Public Education Voice September 2013

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40 Brisbane Ave Barton ACT 2600 • P (02) 6272 7900 • F (02) 6273 1828 •


School Assistants: Page 5

Federal Women’s Conference: Page 16

From the Secretary


Industrial Report


President’s Report


2013 Branch Council Meeting Dates


Sub-Branch News


School Assistants


TAFE Works


A Teacher Librarian in Every School


Are you taking Leave?


Jervis Bay School


Slater & Gordon


New Educator Happenings


Voting Guide Federal Women’s Conference

Remembering Rosemary: Page 24



Domestic Violence


The long history of Public Education in the ACT


Member Profile


Your Branch Office


Remembering Rosemary




Caretaker arrangements brought on by the calling of a federal election have put paid to the possibility of the three “hold-out” states signing up to Gonski until the next parliament. With four states (including the two most populous), one territory (us!) and the Independent and Catholic sectors getting on board, a whopping 78% of the nation’s school children are now covered by Gonski agreements. This is worthy of reflection, and worthy of some serious pats on the back to each and every one of us. In fact, our campaign has been so successful that Tony Abbott has backflipped (to the obvious chagrin of Christopher Pyne) and attempted to convince voters that he is on a “unity ticket” with Labor on the issue of school funding. Don’t be fooled! His plan is the palest of imitations: it promises less than one-third of the additional money; the states don’t have to commit to their share (and, like NT, can actually rip out millions from the children who need it the most); there is no obligation for them to spend the money as Gonski intended, and there is no long-term commitment to keeping the extra resources in schools. If there has ever been a “Conski” (to use a Pyneism), then this is it! Over coming months we will need to ensure that Gonski becomes a part of the schools landscape forevermore, and no one can dismantle it and sell our students short. We are confident that Queensland, NT and WA will find the reforms irresistible soon enough. A complete Voter’s Guide appears further on in this edition. The school autonomy agenda has taken a battering lately. One by one, researchers have lined up to warn us that this policy direction is not going to get us anywhere. Understand that when the AEU refers to school autonomy it primarily refers to the devolution of budgets to the local level. The OECD and Productivity Commission have lost faith in it, a Coalitiondominated Senate Committee has found nothing to recommend it, Ben Jensen of the Grattan Institute has become increasingly cynical about it, and the Melbourne Graduate

School of Education recently advised that it’s absolutely not the answer. In the ACT the trial has been scaled back. This is sensible, especially when one considers the transition to Gonski. Note also that the recent ACT ALP Conference called on the ACT Government to review its autonomy project “with particular regard to student outcomes and school budgets”. Rest assured, the AEU will continue to keep decision-makers accountable on autonomy and to ask at every turn: WHY? Perhaps not unsurprisingly, the Senate Inquiry into the “unintended consequences” of NAPLAN turned out to be a bit of a fizzer. The Inquiry accepted more than 90 written submissions and met in person with a number of interested parties including the AEU. The Committee essentially concluded that it is a matter of importance but that time had run out in this parliament and the Inquiry’s continuation would need to occur in the next parliament. What that means in practicality is yet to be seen. I’m pleased to announce that the AEU ACT Branch has finalised an agreement with State Super Financial Services (SSFS). Jenn Murray will be known to many of you as she has been prominent in the free seminars we have put on for members as part of our training calendar. SSFS has always been 100% owned by the NSW Public Sector Trustee and has provided services for state and federal public sector workers since the

mid-1990s. All profits go back into members’ super. SSFS has particular expertise in defined benefit schemes (CSS and PSS DB) but can help everyone. Our organisers can now refer you very easily to SSFS for free financial planning advice. Just phone 6272 7900. If your financial situation is complex enough to necessitate payment to SSFS, this will be made very clear to you before you proceed. As I write, enterprise bargaining continues for our rapidly growing school assistant membership and for our TAFE teachers. The situation changes frequently, but I can assure you that you are being well served by your union negotiators. This term we have welcomed two members into the AEU office on important project work. Theresa Tonna will be well-known by now as our School Assistants Coordinator. She is doing great work in getting the message out there that the best way workers can help themselves is to join a union. Tom Greenwell is providing real expertise in working with staff and members to enhance our capacity for online communication and campaigning. It’s early days, but it is clear to me that the AEU will soon be at the cutting edge in the online space. These days that is a valuable investment indeed. In unity,


FEDERAL ELECTION, 7 SEPTEMBER! See our AEU Voting Guide on page 12. Gonski funds for our students are at risk: Tony Abbott has committed to less than a third of the new funding for schools. As teachers, we can make a difference by letting our community know what this election means for our schools. Please be part of our presence at key polling booths on 7 September. Contact Glenn (, 62727900) to register your interest.

Public Education Voice • Official Journal of the AEU - ACT Branch • PAGE 1



LOTS OF TORTOISE, NOT MUCH HARE: So far this year, the AEU has been bargaining for teachers at CIT and school assistants at ETD. With the Enterprise Agreements expiring on 30 June 2013, discussions which began mid-February morphed into negotiations when the Bargaining Notices were issued in early June. Much has been done but to date lack of progress on the money claim weighs heavily on the negotiations.


With that work behind us, AEU [and the CPSU] will jointly log ETD with our claim for school assistants. This log has a lot of work to do and a lot of ground to make up. The challenges and changes washing through the teacher space have also been washing through school assistants. The current terms of the school assistants schedule to the ETD CORE Enterprise Agreement is out of date. In addition, the side agreement which accompanies the Enterprise Agreement and goes to issues of school assistant competencies, qualifications, and career progression is similarly challenged.

The logs for CIT teachers have been served by both AEU and CIT on one another and negotiations have been under way for just over a month with rounds being held [usually] weekly. A great deal of fairly significant content is on the table and a report was provided to AEU TAFE Council on Friday 9 August at which the negotiators took soundings on positions to take back to the employer.

The AEU is expecting strong resistance by ETD to changing the comfortable [and one sidedly beneficial] arrangements which have seen school assistants obtain no money recognition for additional skills and qualifications and little prospect of career progression beyond level 2. The AEU objective is to break open the career progression, achieve recognition for skills and qualifications and set up a proper and contemporary wage structure.

The major issues centre on teacher workload and career structure in a challenging environment of the National VET Skills Reform package on one hand and a tall order of Commonwealth funding reductions [the Cwlth Budget Update prior to the announcement of the Federal Election took $242m away] on the other.

To help the AEU at the bargaining table, the Union has recruited a school assistants organiser who is recruiting and mobilising school assistant members. The AEU’s campaign and organiser have been greeted with great and growing enthusiasm by school assistants who are now themselves also making contact with one another, school to school and group to group [library assistants, preschool assistants, and so on].

The evergreen ‘doing more with less’ comes to rest squarely and unambiguously on the shoulders of CIT’s 580 teachers [265 permanents, 80 on contracts & 230 casuals].

School Assistants: Negotiations for approximately1200 school assistants is yet to commence. Priority has been given to the CORE provisions of the enterprise agreements with negotiations proceeding steadily and constructively with a conclusion expected by the end of August.

At present, a small delegation of Union negotiators has been working with the ACT Chief Minister and Treasurer on a breakthrough to the current impasse. The settlement of the money claim has become a threshold issue for the Union parties. The ACT Government and the Unions have agreed on one thing at least: that regardless of when the recommended settlement goes to members for endorsement, the operative date for payment will be 1 July 2013.

End Date: Given the amount of work ahead of the parties in the schedule negotiations [post the completion of negotiations on the CORE provisions], it is not expected that the Enterprise Agreements will be ready for voting by members much before Christmas.

Money: Money is also a big issue at the moment for both CIT teachers and school assistants and it is tied up with the broader negotiations with the ACT Government. The Combined Unions claim is for 16% over the life of a 4 year agreement to which the ACT Government has so far responded with 8% over the same period.

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As I sit down to write this article, I am listening to the news that The Victorian government has finally signed up to the funding reform model, which we have all come to fondly know as ‘Gonski’. Whilst this will be old news by the time we go to print, I would like to extend my congratulations to all of our Victorian colleagues, who have worked so hard to make their local politicians finally see their way clear to common sense. It will be an absolute travesty if every student in Australia does not benefit from the funding reform. (I hope they have by the time you are reading this.....Wake up QLD, NT and WA!) As our Federal election looms closer, I strongly encourage all of our members to completely familiarise themselves with the policies of all political parties and the implications these have for education, specifically public education. Remember what is important to the students we work for and with....and don’t compromise your values and beliefs. Back in the office, the team has been busy working on the Enterprise Agreement for our School Support Officers (SSOs but also known as School Assistants and LSAs) and they are making significant progress. I’d like to formally welcome Therese to her position as Organiser for this group of members, and also welcome all of our new SSO members. Congratulations on the momentum you are building as a membership group. I would ask and indeed encourage all of our teacher and school leader members to demonstrate their support for our hard working, invaluable school assistants. These members are critical in the education and support of many of our students, including preschoolers, students with special needs or learning difficulties and students exhibiting challenging behaviours or disengaging from education. A large percentage of our School Assistants have undertaken significant professional learning and further study in children’s services, early childhood services, and disability education. They are educators, in the every sense of the word. I’m sure you will all join me in standing by them as they fight for better pay and salary structures, better conditions, and equitable career pathways.

