YARN ISSN 1836-8549
VOL. 4, NO.1, APRIL 2011
National Tertiary Education Union − Indigenous members’ MAGAZINE
ACTU Indigenous Conference Darwin 2011 The ACTU Indigenous Conference 2011 was held in Darwin on 16–18 February. The conference was called to discuss issues pertaining to employment and social justice issues for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander workers and communities across Australia.
Inside this issue: ACTU Indigneous Conference 2011
Weclome from IPC Chair
Sturm und Drang in the Top End
NTEU Indigenous Forum 2011
Indigenous Members’ Survey
New staff member: Celeste Liddle
Be our friend on Facebook!
NTEU Membership form
A total of 114 representatives attended the conference, with a number of union affiliates and trades and labour councils being represented by their Indigenous members and senior elected officials. To compliment the Indigenous and non-Indigenous unionist cohort, a number of Indigenous community Elders, representatives and organisations were also invited to provide input into the development of an ACTU Indigenous Action Plan. Jeff Lawrence, ACTU Secretary, detailed the ACTU’s goals for achieving real jobs and justice and made reference to the Union’s involvement with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander in previous disputes including the Gurindji walk off in 1966. ‘Australian unions have always stood by our Indigenous brothers and sisters.’ ‘We stood with Indigenous workers in the Wave Hill Station walk out; fighting for land rights, and stolen wages. The courage
and commitment of Gurindji people who led the walk-off at Wave Hill Station in 1966 in pursuit of equal wages and treatment must not be forgotten’. ‘But it is clear that Indigenous Australians have been left behind by the strong growth of the Australian economy over the past decade, so today we are announcing a greater emphasis and focus of the union movement on what is happening in Indigenous communities now.’ ‘As always, the pathway to economic development is through decent employment and workplace rights,’ ‘While unions have been able to achieve significant gains for members and communities though bargaining and community campaigning, thousands of Indigenous workers remain without basic rights and are usually employed in the most vulnerable and insecure types of work.’ continued on page 2...
Welcome Jillian Miller, Chair of the IPC, has been very ill and is off work. Sad news and we hope she makes a quick recovery. She asked if I could write in her stead this Yarn.
Contact details National Indigenous Officer Adam Frogley.............firstname.lastname@example.org National Indigenous Organiser Celeste Liddle............... email@example.com Postal..........................NTEU National Office PO Box 1323, South Melbourne VIC 3205 Ph..........................................03 9254 1910 Fax.........................................03 9254 1915 Web............... www.nteu.org.au/indigenous
For many across the country it has been a very busy time after the end of Enterprise Bargaining. Getting a bargain means we now have more rights in most workplaces than we had before but this means we have to make sure we use these rights. If you are unsure what is in your bargain, contact your Branch and ask for a copy. Thank you to all the people who responded so quickly to the racism survey. It really did open a few eyes around the Union that the issue is so big and widespread that so many replied in such a short time. If you haven’t replied yet, please do; it will help. See article on p.4. We look forward to meeting those coming to the Forum on 6–7 May. If you aren’t coming but have something you want everyone to know about, talk to someone who is going or send a short message to Celeste, firstname.lastname@example.org so it can be included. Cheers, Terry Mason, IPC Deputy Chair
Authorised by Grahame McCulloch, General Secretary, National Tertiary Education Union, PO Box 1323, South Melbourne VIC 3205
ACTU Indigenous Conference 2011 continued from page 1...
Action Plan Development In developing an action plan, a number of priority areas were raised for discussion at the conference, these include: ●● Northern Territory Emergency Response (The Intervention). ●● Employment (including CDEP) and decent work. ●● Social Justice issues. ●● Land Rights. The ACTU has a range of policy platforms that detail a number of important initiatives in the areas of Indigenous health, education and social justice issues. Included in these range of policy positions is the NTEU’s campaign that calls upon Government to provide Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander workers early access to superannuation and retirement benefits; reflecting the current life expectancy gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.
