NEWSLETTER SUPPLEMENT TO THE AEU NEWS • MARCH 2013
Your ROAR is heard New Premier Napthine has heard our loud opposition to performance pay but our campaign must dig deep if we are to force him to make a fair offer. Meredith Peace AEU branch president
been forced to accept your opposition. It is an early sign that the new Premier is prepared EGOTIATIONS for a new school agreement to act on the assertions he made on taking office that continue as we go to print. We have been meeting he genuinely wants to resolve the dispute. intensively now for six weeks and the pressure is All of you — teachers, principals and support staff building on the Government. We are at a critical point, — are congratulated for your fantastic commitment to highlighted by Premier Denis Napthine’s announceour campaign. It is your pressure that has led to this ment last week (March 19) that the Government has move forward. taken performance pay off the negotiating table. You have continued to implement the bans — the While this is a small but positive step in the context 38-hour week, responding to DEECD emails and of the agreement as a whole, it is a big win for AEU surveys and on Coalition politicians visiting our schools members. The roar of “No” to performance pay that — and you have participated in unprecedented almost lifted the roof of the Hisense Arena last month numbers at stopworks. has been heard. Now, as the campaign moves to the grassroots, you You said that performance pay will not work and will are taking part in political activities, forming delegadamage collaboration in schools. The Government has tions to local MPs and letterboxing. This has been a long campaign and your willingness to stick at it in the interests of your schools and students has been key to the pressure the Coalition Government has been under for many months. There are still many issues to be resolved if we are to achieve a fair and reasonable agreement for all staff in our schools. The Government has taken performance pay off the table, but what is it prepared to put back on in terms of a fair offer? We’ve made clear that 2.5% is not enough — the new Premier must be willing to back his compliments for your work with a fair reward for that work. We must also remember our other key issues such as the high level of contract employment, particularly for graduate teachers and education support staff; recall and classification issues for ES; class sizes and workload. The pressure we have been able to build is clearly having an impact, but now more than ever we need to keep that pressure on. Yes, this has been a long campaign, but we PHOTO: HWA GOH
Denis Napthine must continue if that is what is required. A range of political activities are underway. Many of you are active on social media, writing letters to local papers and forming delegations to MPs. We will ramp that up next term with a round of half-day stopworks across the state. The focus of these will be on political activity in our communities. We need you to let your local Coalition MP know that they will be held accountable for their government’s actions — the $551 million in cuts to public schools; the length of our dispute and the TAFE cuts — and demand that they show their support for their local school staff. We will be asking you to letterbox your neighbourhoods and talk to community members and let them know that two years is too long. Congratulations again on your resolve and commitment so far. We have made progress, but the dispute is not yet over. You deserve a fair and reasonable offer — let’s keep campaigning until we get it. �
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Gonski approaches critical test As state and federal governments head for a key meeting, every voice in support of fair funding will count. Justin Mullaly deputy branch president
FEW weeks ago, David Gonski, chair of the single biggest review into school funding in Australia, described his shock at visiting schools. “When I went out to have a look at so many of the schools, what upset me was [that] not everybody got the same opportunities, and that’s why we embraced very early on in my review the concept that where you’re born, what’s available to you … should not designate what education you’re going to get.” Gonski is right. We need funding reform in our schools. We need taxpayer dollars allocated on the basis of student need not student entitlement. We need the Federal Government to announce the extent to which it supports Gonski financially, not just in principle. We need to reject the half-baked plan of the Victorian Coalition Government and reject the federal Opposition’s failure to give a Gonski at all. Most of all we need to keep campaigning until our schools — public schools — receive the resources that we need to better cater for the learning and welfare needs of all our students.
One of Ted Baillieu’s last acts as Premier was to announce a “thought-bubble” plan to break off talks with the Federal Government on Gonski in favour of his own proposal for school funding. Importantly, on becoming leader, Denis Napthine has softened his predecessor’s stance and said he is prepared to engage in discussions with the Commonwealth about securing the Gonski reforms. However, the school funding policy announced by his predecessor remains in the background. This is a damaging, unworkable proposal, drafted without consultation, that would ditch the Gonski Review’s blueprint for fairer, more transparent and consistent funding for all schools in favour of plan that would entrench the very problems Gonski was established to fix. Our students would see only a quarter of the new investment Gonski recommended — a quarter of the $1.6 billion a year expected to flow to our state once the reforms are phased in. The plan would also divert funding from public to non-government schools through a voucher system for disadvantaged and disabled students, depriving schools of funding certainty and the ability to plan.
