Written by Glenn Fowler - AEU ACT Branch Secretary
It is election time again and things are moving very quickly. The AEU is asking the three main parties and all candidates to sign our pledge which will, over the life of the assembly, deliver real outcomes for public education and the staff who work within it.
We ask for additional psychologists for the public school system, a guarantee of 70% of government funding for CIT and a 30% cap on contestability, the continuation of our workload reduction resources coupled with real leadership to keep class sizes at reasonable levels, school infrastructure upgrades prioritising heating and cooling solutions, passionate advocacy for Gonski’s 5th and 6th years and, finally, the recognition that any government’s primary obligation is to public education. This is not everything we need in our workplaces, but Council and Executive have determined it is a collection of things well suited to the political sphere.
The Greens have signed our pledge and ACT Labor is edging closer. We remain confident that all the parties will want to work with us on these initiatives. Stay tuned to our online communications as things shift between now and 15 October. All parties will need to resist opportunistic attempts by vested interests to reduce the slice of the pie that public schools receive, and thus reduce our capacity to deliver for our students.
Some educators are tempted to see elections as peripheral to the work we do in our classrooms, or to be sceptical about the sincerity of politicians and cynical about the political process in general. But elections are a great time for us to come together, to stand up for what is right and fair, and to set the agenda for the next four years. Other groups will use this process to undermine our efforts, and we must stand tall collectively and see off the inevitable challenges. You’ve recently seen what we can achieve in the federal election, where we joined other unionists and progressive groups to remove the bellwether status from Eden-Monaro, unseat an anti-Gonski candidate and one of the architects of WorkChoices and seriously weaken Malcolm Turnbull’s ability to derail the Gonski reforms which we know are in the national interest.
Make no mistake: election results matter to your daily work. I will be prominent in the media, but I need you to help us with on-the-ground campaigning. Please put your hand up to do something small or big for our union as the ACT Election approaches. We need to know we have done everything in our collective power to ensure the best outcomes for public education. We owe it to ourselves, our students and our communities.
All content on the AEU ACT website is authorized by G. Fowler, Australian Education Union ACT, 40 Brisbane Ave, Barton.