20 Aug 2015 | No. 12-15 | Download as PDF 

To : QTU Members

Vote for QTU endorsed candidates in QCT board election

A ballot giving state school teachers and principals the chance to elect two practicing teachers to represent them on the board of the Queensland College of Teachers (QCT) opens on Friday 21 August 2015.  The postal ballot is being conducted by the Australian Electoral Commission on behalf of the QCT.

Because of the importance of the college board, the QTU has, as usual, called for expressions of interest from QTU members interested in nominating for these positions for endorsement and has endorsed two candidates: Alota Lima and Natalie Clarke

It is important that QTU members:  

  • vote in the ballot
  • vote for the two candidates endorsed by the QTU.

Alota Lima

Alota is currently an elected member of the board of the QCT and Deputy Chair of the QCT Professional Standards Committee.  She is also an elected member of the State Council of the QTU, representing the Gympie Branch, and holds a range of other Union positions including on the Professional Issues Committee.  She is currently employed as a master teacher operating in a cluster of schools in the Maryborough area, and has over 23 years teaching experience in regional and city schools, across primary, secondary and TAFE, and in a range of socio-economic environments.

Natalie Clarke 

Natalie is currently the QTU’s representative on the college’s Professional Standards Committee.  She is also an elected member of the QTU State Council, representing Springwood Branch, holds a range of other Union positions and has been heavily involved in the QTU’s New Educator Network.  She is a primary teacher with eight years’ experience and teaches at Berrinba East State School.  

The importance of the college

The Queensland College of Teachers has a vital role in Queensland education.  It is responsible for:

  • the registration of all schools and all teachers employed in Queensland schools
  • the conditions for initial registrations, including qualifications, and personal suitability to teach 
  • the requirements for ongoing registration, including continuing professional learning requirements, suspension and cancellation of registration of teachers whose conduct does not meet the standards required of the teaching profession
  • approval of initial teacher education courses as appropriate qualifications for Queensland teachers
  • promoting and upholding the standards of the teaching profession.

The college is created by Queensland Government legislation, but it is not funded by government.  The college is funded by teacher registration fees, and it is vital that Queensland teachers have an effective say in its decisions.  One of the hallmarks of professions is that they regulate themselves and particularly the standards for entry and continuation in the profession.  The college board consists of 19 people, of whom only nine are registered teachers and only eight are required to be practicing teachers.  It is vitally important that the teachers on the board work collaboratively to ensure that the decisions of the college are made in the best interests of registered teachers and the teaching profession.  By seeking endorsement from the QTU for this ballot, both Alota and Natalie have committed to that collaboration.  

Teacher unions and the college

The QTU and the Independent Education Union (IEU) (there is a parallel election for one practicing teacher affiliated with non-state education) are the most democratic and representative voices of the teaching profession in the state.  Issues relating to teacher professionalism and registration have long been at the core of the deliberations of the QTU and IEU.  By electing QTU endorsed candidates, you’ll help to ensure that democratically determined views about the future of the college and the teaching profession are reflected in the deliberations and decisions of the college.

It is vital that members vote in the election.  There has been a low turnout in previous elections for practicing teacher members.  The former Education Minister sought to use that low turnout to help justify establishing “an expert” appointed board for the college, with no guarantees of representation of the practicing and registered teachers who fund the college and its operations.  The current Education Minister has a different view, but it remains important that teachers vote in this election.

There was a record number of nominations for the two practicing teacher positions affiliated with state education on the college board.  Many are active QTU members. However, only Alota and Natalie sought QTU endorsement when the QTU called for expressions of interest.  They gave a commitment to work with the nominees of the QTU (Perry Anderson) and the IEU to ensure the views of Queensland teachers rather than their personal views are reflected in college deliberations.  Since the voting will be via a first past the post system rather than a preferential election system, each state school teacher will only have two votes, and it is important that those votes are cast for Alota Lima and Natalie Clarke.

The ballot closes on 18 September 2015.

 Authorised by Graham Moloney, General Secretary, Queensland Teachers' Union