State Council Report - 12 March 2022
Queensland Teachers' Journal, Vol 127 No 3, 14 April 2022, page no. 4
The first QTU State Council for 2022 was held online because the meeting, scheduled for 5 March, was delayed for a week due to the floods in the south-east corner of Queensland.
Vale Larry James
The General Secretary addressed Council on the passing of QTU activist Larry James. Larry lived on Prince of Wales Island and travelled by boat to work every day on Thursday Island. He was a long-standing representative of the Torres Strait branch in Far North Queensland. During his years of activism, he was active in seven EB campaigns and two RAIS campaigns for improved teacher accommodation in rural and remote communities.
International Women’s Day
QTU Women’s Officer Penny Spalding outlined the issues facing women globally on International Women’s Day (8 March). The QTU welcomes the allocation of one day of TRS to support Respect training, but will continue to lobby for more resources in schools and regional offices.
COVID-19 and natural disaster
Council received a report on the disruption caused by the Brisbane floods, including the ongoing impact on the operation of Milton SS, Rocklea SS and Aviation SHS. The QTU received more than 150 applications to its Natural Disaster Relief Fund from members directly impacted by the floods.
Council reaffirmed the decision to turn comments on the QTU’s Facebook page off, in recognition of the potential for breaches of the Code of Conduct when members post comments publicly criticising the department. Our page was open to all members of the public, some of whom unfortunately used it to troll our own members. The QTU has encouraged members to use the structures already available, ie attending branch meetings, contacting their Organiser, sending an email, and calling QTAD.
Statement of Safety and Respect
Council endorsed changes to the QTU’s Statement of Safety and Respect, which supports members' right to participate in QTU meetings, forums and events, free of all forms of harassment, including sexual harassment and racism. It also includes a definition of racism provided by the Human Rights Commission.
Council endorsed the QTU budget for 2022, which is in surplus and includes allocations to standing reserves for the Conference Fund, the Campaign Fund, the Investment Fund and the Natural Disaster Relief Fund. The QTU will continue to fund a Campaign Coordinator position this year, employ additional QTU staff, replace the membership database, modernise the QTU Library and participate in an ARC Linkage research project on career change teachers.
Roselynne Anderson Scholarship
When QTU Life Member Roselynne Anderson passed away suddenly last year, the Special Education Committee recommended the establishment of an annual scholarship in her honour. Council supported an amendment to policy which enables the QTU to allocate up to $5,000 for up to three scholarships for financial members to undertake training and professional development in the areas of special education, school leadership or women in education.
Teacher shortage campaign
Council discussed the continuing teacher shortage, with schools in rural and remote areas finding it particularly difficult to find supply teachers and temporary teachers. The QTU will be conducting a survey of schools to identify unfilled vacancies, as there are reports the department's data contradicts the reality of a shortage. The shortages are causing inequity for students outside of metropolitan areas and the issue will be pursued through the dispute resolution process in the first instance.
By Leah Mertens, Deputy General Secretary (Member Services)