QTU Biennial Conference 2021
Queensland Teachers' Journal, Vol 126 No 5, 30 July 2021, page no.8
The 2021 QTU Biennial Conference, our 114th, was conducted on 28 and 29 June at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre, with more than 220 delegates, along with many life members and special guests, joining together to celebrate.
For the first time, the inaugural Dr Evelyn Scott Memorial Lecture was held on the eve of conference, with Professor Tracy Bunda discussing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Dreaming. This lecture is to be a regular part of the conference program in future years.
The conference itself commenced with a special Welcome to Country by the performers of Spirit of the Red Sands, including a cultural performance and smoking ceremony. Delegates joined in the fun when they were invited to learn the parts of a happy dance.
The conference was officially opened by QTU President Cresta Richardson, followed by the presentation of the Biennial Report by QTU General Secretary Kate Ruttiman. The QTU Trustees then presented the 2021 Daughtrey Art Bequest – a pair of paintings titled “Walumarra Business” (Women’s Business) by Queensland modern First Nations artist Chern’ee Sutton.
The first session closed with a wonderful music performance from the students of Virginia State School, led by their ARIA nominated music teacher and QTU member Kathryn McLennan. Delegates and special guests were treated to items by the school’s advanced ensemble and stage band including vocalists.
Day 1 continued with QTU Life Membership being conferred, with recipients receiving their badges and commemorative awards and then joining with previous recipients for a Life Member Lunch.
Conference resumed after lunch with confirmation of attendance and proxies, appointment of scrutineers, confirmation of minutes of the 113th Conference, adoption of the standing orders and the determination of State Council and Conference dates for 2022 and 2023.
The Agenda Committee report set out the planned agenda for conference followed by Union Governance reports including financial statements and a membership growth report.
Campaign Action Awards were then awarded in two categories for campaigns presented to State Council in the preceding two years.
Conference received a keynote address on the theme of ‘Rethink’ from Professor Greg Thompson, School of Teacher Education and Leadership, QUT. The presentation focused on the time poverty crisis in education for teachers and school leaders. The QTU will be working with Professor Thompson as a research app is released to allow members to track their use of time for specific purposes.
Day one concluded with a conference reception, featuring a performance by Elle and Casper, two students engaged in the Diploma of Music and Bachelor of Music programs being co-delivered by TAFE Queensland Southbank and Canberra University. This was a great way to conclude a successful day of conference and showcased public education at its best.
Day two of conference saw a shift of rooms to a larger space in the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre, and began with an address from Minster of Education Grace Grace.
Conference then received reports on:
- The Expect Respect campaign
- Educational leaders
This was followed by a keynote address via Zoom from the President of the Australian Education Union, Correna Haythorpe. Correna briefed delegates on the national Every School, Every Child and Rebuild with TAFE campaigns, and acknowledged the work of all members throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
Given the changing COVID restrictions and the pending announcement by the Premier that saw most of greater Brisbane, Townsville, and Palm and Magnetic Islands enter a snap three-day lockdown, at this point Conference deliberated and determined to adjourn early to allow delegates to travel home prior to the commencement of the lockdown.
The unfinished business of the Conference, including the endorsement of QTU Policy and the 2021 Conference Statement, will be deferred to the August State Council meeting.
I would like to thank all delegates, guests and QTU employees who contributed to making the Conference successful. I would also like to thank our Business Services team who did an outstanding job in getting our delegates home as quickly and safely as possible.