AEU Federal Conference 2021
Queensland Teachers' Journal, Vol 126 No 2, 12 March 2021, page no. 6
The Australian Education Union (AEU) held its annual conference on Friday 26 February.
The logistical challenges of staging a national conference during the current COVID-19 context meant that the 2021 AEU Federal Conference had to be shortened to one afternoon Zoom session, although a face to face event could be held later in the year if the pandemic conditions allow.
The QTU was represented at the conference by 14 delegates, including teacher and school leader members and officers of the Union. The highlight of the event was seeing former QTU General Secretary Graham Moloney and former QTU President Kevin Bates both receive Life Membership of the AEU, conferred by conference for their exemplary contribution to the Union’s affairs and to education general. Hopefully, we will have the opportunity later in the year to celebrate these honors for Graham and Kevin in person.
As a sign of the times we are currently living in, the conference confirmed a rule change to enable postal and electronic ballots for AEU elections and for electronic voting at meetings that cannot be held in person. This is an important reform, as the Australian Electoral Commission ceased all industrial postal ballots during the COVID-19 pandemic. It also allows for properly constituted meetings of the Executive of the AEU to meet via Zoom and vote on resolutions, even when they are unable to meet face to face.
Other governance matters were dealt with, including accepting the finance and auditors report and the 2021 budget, which will include significant expenditure on both the Rebuild with TAFE campaign and the public schools funding campaign in the lead up to the next federal election.
The shortened conference format meant there was no 2021 conference statement, which normally provides a clear direction across the following twelve months. AEU Executive and the National Campaign Committee will be developing the campaign focus and priorities for the remainder of the year. A new conference statement will then be produced at the next meeting of conference to be held, either later in 2021 or as scheduled in February 2022.