The teaching EA will expire in June 2014. This means that we need to work out what it is we want to fight for, between now and the end of 2013. Now is the time for our sub branches to start thinking about and discussing what is important to you for our next Agreement. Is it just about achieving better pay, or are there conditions, ICT, workload or equity issues that you believe we need to be carefully crafted and fought for? As a school principal, I send the same message to all of our principal members with the continued move towards ‘school empowerment’ if you believe that there are parts of our current EA that are inhibiting your vision and plans for your school or your network, please make sure these are clearly identified and articulated during consultation meetings with our AEU officers, including through ACTPA channels. We also need to ensure that the continued devolution of processes and responsibilities towards being school based, is reflected in resource re-allocation, including the principal salary structure, which still remains unresolved, despite the 2012 review. Finally, as a part of our commitment to improving communication between the Union Office and our members, you will have received (and hopefully completed) an electronic survey about the way we share information with you. I thank those of you who have responded, for being part of the solution. Your opinions and ideas have been well received and are being collated at this very moment. As you can appreciate, this is a huge, and important task, and I am pleased we have Tom Greenwell on the job. I hope Dickson College is not missing him too much! Tom’s digital media and communication expertise, along with his strong understanding of the AEU, make him the ideal person for the role. Already, the email notices have been streamlined and revamped, so they are easier to read and links to areas of interest can be accessed directly. There will be many more positive changes to come. Watch this space..... Yours in Education


2013 BRANCH COUNCIL MEETING DATES: Branch Council meets on the following Saturdays in 2012 at J Block Theatre, Reid Campus CIT from 9:00am - 12 noon. Please arrive by 9:00am as a quorum must be present by 9:30am or the meeting lapses. Papers are available from 8:45am. Tea and coffee is also provided but please bring a mug. • 21 September • 26 October • 23 November For the information of new Councillors, Business Papers are forwarded through the Union’s maildrop via Sub-Branch Secretaries at least 1 week prior to the meeting. This is your chance to have your say!


turday a S m 9a ember t p e S 21 eid CIT R

Next Journal Deadline:

21 October 2013 Contributions to the journal can be sent to:

Public Education Voice • Official Journal of the AEU - ACT Branch • PAGE 3


NEWS By Schools Organisers

School - Based Transfer Round Through the school- based transfer process schools may nominate up to 50% of the vacancies to be filled by teachers who have been recruited through the pre service recruitment process. The remaining vacancies will be available for transfer applicants. Priority transfers will be sought for permanent staff that do not have a substantive position to return to for eg. Returning from leave when they have become unattached, staff who have had their end dates confirmed through APD. The transfer round has just been held over weeks 5 and 7 of term 2. This is earlier than in previous years. Positions were advertised through the internal publication, e-mployment, on Thursday of Week 5 with applications due on Monday of Week 7. Members who provide a letter of special consideration to support their application should also provide this letter to an Organiser at the AEU who will provide advice throughout the process if needed. It is anticipated that notifications of placements from this year’s round will be in the final week of term 3. What happens if you do not get a match for a position?

• Teachers who applied for a transfer prior to the end of their agreed placement period (end date) without a successful match will continue in their current agreed placement. • Teachers who must apply for transfer will continue to be considered against further advertised vacancies through applications, preferences and rankings until they are placed. • If not placed they will remain a staff member of their original school until a placement is confirmed. If the staff member is not placed by the end of Term1 of the next school year, a system placement will be used.

Part time arrangements for staff returning from maternity leave, primary caregiver leave or parental leave Many teachers will be considering their position for next year in relation to whether they can return from leave in a part time arrangement. An employee has the right to initiate a proposal for part time work at any stage of their career. All part time arrangements must be negotiated with the principal. The head of service will approve an application by an officer employed


on a full time basis who returns to work after accessing maternity leave, primary caregiver leave or parental leave, to work on a part time basis for a period of up to three years from the birth, adoption of a child or granting of parental responsibility of a foster child. The application will only be approved where the officer agrees, where necessary, to become unattached. The maximum period of time for this sort of part time arrangement is seven years. Staff wishing to access this part time arrangement will be required to negotiate the hours and days with their principal or supervisor. It is recommended that you access the proposal for part time work arrangements form and complete this with your principal prior to the commencement of the part time position. For more information access ETD guidelines “Facilitating part time work arrangements – Guidelines for principals/managers and employees” from index.

Chris Hodgson (Lead Organiser) Sue Amundsen Kate Reynolds Schools Organisers

Leave Entitlement Q & A session. Wednesday 4 September, 4.15 - 5.15pm, HBCTL MR 11

Maternity and return to work after having a baby – Information session. Thursday 29 August, 4 – 5pm, HBCTL Mezzanine & Thursday 7 November 4 – 5pm Are you having or have you had a baby? Are you just thinking about it and want more information on what your leave entitlements will be? Have your questions answered at this session.

Have a question about Long Service Leave? Not sure whether you are able to access leave without pay? Travelling interstate to represent ACT in a sporting event? Have all of your questions answered!

New Educators NEED TO KNOW Thursday 14 November, 4.15 – 5.15pm, HBCTL. An opportunity to have your questions answered, and to ensure you understand what support and processes you are entitled to as a new educator.

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It’s bargaining time for school assistants The Australian Education Union (AEU) is currently negotiating the enterprise agreement for school assistants. The Education and Training Directorate plans to include them in the same enterprise agreement as clerical staff from the whole of ACT Government. Teachers know that school assistants do more than just clerical work. By being placed in the ACT wide clerical enterprise agreement ETD is ignoring the valuable contribution school assistants make to the education of students. Our school assistants need your help to raise the profile of their role and to have their essential role recognised.

How can teachers help? School assistants are asking all principals, business managers and teachers to get

behind and support them to achieve the best outcomes for their enterprise agreement. You can support your school assistants by understanding and acknowledging the important role they play in the education system, encouraging them to become unionised, creating awareness of the issues and the campaign, being inclusive by inviting school assistant representatives to attend your sub branch meeting, and by getting behind them if they need to take action to improve their current conditions.

The Myth – Can the AEU cover school assistants? Yes we can! There has been misinformation floating around suggesting the AEU does not cover school assistants. This is not true. Being the education union the AEU covers a range of school staff including principals, teachers and school assistants. The only school staff the AEU is unable to cover are

business managers, front office staff (if they don’t work in the classroom or with students) and building service officers. Lab Assistants, Special Education Assistants, Library Assistants, Pre School Assistants, Youth Workers, Classroom Support Assistants and Indigenous liaison officers are all welcome and encouraged to join the AEU. Improving ALL school assistants’ conditions in their enterprise agreement will only be achieved if school assistants become a part of their union! United we stand strong. School Assistants at your

school? Ask them to join the AEU. Call Theresa on 6272 7900 for more details.

AEU School Assistant members, Kim Mesman, Tabitha Cole and Theresa Pope attend training with School Assistant Co-Ordinator Theresa Tonna.

Public Education Voice • Official Journal of the AEU - ACT Branch • PAGE 5

by mike fitzgerald

National TAFE Day TAFE members celebrated the inaugural National TAFE Day on 3rd June 2013 with a well attended gathering of CIT staff, students and dignitaries at the Bruce campus of CIT. The event included a cake cutting ceremony (the cake being exquisitely prepared by CIT Tourism and Hotel Management staff), a sausage sizzle ably hosted by CITSA staff and live music. AEU Secretary, Glenn Fowler, adeptly compared the event which was formally opened by Minister for Education and Training, Joy Burch. Other dignitaries including the shadow Minister; Steve Doszpot, acting CIT CEO; Jenny Dodd and Greens MLA; Shane Rattenbury all espoused the multiple achievements, past and present, and significant contributions made by TAFE to the ACT and regional community.

CIT Enterprise Agreement Bargaining CIT Enterprise Agreement bargaining process commenced in June following an exchange of log of claims between the parties. At the time of writing the parties are negotiating a 4 year agreement and have outlined the substance of the claims. CIT’s log is being considered by TAFE Council who will instruct the negotiating team of Chris Hodgson (AEU Lead Organiser), Garrett Purtill AEU

Industrial Officer), Graeme Lawson (TAFE Vice President) and Mike Fitzgerald (AEU TAFE Organiser). Please ensure that your member voice is heard at TAFE Council by engaging in Sub Branch meetings to discuss the log of claims.CIT has agreed to implement a teacher workload review group which aims to implement sustainable teacher workloads across the Institute. However, amongst a range of claims from CIT is a proposal that teachers accept a teaching load increase of 10% for a 1% pay increase. This claim stirred the membership to action. The accompanying “Donkey” poster, generated by Moir and Gavin Holmes, summarises member perception of the suggestion and was very well received by members. Many members have workshopped the poster and have added workload items to the donkey and the cart on the poster. The AEU will offer a modest prize to the work-team which generates the most creative and comprehensive ‘donkey poster’. Please send any entries to Mike Fitzgerald at The AEU seeks member support to recruit non members at this critical point in negotiations of CIT teacher pay and conditions. Please contact Mike Fitzgerald for discussion or assistance in recruiting your colleagues. Remember UNITED WE BARGAIN, DIVIDED WE BEG.

