ACT Branch Executive Elections

  • The election has now closed except for a small group of members who did not receive ballot papers due to a technical error. 

On 7 May 2015 ballot material was posted to all eligible voters for this election. The ballot closed on Thursday 28 May 2015. However, due to some anomalies in the roll of voters, involving the inadvertent omission of some eligible new members, the Returning Officer appointed by the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) to conduct the election has decided to extend the ballot period to provide those affected members with the opportunity to vote.

The ballot extension applies only to those members who were omitted from the original roll of voters.  Ballot material will be posted to the affected members on 29 May 2015. This ballot material must be returned to the Returning Officer in the envelopes provided by 10.00am on Friday 19 June 2015.

The current ballot has closed as scheduled on Thursday 28 May 2015 for all other members.

All ballot material returned has been placed in a ballot box and sealed. The ballot box will be stored securely and remain sealed until the counting of votes commences on 19 June 2015.

If you have any queries regarding the above, please contact the Australian Electoral Commission Returning Officer, Neil Kean, on 02 9375 6395.


Executive is elected from members by members to run the ACT Branch of the AEU. Only Council or a Stop-Work meeting can overrule a decision made by Executive. On this occasion there are 19 nominations for the 8 General Membership Representative positions.

For more information on the function of ACT Branch Executive, read the rules relating to AEU ACT Branch Executive  and the complete AEU ACT Branch Rules.

Statements from the candidates

The AEU ACT office is providing all nominees an equal opportunity to communicate with members. Nominees have been invited to provide a photo and statements of up to 100 words. They are published in reverse alphabetical order.

 Tamara Tomczyk

I am an active AEU ACT member who has participated in Union events and Leadership Training. I have worked in the Government Public Sector for 15 years and hold a Master of Education qualification. I have served a term as President and currently perform the duties of Secretary at the Gold Creek School Sub-branch. I am a firm supporter of social justice principles, equal opportunity and due process. I reside in Canberra and am a single parent of a son.


Susan Thompson

Susan_Thomson.jpgI am currently the Secretary of the Turner and O’Connor Cooperative school sub-branch committee, sub-branch Councillor for the last two years and a member of the Turner Workload committee. I am passionate about helping others and would like to have the opportunity to represent fellow members on Branch Executive.  I would like to gain as much knowledge as I can to assist members with any concerns.  I value this opportunity to be a part of policy making, understanding how the union works and to be able to learn from the knowledge of senior members in the union.


Fiona Stevenson

Fiona_Stevenson.JPGI am an SLC at Namadgi School and a current General Membership Representative on Executive. I have been an active member of my school sub-branch, holding numerous executive positions including branch councillor and regularly attending all Branch Council meetings. As a proud product of the public education system in Tuggeranong, I am extremely passionate about providing quality inclusive education outcomes for all students. I believe this is achieved by providing our students with the absolute best teachers and schools. I believe that our public education system in the ACT is the best in our country and that we need to fight to ensure its survival.

Jayson Perrin

Jayson_Perrin.jpgI am very passionate about supporting School Assistants and represented AEU members in the recent review to get the much needed support that SAs on the front line need. I also have extensive experience sitting on Governance Boards for the Community Services sector. I believe that I would be great at representing you, because I represent and advocate for young people, staff, community and clients on a daily basis. I urge you to please vote for me. You won’t be disappointed as I will work with you for the best outcomes possible.



Karl-Erik Paasonen

Karl-Erik_Paasonen.jpgI have been Telopea Park sub-branch president and councillor for two years, and secretary before that. I have been active on climate, anti-war and anti-uranium campaigns for many years. I initiated the Branch’s engagement with climate issues via Council, and have been AEU spokesperson at a forum on community divestment. I was appointed to Branch Executive to fill a casual vacancy earlier this year. Aside from teaching, I have worked as a union organiser, and in academe. I am committed to a union not purely about short-term economic issues, but also about creating the kind of society that members want.


Phillipa O’Shea

Phillipa_OShea.JPGI have been teaching in the ACT since 2008 and have been a proud and active member of the Australian Education Union since the beginning. I was the Women’s Officer while at Telopea Park School and the Sub-branch President at Erindale College, before I left to teach overseas in 2013. While teaching at a bilingual school in Thailand, I honed my organising skills implementing vital new programs such as a Physical/Sexual Health curriculum and standardised First Aid procedures and training. Working there without the support of a union only further increased my desire to be more involved with AEU ACT upon my return.

Ian Marshall

Ian_Marshall.jpgI am a proud member of the teaching profession and have been a union member for my entire teaching career. My career spans over 30 years in the ACT and NSW. I currently teach English at Lake Tuggeranong College. I am very active in Sub Branch affairs and am currently the Secretary.  I have served as a committed Branch Councillor for the last three years and I am also an AEU delegate at Unions ACT. I am passionate about ensuring the best conditions for all teachers and students. I will do my utmost to represent your interests to achieve and maintain a quality public education system.

Aaron Kingma

Aaron_Kingma.jpgI have been on the ACT Branch Executive since 2013 because I am focused on supporting all ACT students and staff to study and work in a world class public education system - that’s what we deserve. I’m passionate about high quality pastoral care for our students and my priorities for the 2015-17 AEU ACT Branch Executive would be wellbeing, welfare and social justice for our community and to see out the transition to the ACT Branch organising model.



