QTU Union Reps Conference
Queensland Teachers' Journal, Vol 127 No number 4, 3 June 2022, page no. 18
The annual QTU Union Reps Conference was held at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre at South Brisbane on Friday May 13. This is the largest single QTU event, with more than 400 delegates from across the state attending.
The conference, which was originally scheduled for March but had to be moved because of COVID-19, is a chance for delegates from across the state to engage with a range of speakers on the industrial and professional issues facing our profession. The title of the conference was “For the Profession”, and it kicked off with a keynote address by QTU Vice-President Leah Olsen titled “The Advocate Within”, which challenged delegates to explore where their motivation and inspiration to support their colleagues comes from.
The second session of the conference, “Everything you ever wanted to know about EB10 but were too afraid to ask”, saw QTU Deputy General Secretary Leah Mertens and QTU Industrial Advocate Thalia Edmonds share insights into the current negotiations with the Department of Education and the interests the QTU is seeking on behalf of members.
The middle session of the conference saw QTU President Cresta Richardson host a panel discussion on the conference title “For the Profession”. Delegates were treated to interesting presentations and discussions with the special guest panel, which included AEU Federal President Correna Haythorpe, QCU Assistant General Secretary Jacqueline King and Rachel Drew of Holding Redlich Lawyers. They covered topics such as:
- the need for more representative voices for the profession at the national level, including within AITSL and ACARA
- the need for fairly funded state school and TAFE systems
- legislative reforms being sought by the state government, including protecting the rights of registered organisations and creating a new positive duty on employers to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace
- the current legal pitfalls QTU members face.
The panellists brought broad expertise about the current professional, industrial and legal challenges facing our profession. They used this expertise to answer a wide range of questions and contributed to a broad discussion about the important work of the QTU, working with and for members across the state.
The final session saw QTU General Secretary Kate Ruttiman take delegates through a number of leadership concepts and table discussions in a session titled “Leading the Union in the Workplace”.
The day was rounded off with a session on growing the union in our workplace led by QTU Deputy General Secretary Brendan Crotty and Organiser Membership Growth Lynn Cowie-McAlister. Delegates workshopped planning growth conversations in their workplaces around the work of the QTU and the local needs of members.
Feedback from the conference was very positive. The 2023 Union Reps Conference will return to its normal March schedule. If you are a Union Rep in your workplace and you have not yet attended the conference, speak to your Regional Organiser and keep a look out for registration in early 2023.