CIT funding dilemma The ACT government implementation of the National Partnerships programs has set the stage for significant training program funding changes. The ACT government is currently negotiating a narrow range of training programs in which student fees will be subsidised. The AEU understands that this list represents approx 17% of the suite of current programs offered by CIT in 2013. The remaining programs will likely attract full fees in future or, in the worst case, cease to be offered by CIT. ACT resident and father of CIT students; Bill Dudley identified in the national press that the fees his children paid for the CIT graphic design advanced diploma increased 20 fold over the period 2008 to 2013 and are currently $24,700 which represents 14 times fee costs of NSW TAFE and 1.5 times fee costs for the graphic design degree program at the University of Canberra. Graphic design is one of the 500 + CIT programs not listed in the draft Skills Needs for the ACT. What will be the fate of the remaining programs that are likewise not listed on the draft Skills Needs for the ACT?

CIT Restructure Some 10 CIT teaching Centres have been subsumed into 4 colleges with a final implemented timetable of late September 2013. Meanwhile, education managers and teachers are doing their best to acclimatise to the new regimes whilst they also deal with increased funding pressures and ASQA compliance requirements across CIT. The AEU has sought enhancement of the CIT consultation processes to ensure that teachers’ views and workload concerns are represented in senior decision making processes. It is hoped that teacher workloads will

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TAFE VP By Graeme lawson

be ameliorated through the Workload Review Group recommendations. Meanwhile, the AEU advocates that members utilise either an agreed Working Contribution agreement document or, in the absence of a timely agreed form, the AEU’s Workload Agreement form to establish in writing agreed workload and attendance parameters.

CIT Workplace Culture Issues

The CIT and office of the Commissioner for Public Administration (CPA) continue to investigate multiple member complaints of bullying and harassment, some of which arose in 2013 while others date back for many years. Many aggrieved members who submitted complaints to the CPA between mid 2012 and early 2013 remain unaware of the progress of the investigations. A CIT staff missive of June 2013 identified the general fate of investigations but complainants remain ignorant of the status of their individual investigations or their outcomes. Likewise, the AEU has remained uninformed of the progress of member complaints by either agency and has consequently sought a briefing from the CPA on the status of and expected timelines for finalisation of the many outstanding complaint investigations. In an effort to assist CIT to amend the workplace culture the AEU remains committed to increased cooperation with CIT by encouraging the Institute to establish workplace consultative committees (WCCs) and improved consultation by engaging AEU representation on industrial relations and professional committees advising on the CIT restructure, and on any subsequent professional, financial and industrial decision making bodies.

As recently elected VP TAFE I come to the position as a member of the AEU for 39 years. I have held the position of Sub Branch President and Councillor of several schools and colleges. Now at CIT I am heartened by the quality of vocational training provided by experienced and dedicated teachers. However an appreciation of this is I believe not easily identifiable. Educators should receive respect on three levels; peer, supervisor and financial. At the time of writing of this article it is disappointing to see that such respect appears to be lacking.

An offer below CPI (2%) and a request for a 10% increase in workload (72 hours per year) for a 1% increase in remuneration, does not recognise the skill set that CIT teachers bring to the organisation nor does it truly recompense the teachers for their efforts. Whilst I realise that costs have to be covered by income it is necessary to adhere to the principles of respect that I previously mentioned. It is hoped that negotiations will take on a more realistic approach and resolution of the EBA is prompt and will not need to entail any industrial action.

Our current CIT campaign poster. Please encourage all CIT teachers to join their union and become involved in improving their working conditions.

Public Education Voice • Official Journal of the AEU - ACT Branch • PAGE 7


When I was in primary school one of my favourite places to be was the school library. It was old, full of books and smelt a little musty, but to me it held a sense of wonder and was a place to get lost in. There lived one of my favourite teachers; one of the teachers (other than my own) at school that I felt really knew me, the teacher librarian. The library was where I went each morning to say hello, browse the shelves, ask if I could be library monitor and chat about all things books. To me my teacher librarian was special because she knew all the books I had read or was reading, she knew which books had just arrived or were coming in, she spoke to me about different authors and she would always say, “Sascha, have you finished reading _______(insert exact title of the book I was reading), have you reached the bit where ___________(insert some important part of

the story, because she always seemed to know what happened in every book I ever read)”. She would discuss interesting parts of the book, extend my thoughts and questions and if I had finished the book she would say, “I’ve got just the book for you to read next!” She would lead me to a shelf and reach directly for a book and pull it out, telling me all about the author and why she thought I would enjoy this particular story. I was amazed at how she had a knack for putting her hands on the perfect book for me. Our teacher librarian at my primary school was always right! Every book she gave me, I loved. I was certain she had read every single book in that library. Of course my teachers knew about books, but my teacher librarian was special. She was THE book expert. She knew all the

authors, all the books, which books had won awards, which books had special ‘messages’ for the children reading them, and she always seemed to time everything perfectly. I often think how amazing she must have been to add that individualised ‘book advice’ to so many children. It wasn’t just me she was having those conversations with as the library was always a buzz with kids.

At the last school I taught here in the ACT, we had an amazing teacher librarian. I was a busy teacher teaching kindergarten for the first time and loving every minute of it. Grappling with new concepts, the introduction of the Australian curriculum, and just the normal confusion of starting in a new school, my

Mary Langdon, Teacher Librarian at Macgregor Primary School, shares her love of books with students.

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head was spinning. I love books and always ensured that my class and children were tuned into reading, but it was a priceless joy to see my students faces shining as they skipped back from the library with their own special book that their very own treasured teacher librarian had helped them choose and borrow. Squeals of “I can take it home Ms Colley!” left me with a daylong smile. I was grateful to know that the teacher librarian was adding to their school experience and spending that time with them providing each student with that extra individual guidance and helping them grow their love for literature. As a teacher in a busy school, I couldn’t have done it without my teacher librarian. It worries me now that more and more children in schools are having to go without a dedicated teacher librarian to guide them and help foster their lifelong love of books.

Teachers will always aim for that, but I know as a teacher I certainly never knew every single book that arrived in our library and was waiting to be read. I definitely was unable to keep up with the numerous new authors that might appeal to the different personalities in my class. I relied on my teacher librarian to know those things; my reading time was consumed with all things early childhood and the new curriculum that year. I hope that sooner rather than later the ACT Government comes to understand that very important role a teacher librarian at school plays. I hope that principals planning their school staffing understand that the children in their government schools need a teacher librarian to support their journey into reading whether they are in primary school, high school or college. I hope that the ACT Education and Training Directorate makes it mandatory that every child in every school

has access to a dual qualified teacher librarian. Targeted scholarships for teachers to gain qualifications in librarianship have been offered by ETD for a number of years now, so ETD obviously recognises this as an identified area of need. So why the decline of dedicated teacher librarians in our schools? Does your school have one? The AEU recently supported our AEU Teacher Librarian members to survey school staff and gather their views on the role of the teacher librarians in schools. The data collected from this survey will be used to lobby our government to guarantee dual qualified teacher librarians in each school. Maybe it’s our students we should be surveying, past and present, to gain a true sense of what each child loses if their school does not have a dedicated teacher librarian.

SCHEDULED ELECTION FOR FEDERAL AEU DELEGATES The Australian Electoral Commission [AEC] will shortly be calling for nominations for the following positions: General Division: • Federal Conference Delegates representing the General Division [2] [at least 1 office to be filled by a female member, unless there are insufficient female candidates] • National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education Committee [General Division] Member [candidates and nominators for this office must be Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander members]

• National Principal Committee [General Division] Member [The nominee and nominators for this office must be Principal members] • National Early Childhood Committee [General Division] Member [The nominee and nominators for this office must be from financial members allocated to the Early Years Learning Sub-Branch] TAFE Division: • National TAFE Council Executive Member • National TAFE Council Delegate [at least 1 of these 2 office to be filled by

a female member, unless there are insufficient female candidates] • National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education Committee [TAFE Division] Member [candidates and nominators for this office must be Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander members] Nominations will open on Tuesday 20 August 2013 and close at 12 noon on Tuesday 10 September 20913. Nomination forms and Notices will be distributed to workplaces and will also be available on the Union’s website and the AEC website from 20 August 2013.