NTEU delegate Barbara Shaw displays a Basics Card; NTEU Indigenous Officer, Adam Frogley, addressing the Conference. The ACTU Indigenous Action Plan will incorporate all current ACTU policy positions and will seek to vastly improve access to real, ongoing employment and working to restore basic human rights. The development of the Action Plan is a first step toward rebuilding and reinforcing the partnership that has existed between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and unions, ensuring that Indigenous business is union business. NTEU was invited to present an overview of their Indigenous bargaining claim and
achievements across various bargaining rounds. Terry Mason, Indigenous Policy Committee Deputy Chair, detailed the mandatory Indigenous settlement points and suggested clauses. Terry also discussed the challenges associated in achieving real gains for Indigenous employment in the higher education sector. The ACTU Action Plan is currently in the final drafting stage and will be presented to the next ACTU Executive meeting. It is expected that the Plan will be made available on the ACTU website.
Sturm und Drang in the Top End The ACTU Indigenous conference was held in Darwin in February 2011 and making up the Sturm und Drang (storm and stress) was the presence of Tropical Cyclone Carlos and effects of the Northern Territory Emergency Response (NTER). Conference presenters Joanne Kerr and Darcel Russell put on a respectful and informative conference. I along with other NTEU delegates were fortunate to arrive into Darwin before the deluge arrived; the NTEU delegation comprised the following representatives, Terry Mason (IPC Deputy Chair), Jeannie Rea (National President), Adam Frogley (National Indigenous Coordinator) and Celeste Liddle (National Indigenous Organiser). The Day 1 themes included reports from the ACTU Indigenous committee ACTU Secretary Jeff Lawrence and the role of unions in promoting social justice. Later that evening the category one cyclone made its presence felt bringing rain and strong gales. Darwin shut down and many delegates gathered in the restaurant talking business with their own and other unions. Day two and the storm had passed leaving debris and a window of sky. The theme of the morning’s panel was employment and one of the most exciting stories to emerge was the initiations of Social Compacts and Memorandum of Understanding between different unions and Aboriginal communities. This meant a more powerful platform of solidarity. The conversations and workshops on possible directions for the ACTU brought stories and suggestions from both community and union representatives. The rain was back by the time day three started. But fortune had smiled upon us and the day’s speaker Mick Gooda, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner had arrived safely and was able to share with us his views on social justice and the rights and responsibilities documented in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Unfortunately, the demands of home and work had me leaving before the discussion on actions for the ACTU but I was able to get a copy of the draft. It included action plans for the NTER, Employment and social justice. Stay tuned for an update in further newsletters. As the SA NTEU Indigenous delegate, I was reminded throughout the experience that we need to keep listening to community and that the ACTU stands for justice for all workers (including volunteer and CDEP) and I believe that as Aboriginal Peoples we are not meant to weather the storm and be just that little bit more broken each time, we are meant to be the storm, the vehicle for change. Frances Wyld, NTEU Indigenous Branch Committee Member - UniSA
YARN – NTEU INDIGENOUS MEMBERS’ MAGAZINE
The current round of bargaining is in its final stages and NTEU has achieving excellent outcomes for our current and future Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander members in the area of employment opportunities and conditions. These include: ●● Securing a numerical/percentage target for Indigenous employment;. ●● Ensuring NTEU and/or Indigenous representation on Indigenous employment monitoring/implementation committees. ●● Cultural and ceremonial leave provisions. ●● University wide Indigenous employment strategies. The table below provides an overview of what has been achieved in recent months. These bargaining outcomes are welcomed and provide measurable outcomes that give greater opportunities for current and
future Indigenous staff members at these institutions; but the real work is only beginning. The NTEU Indigenous Unit will continue to work to review the progress of the Indigenous employment strategies and targets for employment that have resulted from this current round, and look to enforce breaches if required. We congratulate the bargaining teams and look forward to working with the remaining Branches who are currently in the process of negotiating their Agreements.
