Ok, so that is an exaggeration. The 2023 AEU Federal Women’s Conference, hosted by the ACT Branch culminated in a day of collective action at Parliament House. Rather than storming the ‘big house’, AEU women members engaged in lobbying of politicians in an orderly and highly targeted fashion. In what can only be described as an organisational triumph, meetings were held between groups of AEU women delegates from around the country and members of the house of reps and senators from that state or territory. More than 60 meetings were held across the day.
For ACT delegates, meetings were held with Kristy McBain (Eden-Monaro), Senator David Pocock (ACT), Andrew Leigh (Fenner) and Alicia Payne (Canberra). Two representatives from the ACT delegation (Steph and Bec) also met with Education Minister Jason Clare as part of a group of women comprising teacher members from all states and territories.
This collective action is part of the AEU For Every Child campaign. All schools must be properly resourced for every child to reach their potential. AEU women called on their elected representatives to commit to full funding of public schools.
ACT public schools are the only public schools receiving 100% of the Schooling Resource Standard (SRS) – the minimum funding required to meet the needs of all students. Our lobbying took a slightly different focus. We left politicians in no doubt that unsustainable workloads are impacting the health and wellbeing of the teaching profession and contributing to rising attrition rates and a worsening teacher shortage. Unless workloads are reduced and additional time is provided for teachers to teach and leaders to lead, the quality of education delivered is at risk of being undermined. Our students deserve better. Our members deserve better.
Congratulations to the members of the ACT delegation who represented our branch with strength and dignity and were inspired and empowered in the process.