Public Education Voice • Official Journal of the AEU - ACT Branch • PAGE 9


SCHOOL By sue amundsen

A visit to Jervis Bay school is always welcome by Organisers at the AEU. Apart from the fact that it is in one of the most scenically beautiful parts of Australia, Jervis Bay is an interesting school. At the centre of the Jervis Bay School’s philosophy is the belief that every student can learn, and that we show respect for the worth and dignity of each individual student.

group of approximately 12 grazing kangaroos from the oval. Although this appears to be an enriching experience the kangaroos have created a number of issues for the school. The droppings are of concern for health reasons and have to be removed each day and the kangaroos at times have been aggressive towards students.

Jervis Bay School, situated on the HMAS Creswell Navy Base site, provides a learning environment for 70 students of which most come from the Wreck Bay Community situated close by in the Booderee National Park. There are 12 teachers and 6 SLA’s employed at the school. Staff at Jervis Bay report their workload is manageable, and said that this was one of the positives that comes with working in Jervis Bay School. Low teacher student ratios of about 8 students in each class, provides the opportunity for intensive learning and individual programs for the students.

The school has a wide range of programs that assist them to build on and maintain connections with their local community. One of these programs is the Junior Rangers Program which enables the students to make connections with their local Indigenous culture and their local environment. Activities in the program have included planting bush tucker gardens, working in the Botanical Gardens, identifying bush foods and medicines, tracking animals, marine studies and the identification of weeds and the damage they do. These activities provide experiences that are relevant to the students and provide significant reason for attaining successful educational outcomes – possibly in park management, biodiversity and horticulture.

While at Jervis Bay School, I visited the preschool, which has recently changed over to 15 hours for a number of students. There are 15 students enrolled in the preschool program, which includes mostly four year olds and some 3 year olds, enrolled on an individual basis. Later in the day all of the primary students were engaged in Friday afternoon sport. Firstly to do so, teachers needed to move a large

During my visit I met two students from Vincentia High School, Skye Sturgeon and Kanika McLeod. These students are involved in the School Based Aboriginal Traineeship program which has enabled them to gain work

experience in areas such as the Australian Federal Police, with the park Rangers and in the local schools. Skye and Kanika will spend time in Jervis Bay School during year 10, 11 and 12 and during this time are engaged in activities that include reading with students, sport, assisting in the library and with administration tasks. They were enjoying their time and involvement with the school and may eventually become some of the future Jervis Bay staff. There are always drawbacks to being physically separated from Canberra. One of these is accessibility to professional development. As we can all appreciate, most of the PD is held after school at HBCTL or in local Canberra schools. Due to the distance involved in attending a course staff are limited to full day courses or longer in order to make the trip worthwhile. Most of the school staff live in the surrounding local area, Vincentia or Huskisson. It takes about 15 to 20 minutes to drive in each day from these town centres through the National Park. Although there is a considerable distance from Canberra there are NSW centres close by, including the large centre of Nowra which provides access to needed facilities, beaches and the relaxed life style of the coastal areas that most Canberrans only experience during their holidays.

Jervis Bay School students at play.

PAGE 10 • Official Journal of the AEU - ACT Branch • Public Education Voice


Federal Parliament has risen for the last time before the election and, while the Government passed an impressive amount of legislation, not all issues have been resolved. The review of the Federal workers’ compensation scheme (commonly referred to as Comcare) by Peter Hanks SC and Allan Hawkes AO is an example. As you will be aware, Comcare covers Federal public servants and a number of other workers in place of the various state-based WorkCover schemes. It was hoped by many that the review would lead to an improved and modernised Comcare system. A modernised Comcare is in the best interest of everyone, particularly the workers who are covered by the scheme. Much work was put into the review by a variety of stakeholders – including Trade Unions - and many of the recommendations it produced had merit, including the introduction of defined timeframes for decision making. Of the many recommendations made, 21 were identified by the Minister to be priorities and of particular interest is the priority recommendation that the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act be amended so that the reasonable administrative action exclusion in s5A(1) operates only where the reasonable administrative action taken in a reasonable manner in respect of the employee’s employment has contributed, to a significant degree, to the disease, injury or aggravation. An emphasis on the prevention of workplace injuries, rather than on compensation and cure was also canvassed in media commentary around the review and, if this could be achieved, it would be a significant win for all involved.

For these reasons an improved Comcare scheme should be a bi-partisan issue and it is hoped that whichever party forms the next Government will consider the considerable work already done. Not all recommendations to come out of the review were positive and not all should be implemented. In particular a recommendation that would allow companies to change jurisdictions from the state-based WorkCover schemes to Comcare was worrying. The criteria to allow that change, as set out in the recommendations, was that a company show it is a ‘national employer’. Worryingly, no definition of ‘national employer’ was provided by the review, leaving open the possibility the term would apply to employers who simply had employees in more than one state or territory.

entering the Comcare scheme be lifted. This moratorium was put in place in December 2007 in response to Union concerns about inferior rights for injured workers and the lack of Occupation Health and Safety protection under Comcare. In particular, injured workers under the Comcare scheme are unable to sue their employer for general damages and damages for non-economic loss is capped at $110,000. Many Unions and Slater & Gordon wrote to the Government and expressed concerns about these issues. While not all of the recommendations should be implemented, many of them are worthwhile and would improve the scheme. This work should not be wasted.

Contact Alexandra Persley 0428 994 937

Related to this, is a recommendation that the moratorium on new companies


Public Education Voice • Official Journal of the Australian Education Union • PAGE 11

NEW STAFF Our new School Assistant Co-ordinator and Digital Media Project Officer introduce themselves

School Assistant Co-ordinator – Therese Tonna My name is Therese and I am the School Assistant Coordinator. This is a brand new position and I am very excited about being an advocate for School Assistants and working closely with them to help facilitate good outcomes in the new EA. Born and bred in Canberra, I grew up in Ainslie. I went to Ainslie Primary School and Campbell High School. I have been married for 22 years and have two teenage boys aged 15 and 17. I began my career as a School Assistant when my boys were at school and I spent the majority of my time in the classroom. As my family grew older my career as a School Assistant evolved to where I am now – my dream job working for our union and representing you! I have been a Learning Support Assistant since 2004 and have worked in many different positions. I started as a casual school assistant at Duffy Primary school where I also worked as the library assistant and spent some time in the front office. On Saturdays I also worked as a Support Worker for a Social and Friendship Group for children with autism. I then gained a contract at Village Creek Primary School working in the Junior Learning Support Class and when this school closed I moved with that

class to Wanniassa Hills Primary School. I became permanent in this position in 2007. In January 2011 I moved on to Namadgi School and worked in various areas before settling in the Learning Support Unit. In 2012 I became the Executive Assistant to the Principals and often acted in the Business Manager’s role until recently joining the AEU Office. I am grateful for the opportunities I have had to work in many different School Assistant roles as these support me in my new role as AEU School Assistant Co-ordinator. I hope to be meeting many of you on my visits to schools to discuss what is important to you and explain the current Enterprise Agreement negotiations. If you would like me to visit your school or you have any questions or ideas that should be considered for School Assistants, please do not hesitate to contact me on 62727900.

Tom Greenwell – Digital Media Project Officer I come into the role of Digital Media Project Officer in our union office this semester from a position at Dickson College, teaching History and English. While I’m missing my wonderful colleagues and students at Dickson, I’m very excited about the potential of digital media

to strengthen our union. I have become increasingly involved in our union over the last few years, particularly around our campaigns for better schools funding. Our work to ensure every child receives a well-resourced education makes me extremely proud to be a member of the AEU. First as a sub-branch president and then as a member of Executive, I have seen more and more of the great work we do as a union. I still think Branch Councils are pretty remarkable! On a Saturday morning, representatives from schools all across the ACT volunteer their time not only to pursue better wages and conditions for all members but also better schools for our whole community. So finding myself in the union office feels like a natural progression. In my role as Digital Media Project Officer, I’m drawing on my knowledge gained as a research student and teacher at UC in Communications over the last couple of years. I’m also drawing on my experience as a volunteer with organisations like GetUp at the forefront of online activism. Above all, though, I’ll be drawing on the knowledge and insights of our membership. I look forward to talking with as many members as possible. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch (62727900 or if you’d like to discuss the digital media project.

Theresa and Tom getting the job done.

PAGE 12 • Official Journal of the AEU - ACT Branch • Public Education Voice


HAPPENINGS BY KATE REYNOLDS New Educator Contract/ Probation Reports and Teacher Quality Institute Registration There has been some confusion this year between contract/probation reports and the Teacher Quality Institute (TQI) full registration process. These are two separate processes. The TQI full registration process can be considered as supportive professional development which allows a new educator to engage with the National Professional Standards and gather evidence to document how they are doing this. This happens over the period of a year or 180 teaching days. Following the 180 teaching days the panel process provides each teacher with the opportunity to display their growth and development over the year and provide evidence aligned with the National Professional Standards.