We need to ensure the Victorian Government doesn’t short-change our students. AEU members and parents can take a number of actions to put pressure on the State Government to sign up to the full Gonski, not Gonski-lite. State and territory leaders are due to meet the PM in the coming weeks to seek agreement on the implementation of the reforms, so now is a critical time to take action that shows your support for the Gonski reforms and puts pressure on our politicians. In another recent interview, David Gonski made a further comment that bears repeating: funding for education is not an expense, but an investment. It’s time for Australia to invest in its future. �
What you can do • • • • •
Register your support at igiveagonski.com.au and send an email to Premier Napthine demanding that his government signs up to Gonski Use your school newsletter to ask parents to register on the Gonski website Ask your school council rep to put Gonski on the agenda of the next school council meeting Write to your local newspaper saying why our schools need Gonski Call talkback radio to tell them why Victoria needs to sign up to Gonski. Listen to 3AW’s Neil Mitchell or 774 ABC’s Jon Faine to see when they’re taking calls. o 3AW Neil Mitchell: Call 13 13 32 or send a message at www.3aw.com.au/contact-us o 774 ABC Jon Faine: Text Faine on 0437 774 774, call him on 1300 222 774 or send a message at www.abc.net.au/melbourne/contact
You can find leaflets, information sheets and all the resources you need to stand up for Gonski at our campaign website: www.igiveagonski.com.au.
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Secondary newsletter | march 2013
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Taking our MESSAGE to the pollies Growing numbers of member delegations are meeting MPs to pose a direct question: do you support your local schools? Marino D’Ortenzio deputy vice president, secondary
the time taken for this EBA to be concluded has firmed their resolve. This is an opportunity to discuss the impact of funding cuts to vital programs, such as UR campaign has entered its next phase with VCAL and literacy and numeracy support, on schools members taking our message directly to the and students. politicians. Members are encouraged to form delegations Members of the AEU state council have begun of between three and five school staff and to each meeting members of parliament from across the mention the issues that affect them or their students political spectrum. The purpose of these delegations the most. Most forget their nerves once they begin is to voice the impact of government policies on talking about their students. schools and students. We want every MP in the state to receive a The AEU provides members and government with delegation, regardless of their political party. While information about the impact of cuts to the public it may seem more urgent to visit the Coalition MPs, education system as a whole, while the delegations it is also important to deliver our message to Labor give ES, teachers and principals an opportunity to tell and the Greens, as they are currently formulating the their personal stories of dealing with budget cuts. policies they will take to the next election. While the thought of meeting with an MP can be The trick is to finish off the delegation with two daunting, the strength of feeling within schools about requests. Firstly, that the MP does something. This
EBA 2 013
action can be as simple as asking the MP to ask a question in Parliament, or to raise the matter in Caucus or the party room. Secondly, that they send feedback to you on the outcome of their action. If a politician refuses to meet you, or ignores your request, you should wait only a week before writing a letter to your local paper to express your disappointment that your MP does not want to hear from the staff of their local schools. Of course, we’d like to hear about your delegation as well. Please take a photo of your delegation with the MP and then post it on our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/aeuvic or email it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you would like further advice about forming or running a delegation, please contact me on 9417 2822 or 1800 013 379. �
Keep up the PRESSURE
Erin Aulich vice president, secondary
E APPLAUD our members for staying strong and committed throughout this long-running
industrial campaign. We know it hasn’t been easy — but Premier Denis Napthine’s decision to drop performance pay is proof that our determination is paying off. We must keep up the pressure until this dispute is resolved. The existing bans remain in place. For details and FAQs, go to www.aeuvic.asn.au/eba_members. On Fridays, we are emailing all members a Weekly Wrap with updates and info on the ways members and parents are supporting the campaign. Please let us know what your school is doing, so we can share your photos and ideas. If you’re not receiving the wrap, it means we don’t have your email address —
update your details at www.aeuvic.asn.au/update. So far we’ve seen letters from sub-branches and individuals to their local MPs, powerful letters to the editor, and schools enthusiastically embracing “Wear Red Mondays”. Delegations and lobbying continue around the state (see above). Term 2 will see us launching another round of half-day stoppages. We must make this a targeted political action. We will be asking members to participate in campaign activities, such as leafleting and letterboxing in their area on stopwork days. Keep up the good work and let’s make sure Dr Napthine seals the deal! �
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REGION BY REGION
2 YEARS IS TOO LONG! TIME TO SEAL THE DEAL JOIN YOUR REGIONAL STOPWORK RALLY LEAFLETING AND LOBBYING HALF-DAY
Check with your sub-branch rep when your local action is taking place 4
Secondary newsletter | march 2013