities to attend as an official observer. Our Union is at its strongest and most effective when members engage in our important democratic structures, and there is no more important body than our full Conference meeting.

Brendan Crotty                                                                                                                 Deputy General Secretary

Queensland Teachers' Journal, Vol 121 No 8, 11 November 2016, p8