The contract and probation reports, although still set with the National Professional Standards, are assessment based on a teacher’s growth on a term by term basis. Contract and probation reports require the collaboration of each teachers mentor, supervisor and principal (or principal’s delegate) and should involve observations of the teacher teaching. From these observations teachers should be provided with constructive feedback. If observation and feedback sessions are held effectively beginning teachers should not be shocked or surprised by what they see in their contract report. They will have engaged in meaningful professional conversations with their mentors and supervisors and understand clearly what will be included. Constructive feedback, based on evidence and observation will enable each teacher to identify areas for

improvement and also the areas they are doing well in. It is important for new educators to be reflective and to use the feedback they are provided with to continue to improve their practice. If you are not receiving regular feedback after lesson observations, make sure to follow this up with your principal or supervisor. It is important to demonstrate your continual improvement and to have this noted in your reports as these reports are used as part of the recruitment process when applying for permanency. Both processes should be supportive and provide teachers with constructive feedback to improve their professional practices.


One of the many benefits of being an AEU member includes the opportunity to attend events and special conferences throughout the year.

Federation (23-33 Mary St, Surry Hills) on 9 & 10 November, 2013. The Conference provides an opportunity to engage rank and file new educator members in both professional issues and discussions around union matters. It also helps to ensure the union successfully responds to the views and experiences of our new educator membership. All accommodation and travel will be funded by the AEU and our sponsors Teacher’s Health.

The 2013 AEU New Educators Conference will be hosted by the NSW Teachers

This is an opportunity for new educators to have your voices heard, address

Calling for Expressions of Interest

issues of importance, and to engage in a variety of relevant professional learning and workshops to support your career development. If you are interested in attending please forward an expression of interest (approx. 150 – 200 words) outlining why you would like to attend this conference and how this will support your union engagement to or call 62727900 for more details. Expressions of interest are due by C.O.B Friday 27 September.

Public Education Voice • Official Journal of the AEU - ACT Branch • PAGE 13


Australian Education Union

VOTING GUIDE Gonski Full implementation is a must.

Gonski Tony Abbott said last year public schools are not being shortchanged, and if any schools are being unjustly treated it is private schools. His last-minute Gonski backflip provides less than a third of the money. ACT money could disappear after 4 years if Coalition tears up the agreement.

= Bad policy: Must be opposed

National Testing

School Autonomy

Serious concerns about the high stakes nature of the tests and what this can do to student well-being, and to teaching and learning.

Our schools already have considerable autonomy, and devolving school budgets to the local level is not the answer. Evidence shows that there is no improvement in student outcomes.

National Testing

School Autonomy

Have said NAPLAN tests will be held for every year group from Year 3 to Year 10. This would make Australian children the most tested children on Earth.

Principal autonomy is a key plank of the Coalition’s agenda. They will encourage public schools to be “independent schools” and want to “put parents from local communities in charge of public schools”. They say they will instil a “students come first” culture amongst staff. Insulted?

= Serious rethinking required

Bonus Pay


State/Territory governments should negotiate salary classifications above the top classroom teacher pay rate for those who demonstrate outstanding practice. One-off cash bonuses are crude and divisive.

TAFE must be supported as the only guarantee of high quality vocational education and training. It does much more than what is cheap, easy and profitable, and it is a key driver of national prosperity.

Bonus Pay


The Coalition went to the 2010 election with a proposal to give bonuses to teachers who had been recommended to a committee by principals. They have not confirmed whether or not this remains policy.

No announcement. Liberal State Premiers have drastically cut TAFE budgets in Victoria, Queensland and New South Wales, and this has received no condemnation from the Federal Coalition.

= Good for students, AEU members and public education

PAGE 14 • Official Journal of the AEU - ACT Branch • Public Education Voice



This election, make education a HOT TOPIC!

Gonski Ongoing commitment to the full Gonski money. Each ACT school will receive on average more than one million dollars in additional money over the 6 year transition period.

Gonski Ongoing commitment to the full Gonski money, plus $2 billion extra for public schools over the next 4 years.

National Testing

School Autonomy

Intend to change from sample testing in Science to annual Science tests as part of NAPLAN. This means more high stakes tests for students.

“Empowering local schools” remains part of Labor’s agenda and is part of the National Education Reform Agreement. There is no mention in Labor policy of an appetite for “independent public schools”.

National Testing

School Autonomy

Initiated a Senate Inquiry into the unintended consequences of NAPLAN.

The Greens say school autonomy is not a magic bullet to address pressures on public schools. The Greens are not interested in “importing top-down failed approaches of other countries or risking a divideand-conquer mentality within our public education system”.

Bonus Pay


The cash bonuses mentioned in the “Rewards for Great Teachers” program have thankfully disappeared under the weight of the Gonski reforms. Cash bonuses seem to be off the agenda.

No announcement. Under six years of Federal Labor, little genuine support or protection has been provided to TAFE so that it can retain its unique and vital place on the vocational landscape.

Bonus Pay


The Greens do not support crude cash bonuses for teachers.

$1.2 billion “rescue package” for TAFE. A call to overhaul the VET funding system to guarantee secure funding for a strong and vibrant public TAFE system.

Authorised by Glenn Fowler, Secretary, Australian Education Union, ACT Branch, 40 Brisbane Ave, Barton.

Public Education Voice • Official Journal of the Australian Education Union • PAGE 15



The AEU Federal Women’s Conference was held on June 15 & 16 in Melbourne and was attended by AEU ACT Branch delegates, Suki Dorras-Walker (Campbell High School), Samantha Thornton (Hughes Primary School), Sue Amundsen (AEU Organiser) and Sascha Colley (AEU Women’s Officer). The conference “Changing the world, one campaign at a time… the woman effect”, focused on current union campaigns and how women can be activists in their daily lives. Dr Anne Summers AO was the keynote speaker for this conference. Having recently published her book “The Misogyny Factor”, Anne spoke about how the misogyny factor has excluded women from full and equal participation in Australian economic and public life. In particular she examined the constant sexist critique that then Prime Minister Julia Gillard received throughout her period in office.

I made connections with teachers from all around Australia and from all areas of the public education system: teachers who worked in primary, secondary, TAFE, and one teacher who had been working in jails for over seventeen years. There were so many inspiring stories from these women, about how their schools worked and how Gonski would benefit the children at their schools. All weekend I was surrounded by teachers who were passionate about equity in education and strongly believed that kids’ circumstances should not affect their education. I came away with a sense of hope and excitement about the changes ahead.

ACT branch delegates share with us their reflections on this year’s Conference:

The title of this year’s conference ‘Changing the World, One Campaign at a Time... The Woman Effect’ fit on a number of levels. Firstly, my experiences over the weekend were unforgettable. As teachers, in today’s political climate, we find the work life balancing act difficult. When new opportunities arrive we list why we are far too busy. I urge every AEU member to think seriously about applying. More importantly, the woman effect was what inspired me most. Spending the weekend at work or play with creative, passionate and energetic women was recharging. I also met a larger network of quality educators that energise me on Twitter.

Suki Dorras-Walker writes: In her opening speech, the AEU Federal Secretary Susan Hopgood commented that the timing of the AEU Federal Women’s Conference could not have been better. Newspapers and social media were swamped with discussions about women in power, misogyny and education funding. This set the tone for a very engaging weekend of discussions about women and education. Attending the Federal Women’s Conference was a great opportunity for me as a first year teacher. I met incredible women from all over Australia who were passionate about teaching and campaigning for a better education for all Australian students. Not only did I gain a greater understanding of Gonski and what it meant for teachers around Australia, I also learnt how to Tweet about it. This was my favourite workshop, where teachers shared their experiences of Twitter and discussed how to use social media to campaign for change.

I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to attend this conference and I hope to attend many more in the future! Samantha Thornton writes:

The highlight of the weekend was when Nadia Bettio, Principal of Delecombe Primary spoke. She unearthed some of what Gonski funding could mean for schools and our most disadvantaged students. She uses National Partnership Funding (disappearing) to ensure that each child in her school is taught at point of need every single day. Teachers and students no longer had accidental teaching because of time constraints. She couldn’t make this change without providing support from funding that built teacher capacity

and engaged parents. She Provided TIME to teachers through small class sizes and increased release from face to face teaching. Time was used to meet individual needs. What changes would Gonski funding support in your school? It was amazing to hear how political campaigns effect schools around the country or have the capacity to. Thank you AEU for this opportunity. Sue Amundsen writes: The conference provided an excellent source of information from a variety of speakers. There was a heavy focus on women’s issues and one that continually came to the fore was the impact of the media representation of Julia Gillard. Anne Summers spoke of Gillard being under siege like no other Prime Minister and that it has been 40 years since legislation was introduced, with regards to discrimination against women, but still there is entrenched resistance against equality. There was also considerable focus at the conference on the GONSKI review into school funding of which Julia Gillard was instrumental in heading firstly as the Minister for Education and then as Prime Minister. Nicole Major, the AEU Federal Aboriginal Education Officer, provided us with some interesting facts to support the need for the GONSKI reforms for Indigenous students across Australia. She stated that 36% of Indigenous people are under 15 years of age and the reforms are crucial to support the ongoing needs of the Indigenous communities and to ensure that these children have equal opportunities to education. As Nicole stated, ‘people should not have to worry about where they live in order to receive a good education’. There was much to take away from this excellent conference which concluded with these guiding principles: Define what truly matters, be authentic, recognise our values maybe different to others, act with integrity, honesty and humility, practise compassion, show gratitude and engage in acts of kindness.