Patrick Judge

Patrick_Judge_3.jpgI have been active in the AEU since joining the teaching profession in 2012. In that time I have represented our members as a General Membership Representative on Branch Executive since 2013, and at interstate and national conferences. I believe that an active, engaged membership is key to our success as a union. If re-elected to my position on Branch Executive, I will work for our union to continue building its organising capacity through visible, active sub-branches. I will continue to support the political independence of our union, and pursue the union’s active engagement in a broader social justice agenda.


Shane Gorman

Shane_Gorman.JPGI have been in the ACT Public Education system, both in secondary and primary, for the last 30 years and have been a Principal for the last 15 years in 2 very different settings. I will continue to bring this breadth of experience to the AEU Executive team as I have over the last 4 years. I also represent the ACT Principals on the AEU’s National Principals Committee and have been actively involved in promoting the needs of public education in the political arena. I am a Principal who is committed to the work of our union and come from a very strong union sub-branch.

Ben Duggan

Ben_Duggan.jpgIn my first year of teaching at Melrose High, I am running to bring constructive ideas to our Branch Executive. I aim to help new teachers see the benefit of being actively involved in the AEU. I believe in the importance of fighting for better teaching conditions & positive school environments. Prior to teaching I studied part-time at ANU while working for former MP, Mike Kelly. I then worked with local teachers establishing ‘Raising Hope Education Foundation’ and was a local Bendigo Community Bank Board Director. I am passionate about positive education, student choice and equality. I hope to have your support.

Suki Dorras-Walker

Suki_Dorras-Walker.JPGI am a committed and active member of our union. As a New Educator Contact Officer, I actively support beginning teachers at my school. I have taken part in the Gonski campaign through phone banking and handing out how-to-vote cards on election day. I have been a Councillor, attended New Educator conferences, the Federal Women's Conference, and the Birrigai Leaders’ Retreat. Thanks to these opportunities, I have a strong understanding of the issues we face as teachers and how our union is addressing them. If elected to Executive, I hope to contribute to our work supporting new educators and advancing public education

Sam Delaney

Sam_Delaney.jpgI wish to be considered as a general membership representative in the current AEU ACT Executive election. My passion and commitment to public education, service and trade union principles has been instilled in me by family and multiple aspects of working life. I thoroughly enjoyed my time and learnt a lot of invaluable industrial knowledge during my acting placement as union organiser in 2014. I would be honoured with the opportunity to continue this development of my activism skills and desire to volunteer my time in supporting ACT Public School staff into the future years.


Peter Curtis

Peter_Curtis.jpgOur struggle to win social justice and equality are the reasons we are union. It is a sure thing that these demands cannot be met unless we organise and use our combined strength. As educators we deal everyday with the difficulties that social inequity creates for so many of our students. Finding solutions begins in our schools but we know that ultimately we must seek answers by going beyond the school gate. Addressing the problems of everyday life – affordable housing, good health services, accessible transport, and control of our working conditions all have positive effects on educational outcomes.


Emma Cox

Emma_Cox.JPGMy name is Emma Cox and I have worked as a primary school educator in Canberra for over ten years. I believe passionately in the value of public education and have been recognised as a principled professional; developing positive relationships throughout my career. I am highly organised with excellent communication and problem solving skills and it would be a privilege to use these to represent the membership of the AEU ACT branch. I am motivated to engage to a greater degree in the advocacy, activism and decision making of the AEU ACT Branch by being an Executive Member and have a particular interest in teacher wellbeing and mental health. 


Theresa Carroll

Theresa_Carroll.jpgI teach at Canberra College in the Futures Program and Inclusion Support Program. I have previously worked in the Autistic Unit at Caroline Chisholm High School, at Karabar High School and at the Woden School. In addition to having served on AEU Executive since 2012, I am a Respect, Equity and Diversity Contact Officer, Women’s Officer, ACT representative on the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education Committee and Secretary of the Canberra College Sub-Branch. I volunteer with the SHOUT ADHD support group. If re-elected to Executive, I will work to promote membership amongst Indigenous education workers and to tackle age-based discrimination.


Angela Burroughs

Angela_Burroughs.jpgAs well as making an impact in the classroom, contributing to education policy direction is important to me.  As a career-change primary teacher, I love trying to make a difference to kids’ lives.  However, I do miss engaging with broader education policy and political matters that defined my life for over 20 years in higher education.  Being active in my sub-branch as its president and councillor has been a great way to reclaim that space.  I’m ready to contribute more to the AEU and would welcome the opportunity to do so as a member of the ACT Branch Executive.


Tania Blak

Tania_Blak.jpgMy name is Tania Blak and I am currently working at Black Mountain School. I am very excited to be in the process of electing our new executive team and proud to have my name on the ballot. I firmly believe in due process, systems thinking, big picture planning and belonging to something that is bigger than just me, or my workplace. I lived in British Columbia, Canada for the last seventeen years and returned to Australia almost three years ago. I am happy and excited to be back home in Australia and bring an understanding of the important role of a union in the workplace.


Don Bemrose

Don_Bemrose.JPGAs a proud Gungarri man and educator I bring to the role of General Membership Representative a strong belief in the power of the people united. I have stood at the forefront of rallies, marches and community meetings to speak on behalf of those that feel disempowered in the presence of the hierarchy. I have 20 years' experience in governance roles at local, state and national organisations. In this role I will continue to support workplace rights and entitlements and be a powerful voice for every member of our strengthening ACT Australian Education Union.





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