Indigenous Employment Target
Indigenous Employment Strategy
NTEU representation on Indigenous Employment Committees
Cultural/ Ceremonial Leave provision
Language Allowance provision
Commitment to appoint senior Indigenous Staff*
Representation on Selection & Assessment Panels
* e.g. Indigenous Employment Coordinator and/or Pro/Deputy Vice Chancellor Indigenous. Notes 1. University will fund an increase in Indigenous staff by at least 2 new staff positions per year, preferably at least one academic and one general staff position. 2. Up to 3 days paid leave per year for cultural requirements and obligations, 10 days leave without pay every two years for Indigenous ceremonial or cultural purposes. 3. Aspirational target of 2.8% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employment across the University. 4. Target of 2% Indigenous employment across the University. 5. 10 hours leave during NAIDOC week. Employees can take two days recreational or long service leave as cultural leave. 6. $2,091.25/ $3,489.24 per annum
depending on level, to be adjusted in accordance with CPI. One day paid leave for NAIDOC events. Employees can use accrued annual or long service leave for cultural leave. University will establish employment and training opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students or graduates including cadetships. 5 days paid Indigenous Australian Leave for purposes of, bereavement leave, participation in NAIDOC celebrations & ceremonial obligations & community & cultural events. $1400/2800 per annum depending on level. The University will appoint an Indigenous Employment
13. 14. 15. 16.
Coordinator as an identified Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander position. Commitment to having overwhelming majority of Indigenous staff in the Oodgeroo Unit. Cultural leave can be taken as part of 7 days paid personal leave $2,092/ $3,490 per annum depending on level. Cultural leave can be taken as part of 7 days Special Paid Leave. Target of increasing Indigenous staffing numbers to be equivalent to two percent (2%) of total University staff. Cultural or ceremonial leave may be taken as part of 20 days paid Personal Leave per annum.
Registrations for Indigenous Forum 2011 (6–7 May in Melbourne) are now closed. This year, we have received a large number of registrations and expect our delegates will provide valuable input to a number of pertinent issues affecting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander university staff. The theme for Forum 2011 is ‘The Pathway to Action – Respecting Culture, Respecting Staff’. Forum will discuss the issue of cultural respect, discrimination, racism and lateral violence. Professor Steve Larkin, Pro Vice Chancellor – Indigenous leadership at Charles Darwin University and Chair
The Pathway to Action
Respecting Culture, Respecting Staff
of the Indigenous Higher Education Advisory Council (IHEAC) will give the NTEU National Indigenous Forum 6-7 May 2011 key note speech on the topic of unexamined racial prejudice in the higher education sector. This year, Forum will include a little of the local Kulin Nation culture, with delegates being invited to ‘Walk the Birrarung’. This unique walk gives participants a sense of a small, but significant portion of the ancestral lands of the Kulin people. Walkin’ Birrarung is a journey back through time exploring the dramatic and irrevocable changes of both the people and the place. Indigenous Forum 2011 will also give delegates an opportunity to provide input into the further development of the NTEU Indigenous policy and strategies that relate to Indigenous employment, teaching, research and social justice issues. For further information, please contact Celeste Liddle, National Indigenous Organiser on (03) 9254 1910 or email@example.com.