PAGE 16 • Official Journal of the AEU - ACT Branch • Public Education Voice

Suki Dorras-Walker, Sascha Colley, Samantha Thornton and Sue Amundsen.

2013 ARTHUR HAMILTON AWARD NOMINATE A COLLEAGUE NOW! Do you know someone who demonstrates a commitment to quality education for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students?

and social justice, cross-cultural awareness, recognition of Indigenous peoples and the elimination of racism within the Australian Education Union and in schools.

Then nominate them for the 2013 Arthur Hamilton Award for Outstanding Contribution to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education.

The award will be presented to an educator or group of educators who demonstrate a commitment to the provision of high quality education to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students.

This award is named in honour of Arthur Hamilton, a proud Palawa man, educator and union activist and is in recognition of the contribution that Arthur made to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander education, both in Tasmania and nationally. Arthur passed away in 2004 leaving behind a legacy of a strong consciousness for equity

Nominations Nominations forms can be obtained from Sue Lowndes at the AEU by phoning (03) 9693 1800, faxing (03) 9693 1805, or emailing or can be downloaded from Atsi/2013AHnomform.pdf

The closing date for nominations is Friday, 8 November 2013. The winner will receive a $1000 prize and will be flown to Melbourne to accept the Award at the Annual Federal Conference of the AEU in February 2014. All nominees will receive a certificate from the AEU. Further Information If you would like to know more, please contact Nicole Major, Federal Aboriginal Education Officer, or visit

Public Education Voice • Official Journal of the AEU - ACT Branch • PAGE 17


(from the Centre for Gender-Related Violence Studies at UNSW, with the Tips and Don’ts developed by the SDA). Domestic Violence is something we often don’t talk about at work. In 2011 union members were surveyed across Australia to find out about their experience of domestic violence and how these experiences may affect individuals in their workplace. 3611 employees responded to the survey with 81% of the respondents being female. Nearly one third of the people surveyed had personally experienced domestic violence. Of the surveyed union workers: • Nearly half said that domestic violence affected their capacity to get to work (e.g. due to physical injury or restraint). • 1 in 10 had to take time off work because of the violence (e.g. due to health and medical reasons, for accommodation purposes or for appointments with police officers or lawyers). • 1 in 5 people who experienced domestic violence in the previous 12 months said that the violence continued at their workplace (e.g they received abusive phone calls, text messages or emails; or the abusive person physically turned up at the workplace or contacted co-workers or the employer about them). • The main reported impact of the violence in the workplace was on performance (e.g. due to feeling distracted, tired or unwell, needing to take time off or being late for work). • All respondents agreed that domestic violence can impact on the work lives of employees (100%) and a high percentage (78%) believed that workplace entitlements

could reduce the impact of domestic violence in the workplace. When you consider this data you realise that across our Education and Training Directorate there is a high probability that staff in our schools could be experiencing or may have experienced domestic violence. Our current Enterprise Agreement does not include any specific clauses to support staff in these circumstances. This needs to change! The Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) has endorsed seven key principles to be used by unions in the negotiation of future enterprise agreements to ensure these include domestic and family violence clauses aimed to support workers who experience domestic violence. These are: 1. Dedicated additional paid leave for employees experiencing family or domestic violence. 2. Confidentiality of employee details must be assured and respected. 3. Workplace safety planning strategies to ensure protection of employees should be developed and clearly understood by the parties concerned. 4. The agreement should provide for referral of employees to appropriate domestic violence support services. 5. Provision of training and paid time off work for agreed roles for nominated contact persons (including union delegates or health and safety representatives if necessary). 6. Employees entitled to family and domestic violence leave should also be able to access flexible work arrangements where appropriate.

7. E mployees must be protected against adverse action or discrimination on the basis of their disclosure of, experience of, or perceived experience of family and domestic violence. These principles have been included in our current school assistant’s log of claims and will guide our negotiations of our next teachers enterprise agreement in 2014. The AEU believes this is a minimal entitlement for the protection of all staff who experience any form of domestic violence. Domestic violence is a workplace issue. Unions can play a role in assisting victims to maintain paid employment, support them through the process of escaping violence and in promoting safe and secure workplaces. As an AEU delegate in your school here are a few ‘Do’s and Don’ts to assist you in supporting colleagues who are experiencing domestic violence.

Do’s •D o inform staff. So they understand how domestic violence can impact work and they can feel safe enough to disclose if they need protection and support from their workplace and union. •D o be sensitive. Approach your discussion with the same sensitivity and confidentiality you would use with any sensitive workplace issue. •D o assure the member that you will respect their privacy and keep the matter confidential. Discussing it only with those who need to know. •D o assure them they are not to blame. The only person responsible is the abusive person. Be aware that some victims may feel that they have to manage the abusive person or may

PAGE 18 • Official Journal of the AEU - ACT Branch • Public Education Voice

IS A WORKPLACE ISSUE •D on’t make this a conversation in the staff room.

feel embarrassed that their relationship has become violent. • Do ask what impact domestic violence is having on their work life. Your concern is with the impact domestic violence is having on your member’s ability to attend work without interference, for them and their colleagues to be safe in the workplace, and to have the necessary time to attend to their personal and family responsibilities under the circumstances. • Do encourage them to keep a diary in relation to any domestic violence incidents and the impact on work such as attendance or abusive phone calls. • Do ask what they would like you to do. Do they want you to advocate on their behalf, a co-worker to accompany them to court or need to be walked to their car? Ensure they have control over the next steps. • Do discuss a safety plan. Ask them what they need to ensure that they and their colleagues are safe at work. Go through the possible actions listed in the safety plan.

Don’ts • Don’t look for warning signs or indicators. Be aware that many workers experiencing domestic violence at home will not experience it at work and may not wish to disclose. • Don’t jump to conclusions and infringe on their right to privacy. • Don’t become personally involved. Your role is not to fix the domestic violence but to help your member at work. Under no circumstances should you visit the member’s home or place yourself at risk.

•D on’t be judgemental or ask questions about why the violence is occurring. Your responsibilities are to ensure staff can get to work and do their job safely. Asking questions like ‘why don’t you leave’ is inappropriate. It is the worker’s decision to stay or go. These situations are often complicated and difficult. Do not judge their decision. •D on’t ask for details about what is happening in the home or in the member’s private life. This is a workplace issue and what is happening at home is not your concern. You are not a domestic violence counsellor, so refer your member to domestic violence experts who can assist. •D on’t tell them what to do. You are not a domestic violence expert. After you have informed them of your role and what you can do to assist, let them make the decisions about matters which affect them. •D on’t think you know best about what will make them safe. One size does not fit all. Don’t take the law into your own hands and attempt to make contact with the perpetrator.

What is domestic/family violence? Domestic or family violence is an abuse of power by a partner, ex-partner or family member. It takes many forms including intimidation, control, isolation and emotional, physical, sexual, financial or spiritual abuse. Domestic violence usually increases over time becoming more serious and more frequent.

Domestic violence and the impact on work. The abuser may make it hard for the victim to get to work or target the victim at work. The most common form of domestic violence experienced at work is abusive calls and emails. Additionally the strain of dealing with domestic violence at home can undermine a worker’s productivity, performance and wellbeing. Domestic violence can also create problems for other staff and managers, who may also be targeted, posing a workplace safety and ultimately a liability issue.

Why does domestic violence come into the workplace? The abusive person may target the victim at work in order to try and get them fired or force them to resign. This is in order to increase their control over the victim – increasing the victim’s economic dependency, undermining the victim’s self-confidence or in order to punish the victim for attempting to leave the violent relationship. Women are particularly vulnerable at work. This is due to the predictability of their location and/or working hours. Where combined with easy public access to many workplaces, this places victims at significant risk of stalking and harassment.

If you are experiencing domestic violence you can call 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732) or visit to access counselling delivered by qualified, experienced professionals 24-hours a day, seven days a week.

