State Council report - 10 March 2018
Queensland Teachers' Journal, Vol 123 No 3, 13 April 2018, p4
Minister addresses Council
This was the first Council since the State Election in 2017, and as a consequence, the QTU welcomed the new Minister for Education and Industrial Relations, Grace Grace.
Minister Grace received three standing ovations from State Council as she spoke about the importance of working with teachers and school leaders as we set the path for Queensland education. Minister Grace saw the importance of calling for a review of NAPLAN, as well as a review of the school uniform policy to enable girls of all ages to wear shorts and pants to school. Additionally, Minister Grace reported on her department’s response to the federal government’s “Gonski 2.0 Review”, which made it clear to the federal government that the Queensland Government ran state schools and would work with schools to ensure that they had access to funding to support the learning needs of their students. She noted that despite the federal government's attempts to tell the state government what to negotiate in future enterprise bargaining, the state government remained committed to the current certified agreement and would determine its own agenda for future bargaining. The Minister also acknowledged the need to ensure that, as the voice of the profession, the QTU needed to be returned to the Queensland Curriculum and Assessment Authority (QCAA) and that a full review of the Independent Public Schools program (IPS) would be undertaken.
Council supported rule changes which removed any reference to the position of treasurer at branch, Area Council and TAFE branch levels and changed the way Union Representatives would be elected. The three-year terms of Union Representatives in schools cease and there will no longer be a spill of all positions every three years. Reps will still have to re-nominate if they are transferred or if they take leave for more than 12 months. In addition, Union Reps can be removed from their positions in the rare event that they should fail to comply with directives or bring the Union into disrepute. The number of positions available in any workplace remains the same.
Council celebrated the success of member activism at the local level. A representative from Blackbutt State School spoke about the strategies used by members at the school to secure appropriate resourcing to ensure their safety arising from some complex behaviours being displayed by students.
The processes used by the Adult Migrant Education Program at TAFE Brisbane to address workload intensification were also acknowledged. Following a process of member meetings to identify key issues and engagement, a special LCC meeting was held and senior managers are now taking measures to address the concerns of members.
Change the Rules
As part of this campaign, the QTU identified that a recent decision of the construction watchdog, the ABCC, banning the display of union logos including the Eureka Stockade flag from federal building sites needed to be challenged. In an act of solidarity, the QTU has produced stickers displaying the Eureka flag and distributed them to Union Reps and other members.
The Eureka flag is not synonymous with any one union. It was flown during the Eureka Rebellion and since then has come to represent defiance and has been adopted by the union movement in a number of campaigns.
The production of the stickers is a symbol that the QTU will stand up and speak out against attacks on our freedom of speech and the right of members to be proud of their Union. Unfortunately, the state opposition leader has determined that one of her first acts of government if elected would be to ban union symbols from schools. Once again the LNP are showing that they want to tell schools what they should do rather than respecting the professional judgement of school leaders and teachers.
More information about the Change the Rules campaign can be found on the QTU website.
Deputy General Secretary