YARN – NTEU INDIGENOUS MEMBERS’ MAGAZINE
Indigenous Members Survey Cultural Respect, Discrimination, Racism & Lateral Violence NTEU Indigenous Unit is seeking feedback from current Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander members on their experiences of racism, discrimination and lateral violence in the workplace. An online survey has been established to provide the ability for members to have a yarn about their experiences in the workplace. The survey, which will close on 31 August 2011, is accessible at www.nteu.org.au/indigenous/survey. At the 2010 NTEU National Council meeting, it was determined that research be undertaken to ascertain the level of racism, discrimination and lateral violence within the higher education sector and how this impacts upon Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Academic and Professional/General staff members. In February 2011, the University of Western Sydney (UWS) released the findings from a long-term survey on racism and discrimination in Australian society. The findings were particularly worrying and showed an undercurrent of prejudice about people from different racial and ethnic backgrounds. Although racist and prejudice views were found through the UWS survey to be in the minority, racism and discrimination should be challenged in all manifestations and wherever it exists. Results from the UWS: Anti-Racism Research project found: ●● Most Australians recognise that racism is a problem in society. ●● Too many Australians (41%) have a narrow view of who belongs in Australia. ●● About one-in-ten Australians have very problematic views on diversity and on
ethnic difference. They believe that some races are naturally inferior or superior, and they believe in the need to keep groups separated. These separatists and supremacists are a destructive minority. The issue of lateral violence has also emerged as an issue of particular concern for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff
in Universities. Lateral violence is defined as ‘the harmful and undermining practices that members of oppressed groups can engage in against each other as a result of marginalisation’. Anecdotal reports have indicated that lateral violence is impacting upon Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff in the higher education sector, although only limited research has been undertaken on the issue of lateral violence. To date, the research that has been undertaken had a particular focus on workers in the health profession. The survey is private and confidential, with findings to be complied into a report with a view to influence current university policy or alternatively developing specific policy that can better address issues of racism, discrimination and lateral violence within the workplace. Should you have any questions regarding this survey, please contact the NTEU Indigenous Unit on (03) 9254 1910 or via email to firstname.lastname@example.org or cliddle@ nteu.org.au
New Indigenous Unit member Celeste Liddle, the relatively new National Indigenous Organiser, is a proud Arrernte woman who was born in Canberra, and has lived most of her life in Melbourne. Following the (long awaited) completion of her Bachelor of Arts with Honours in Theatre and Drama at La Trobe University, Celeste started working at the Wilin Centre, Victorian College of the Arts as the Indigenous Liaison Officer. Celeste held that position for 6 years before taking up the role of Team Leader – Recruitment and Engagement at the Centre for Indigenous Education, University of Melbourne; a position she held for a further 2.5 years. Celeste served on the NTEU Victorian Division Executive and Division Council, as well as the University of Melbourne Branch Committee (initially as Ordinary Committee Member – Indigenous, then as Branch Vice President, General Staff ) where she created enough waves to get noticed by the IPC and the National Office, leading her into her current role. Celeste is currently undertaking a Grad Dip in Arts at Melbourne, focussing on Political Science just for fun. Celeste’s main hobbies include listening to very loud music, adding to her collection of Doc Marten boots, dancing, travelling, catching films and plays, and putting off enrolling in a PhD. She is the proud mother of two dogs called Jeffrey and Indi.
YARN – NTEU INDIGENOUS MEMBERS’ MAGAZINE
Be our friend on Facebook! NTEU Indigenous Caucus Facebook site is now up and running, with a brand new, easy to remember, web address: www.facebook.com/IndigNTEU Facebook provides a wonderful opportunity for members to interact in an informal way across a great distance, as well as keep the National Indigenous Unit up-to-date regarding campus-based activities and campaigns. It also provides a quick way for the NTEU Indigenous Unit to get timely information out about events (e.g. campus visits, Indigenous Forum), publications and campaigns, so that there is an alternate way for all to access information regarding the Unit’s activities. The National Indigenous Unit encourages all members, Branches and Divisions to join us on Facebook. To join, log into Facebook, go to https://www.facebook.com/IndigNTEU and “Like” the page.
Important dates The National Indigenous Unit is planning a number of site visits this year, including a road trip of Queensland, and dates of these visits will be confirmed and distributed as soon as available. It is our aim to make contact with as many members at the institutions as possible and talk through the issues facing Indigenous Australians in the tertiary education sector. Please stay tuned to the Indigenous blog or the Facebook page for upcoming events. 5 May 2011
IPC Face-to-face meeting
6-7 May 2011
National Indigenous Forum (Melbourne)
13-15 May 2011
June/July mid-year break 2011 Planned Queensland road trip 7 July 2011
4 October 2011
IPC Face-to-face meeting
6-8 October 2011
NTEU National Council
17 November 2011
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Indigenous Members' Magazine National Tertiary Education Union (Australia). Vol.4 no.1. April 2011. ISSN 1836-8557