Public Education Voice • Official Journal of the AEU - ACT Branch • PAGE 19




The Centenary of Canberra has created new awareness and interest in many aspects of early Canberra. The ‘Friends of the Hall School Museum’ aim to ensure that this will include the Territory’s first public schools. With the support of an ACT Heritage Grant, we are preparing an Exhibition on public schooling at Canberra’s birth – the fourteen NSW one-teacher schools ‘captured’ by declaration of the Federal Capital Territory boundary in 1911, when the FCT population was a mere 1,714. This was Canberra’s education ‘system’ when the city was named in 1913. Before 1913 at least 12 other schools, which would have been within the Territory borders had already come and gone – the likes of Barnes Creek, Church Rock Valley, Nerrabundah (‘Long Gully’), and Thornhurst. Where were all these little bush schools, and who were the teachers? The answers to these questions can now be found on-line at < schools.html> This online database lists twentyeight early schools and all of the approximately

250 teachers who taught at them. Close to a third of the teachers were women, and they would generally have been young, as marriage was a bar to appointment.

within reasonable bounds. This concession assisted them to maintain good discipline. Half of the teachers in the Yass and Queanbeyan districts were trained at Yass under Mr Brierly”.

This database is a ‘work-in-progress’. We are particularly keen to get more information about the teachers so that we can build up brief biographies for them, but information of any sort about the schools and schooling around the 1900’s will be very welcome.

A few years after the Canberra naming ceremony, administrative arrangements for schooling in the Territory were a little idiosyncratic. Consider the letter concerning sanitary arrangements at Gibraltar School sent to the Under Secretary, NSW Department of Education in 1915, which advises:

We know that teacher training was generally rudimentary before 1910 or so. Ewan Cameron, first teacher at Weetangera in 1875, had one month training at Yass School under Mr Brierly: “…Yass was a good school and Mr Brierly had a reputation that extended for many miles. He was known as a harsh, stern disciplinarian, but the teachers of small schools, trained under him, were grateful for the help and advice given them. During their period of training, he gave the trainees a free hand to use corporal punishment

“…..I have the honour to inform you that a new iron w.c. of the approved type has been erected in place of the old one, and a new cess pit has been provided” The letter-head is that of ‘Prime Minister’ and the letter is signed by Andrew Fisher! The building then serving as Gibraltar School was the old Canberra Public School, and had been transported to Tidbinbilla the previous year from beside St John’s Church. It was to finish

PAGE 20 • Official Journal of the AEU - ACT Branch • Public Education Voice



its life in Forrest after travelling back to the city in 1942 for use as a Kindergarten by CCEGGS. A much travelled school!

Schools’ Organiser Kate Reynolds interviews Natalie Gastineau, the Japanese teacher at Wanniassa Senior School.

At least three of the early public schools were conducted for a period in tents, the best known perhaps being the Cotter River School. It was deemed that the temporary community of construction workers on the Cotter Dam and Pumping Station did not warrant a permanent building, so a tent was ordered from Jervis Bay. Schooling would have been bracing in August!

Nat, Tell us about your pathway to teaching.

Only two of the ‘1913’ school buildings are intact – Hall and Tuggeranong – and none of them are still operating. (Gungahleen is ‘intact’ in replica). A number of them have already been the subject of research and publication (eg Weetangera, Hall, Tharwa, Duntroon, Bobeyan and Gibraltar), while at least four have been subject to some level of heritage assessment (Gungahleen, Hall, Mulligans Flat, Tuggeranong). Our project aims to tell the stories of the Territory’s first public schools and teachers, and the families and communities they served. Many former school sites are obscure, and forgotten. (The Nerrebundah (‘Long Gully’ School site lies under the tarmac of Yamba Drive). A few of them are commemorated with plaques, as at Church Rock Valley in the Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve, or marked with heritage interpretive signage like Mulligans Flat and Weetengera Schools. All of them however, have considerable significance amongst the families and communities they served, or the descendants of those who taught in them. [This project has the support of the Canberra Centenary, the ACT Surveyor-General, the Education and Training Directorate, and ACT Heritage].

It was back in high school when I decided that I would like to become a teacher. I was inspired by a number of teachers over my school years and in particular, my year 7 Japanese teacher who led me to believe that teachers can have a positive impact on their students. I’ve been committed to studying Japanese since that time and after gaining 12 months teaching experience in Australia I applied to the JET Programme to further develop my Japanese language skills and gain some in-country experience. I spent 3 amazing years teaching English in Fukushima, Japan followed by a couple of years working for the Japanese local government in Sydney, then another couple of years working for a small international law firm in San Francisco liaising with their Japanese clients before eventually returning to teaching and taking up residence in Canberra. While I enjoyed the varied experiences I had working in the private sector it was evident to me that teaching is my passion and that this is where I belong. I feel extremely fortunate to be teaching a subject which I am passionate about while being surrounded by other dedicated professionals who are also passionate about what they do and are incredibly supportive of one another.

What makes you so passionate about teaching Japanese?

cultures and different ways of thinking. I’m extremely passionate about teaching Japanese as a result of my experiences in Japan and the opportunities that have resulted from those experiences and I hope to pass on some of my enthusiasm to my students.

What do you believe school teachers need to improve the conditions in their profession? I believe that a school’s culture, principal’s leadership, and the positive, supportive, relationships among colleagues are the most important conditions for teaching. In my opinion increased autonomy for schools will likely have a negative impact on these ‘social conditions’ limiting job security and creating an unsettling and disruptive environment for teachers and students. Teaching is a long term career and to this end teachers should be offered greater stability and support to ensure their continual professional development, and enhance their ability to focus on their students and not spend time worrying about whether or not they’ll have a job the next year.

What does AEU membership mean to you and how have the AEU supported you in your career as a teacher?” I consider AEU membership essential to a teaching career and have utilized the support of the AEU on a number of occasions. Most recently they have supported me in planning my return to work after taking maternity leave by helping me to understand my rights and the options available to me.

Teaching Japanese is more than just teaching vocabulary and pronunciation or torturing students with the scripts for writing. It’s about developing awareness and respect for other

Public Education Voice • Official Journal of the AEU - ACT Branch • PAGE 21

Mr. Abbott.


is not enough.

Go to to find out the facts. Authorised by Angelo Gavrielatos, Federal President, Australian Education Union, 120 Clarendon Street, Southbank 3006.

s ult


Tony Abbott says when it comes to Gonski funding he’ll match Labor. But he won’t. Here are the facts. His plan is for 4 years, not 6. So he’ll deliver less than 1/3 of the funding that Labor is committed to. That means less individual attention and support for your child. And it means fewer literacy and numeracy programs for children at risk of falling behind. Don’t let Tony Abbott deny your children the education they deserve.


The Coalition would invest an extra $2.8 billion over 4 years.



Labor would invest an extra $10 billion over 6 years.


e e re .B s ou rc es



BRANCH OFFICE Glenn Fowler – Branch Secretary

Mike Fitzgerald – TAFE and VETiS Organiser

Main responsibilities: Branch administration/leadership Strategy and planning Senior/political liaison and negotiation Media spokesperson

Organising responsibilities: Canberra Institute of Technology Vocational Education and Training in Schools (VETiS)

Chris Hodgson – Lead Organiser

Sue Amundsen – Primary Schools’ Organiser Public Education Week contact

Main responsibilities: Planning and coordination Industrial Advocacy

Organising responsibilities: Early Childhood schools Primary Schools Jervis Bay

Organising responsibilities: Principals School Leader B

Kate Reynolds – Secondary Schools’ Organiser

Garrett Purtill – Industrial Officer

New Educator contact

Main responsibilities: Enterprise Agreement negotiation Workplace Health and Safety Policy development Industrial representation/advocacy Organising responsibilities: School psychologists

Sascha Colley – Professional/Women’s Officer Main responsibilities: Research Policy development Member training Women’s Officer Government submissions AEU Journal Editor Indigenous contact GLBTI contact

Organising responsibilities: High Schools Colleges Birrigai

Theresa Tonna – School Assistants Coordinator Organising responsibilities: School Assistants

Tom Greenwell – Digital Media Project Officer Main responsibilities: Member communication Web site ICT strategy

Organising responsibilities: HBCTL

Public Education Voice • Official Journal of the AEU - ACT Branch • PAGE 23


ROSEMARY Clive Haggar, Sue Billington, Keith & Jan Lawler

Rosemary Richards, when Rosemary was diagnosed with cancer and was forced into retirement before her early death.

Vale Rosie

Our work relationship deepened into a personal friendship of thirty years’ duration, and Rose and her husband Nick Wright were parents-awayfrom-home for two of our daughters living and working in the UK. Last month I was privileged, with my daughter Annie, to be with Rose and her family at their home in Dursley in the UK for Rose’s last three days. Rose died peacefully on Saturday 20 July from the cancer that she had been diagnosed with only 10 weeks before.

It is now just over thirty years since I first went to work for the ACT Teachers Federation and met Rosemary Tilley who, at 28, was the Federation’s Research Officer. Rose was the intellectual force of the union’s policies and submissions targeted at improving the working conditions and remuneration of the teaching profession, the resources for our students and the standing of the public education system.

It was a time to reminisce about Rose, her ten years of achievements in her work for the AEU, not the least of which was the priority she gave to class size reduction and to salary parity between the primary and secondary sectors. Rose crafted the missiles of logic and fairness that others had the responsibility to fire. Thanks to Rose we achieved great gains for the system and the profession.

She was a wonderful mentor for me as a young union organiser who, whilst keen, then had little of the knowledge or understandings of the operations of the public education system or of the Schools Authority that was supposed to run it.

Rose will always be remembered as one of the great contributors of the early years of the ACT’s stand-alone public education system, and as a wonderful friend and colleague.

When Rose moved back to the UK, she continued to work in education and had a long association with Dursley Primary School. Her daughters, Anna (now training to be an architect) and Alice (hoping to be an actor) attended the school. She was a school governor for 15 years and was the driving force in running the Dursley Out of School Club and setting up the Treetops Nursery – both sited in the school grounds. Such was Rose’s commitment to public education and the people she worked with that Rose flew out from Britain to help celebrate the career achievements of our former President,

Clive Haggar (Former AEU ACT Branch Secretary)

In loving remembrance of our dear friend ROSEMARY TILLEY Rosemary Tilley was a superb research officer for the Union, a great organizer and administrator, a wise counsel, and above all a true and loyal friend. During my time as President of the Union, Rose and I worked together on a wide variety of campaigns, and government teachers in the ACT, as well as students and their parents, have Rose to thank for much that is worthwhile in the ACT government education system.

Rose’s principal task in the Union was to develop the detailed submissions which Union officers presented as major evidence in their dealings with the Education Department and the government. Rose’s submissions were invariably highly organized, professional, polished and well documented. She also provided officers, the Executive and the Council with both oral and written advice on a wide variety of subjects of concern to the Union. Rose could always be relied upon to offer well thought out advice and suggested directions, and she was not averse to browbeating officers which she deemed it to be appropriate. One of my most vivid memories of our professional interaction was the time she walked into my office and pointed out to me quite firmly that despite all the efforts we had expended on protecting our members, our own office staff had no agreed written conditions of service at all! Having thoroughly and rightly shamed me, we (meaning Rose) produced a progressive document of working conditions for the staff forthwith. Rose and Nick returned to Britain after her work with the Union, and after I retired both my wife Jan and I very much appreciated the warmth and hospitality Rose and Nick extended to us during our occasional visits to Britain. Meeting up with Rose and Nick was always a highlight of our stays, and we will both treasure memories of our lunch together and stroll around Hebden Bridge last time we visited in 2011. We loved Rose very dearly, and we will very much miss her. Jan and I extend our deepest sympathy to Nick, Anna and Alice, and to Rose’s wider family and friends.

Keith and Jan Lawler

PAGE 24 • Official Journal of the AEU - ACT Branch • Public Education Voice

In loving memory and celebration of ROSEMARY TILLEY Someone who made this world a brighter and better place I had the privilege of working with Rosemary Tilley for many years at the ACT Teachers Federation in the early 1980s. I felt inspired by her passion and commitment to the union movement and to public education, its teachers and students. I have many memories of working alongside Rose preparing lengthy submissions to government outlining the need for improved funding and resourcing of our public schools and the need to improve salaries and working conditions for teachers. Rose was also responsible for improving the working conditions of the Union’s office staff. Rose was the ultimate professional and this, with her dedication to the union, set a high standard for her successors. The contribution she made was remembered long after her return to the UK.

Former AEU-ACT Branch Secretary, Clive Hagar with Rosemary Tilley.

A lifelong friendship transpired even with her return to England with her partner Nick although initially it was via email and letters. However, I was fortunate enough to spend time with Nick, Rose and baby Anna on a trip to the UK with my travelling companions Robin Fitzsimmons and Lesley Gordon (also ACTTF staff and friends of Rose). I also caught up with Rose again on another trip to the UK and like always it was as if no time had transpired since our last conversation and she was always eager to hear what was happening in public education and about her friends at the union. I was devastated to hear of Rose’s diagnosis and hoped it was a battle she could win. Her last email to me showed the courage and love she had for her family and friends at a time when she was fighting for her life.

Sue Billington

Public Education Voice • Official Journal of the AEU - ACT Branch • PAGE 25

I do great work with my students. I think it should be recognised and rewarded. I want our schools to give every child the best opportunities in life, no matter where they start from. I feel that we are empowered when we work together to achieve our shared goals. I believe it’s important that politicians listen to the people who work in schools. I stick up for my colleagues if they’re not being treated fairly. I like having colleagues who are there to give me support when I need it. I want my students to learn how to collaborate, not just compete. I believe my workplace should be safe and healthy. I don’t think I should have to come to work when I’m sick or my children are sick. I believe maternity leave is essential for the wellbeing of mothers and children. I feel empowered by our ability to join together in thousands to make our voice heard. I think organisations work best when they’re run by members for members. I know an enterprise agreement, that we collectively negotiate, protects my rights. I like to have a say in what happens in my workplace.

I am a Unionist. And I’m proud of it .

AEU Membership Application

ACT Branch

PO BoxACT 30422603 PO Box 3042, Manuka Manuka ACT 26031828 Ph: 02 6272 7900 Fax: 6273 Ph: 02 6272-7900 email:

Application for Membership I hereby apply for membership of the ACT Branch of the Australian Education Union and if admitted agree to abide by the Rules of the Union. AEU Rules can be found at /about-us/ I agree to pay to the AEU fees owing in accordance with the Union’s schedule of subscriptions. I understand that my fees will be adjusted automatically in line with salary movements. I recognise that I must inform the Union of any other salary or status adjustments otherwise I will not be a fully financial member and may not be eligible for the full range of services. I understand that the Union’s Rules require me to give written notice of resignation.

PERSONAL DETAILS (Please complete all sections) Surname



CIT Centre & Campus

Given Names Home address

Current level


Gross Salary

Home phone

[Go to for the salary steps]

Mobile number Work Email

 Do you identify as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander?

 Do you identify as being from a Culturally or Linguistically Diverse Background?

SECTOR  Primary  Preschool  Secondary  TAFE  Associate* (Retired/Student Teachers) * Associate Members need only sign, date, attach payment or complete credit card details. Go straight to signature box.


 Permanent OR Contract   Permanent OR Contract  Load


 CASUAL (Schools) – Average days per week [tick ONE]  0-1  2-3  3+  CASUAL (TAFE) – Average hours per week [tick ONE]  0-6  7-14  15-20

CLASSIFICATION  Teacher  Assistant  Youth Worker  Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Education Officer  Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Education Worker  Other (please specify)_____________ I hereby authorise the Australian Education Union (ACT Branch) to access my salary and other employment details from the Education and Training Directorate for the purpose of updating AEU Membership records. Signature Date of application

Public Education Voice • Official Journal of the AEU - ACT Branch • PAGE 19 PLEASE MAKE SURE PAYMENT DETAILS ARE COMPLETED OVER PAGE

AEU Membership Application


 Monthly Direct Debit [Bank/Credit Union]

The AEU will not sell or provide any information regarding AEU – ACT Branch members to third parties. The AEU’s Privacy Policy may be viewed at and a copy is available from the AEU Office on request.

11th of each month or next business day I have completed the DDR Authority below to have my subscription deducted from my bank or credit union account. Direct Debit Request Form and Service Agreement Request for debiting amounts to accounts by the Bulk Electronic Clearing System (BECS)

Payment Details Please select ONE of the following: I am paying by… 

Fortnightly Payroll Deduction

(not available to Casual/Relief Teachers)

I authorise the AEU to contact ETD to commence fortnightly deductions at the appropriate rate as soon as possible. Name Signature AGS No

OR 

Monthly Credit Card 11th of each month or next business day

Please debit my credit card automatically Visa 

Bankcard 

I/We [Insert your name in full] [Surname or Company/Business Name] [Given Names or ACN/ARBN] request you, until further notice by me in writing, to debit my/our account described in the schedule below, any amounts which the Australian Education Union – ACT Branch [User ID No. 066127] may debit or charge me/us through the Bulk Electronic Clearing System. I/We understand and acknowledge that: 1. The Financial Institution may in its absolute discretion, determine the order of priority of payment by it of any moneys pursuant to this Request or any authority or mandate. 2. The Financial Institution may in its absolute discretion, at any time by notice in writing to me/us, terminate this Request as to future debits. 3. The User may, by prior arrangement and advice to me/us, vary the amount or frequency of future debits. 4. Any queries to be directed to the Debit User in the first instance. 5. It is the responsibility of the customer to have sufficient funds in the account by the due date to permit the payment by BECS or bank charges may apply. 6. I/We understand the information supplied will not be used for another purpose. 7. Statements will be issued upon request. Customer Signatures [joint signatures may be required]

MasterCard 

Cardholder’s name

Customer Address

Card Number


CSC: Turn over your credit card and look for the number printed on the signature panel. You are required to enter the last three digits.

Expiry Date

Manager [insert name & address of financial institution]


Cardholder’s signature

Amount $

The Schedule (Note: BECS is not available on the full range of accounts. If in doubt, please refer to your Financial Institution) Insert name of account which is to be debited


BSB [Bank/State/Branch No.] Account Number

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