Allan West

Demystifying genetic research

At our March 14 meeting, Allan West introduced Jennifer Philps, Community Relations Manager at the Children’s Medical Research Institute (CMRI) in Westmead. She talked about demystifying complex scientific concepts and explained the latest developments in medical research. A pamphlet, Discovery Booklet, was distributed. The CMRI began in 1958 and broke away from the Children’s Hospital in 1985 when the institute’s focus shifted from treating patients to genetic research.

Ron Denham thanked Jennifer for her informative talk. Her $200 donation will go to CMRI.

AFTINet report

Ian Massingham encouraged members to access the AFTINet website and sign the current petition. (There is a link through the RTA blog.)

Camden toxic facts

For those who have worked at this school, there is a Camden HS toxic site fact sheet at

Keep Section 18c

Enid Hokin moved that the NSW RTA considers that retention of Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act is absolutely essential for the protection of the marginalised minorities and frequently voiceless members of our society. Latter-day exponents of absolute freedom of speech are attempting to establish a situation in which the powerful would have complete freedom to insult, threaten and intimidate those unable to defend themselves.

Concern over health card

Barbara McGregor moved that the RTA is concerned at the possibility that access to the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card could be curtailed in the next federal Budget. The benefits attached to this card are vital for aging people on limited incomes.

Opposition to further media deregulation

Enid Hokin moved that the NSW RTA strenuously oppose any further deregulation, as proposed by Minister Malcolm Turnbull, of the media industry. The current laws had allowed Rupert Murdoch’s News to own and control 70 per cent of Australia’s print media and there is grave concern that further deregulation would allow Murdoch access to TV or radio or both. The 70 per cent control of print media is unprecedented in any democratic country. Elsewhere, the norm is around 13 per cent. Malcolm Turnbull declared that Murdoch is the most normal mogul he knows and that he is just an everyday media mogul. The Government is holding consultations with media executives.

Both Malcolm Turnbull and the Prime Minister are committed to “less regulation and more freedom”. The RTA sees this as more freedom for all mass communications outlets to be placed in the hands of fewer and fewer multimillionaires.

Food ratings removal

Enid Hokin moved that the NSW RTA call for the resignation of the Assistant Minister of Health, Fiona Nash, for her “disgraceful” removal, within hours, of a carefully prepared advice sheet on healthy food ratings by health experts. Senator Nash closed down, at a cost of $1 million (so far), the Alcohol and Other Drugs Council of Australia. The council had been funded for 50 years because of the major functions and resource services it provided for people working in the drug and alcohol sectors. This important body cost only between $1.3 million and $1.6 million annually. Yet Senator Nash had said her reason for closing down the council was that she could no longer afford to fund it.

Music education for all

Patricia Campbell-Hardwick moved that the Education Minister ensures that all children, primary and secondary, receive a good music education from specialist music teachers.

Teaching resources available

There is a container of English and history teaching resources, up to 15 years old, at South Windsor. Ring Rita (02) 4572 0202.

Palm Sunday Peace March

The NSW Ecumenical Council is reviving the Palm Sunday Peace Rally and March beginning at 1pm Hyde Park North on April 13 with the theme Declare Peace on Refugees.

Teaching opportunities

  • Paid teachers of English in China (with expenses). Ring Richard or Valerie 0409 904 613.
  • Voluntary support of homework assistance for female students in the Aboriginal Hostel at Allambie Heights on Sunday afternoons
  • Red Cross Parramatta needs volunteer tutors to assist under 25-parents in re-engaging with their studies. Ring Autumn Pierce on (02) 8383 7505 or email

Budget Talk

John Daley, Grattan Institute, will speak on the Budget on May 1 at the Metcalf Auditorium Library of NSW, Macquarie Street, Sydney from 6–7pm.

Allan West is the Secretary, NSW Retired Teachers Association and can be contacted on (02) 9484 5693. The RTA blogsite is

Social news

For more information, contact Allan West or connect to RTA blog or Federation’s website at

Wednesday April 9: Tour of Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries Costumes at Old Government House, Parramatta Park noon $14. Meet outside Parramatta RSL, Macquarie Street, Parramatta at 11am; book with Allan West (02) 9484 5693.

Tuesday April 15: Luncheon at Bowlers Club, 99 York Street, Sydney at noon.

Monday May 19: 10.30am. Tour of Hurstville Museum and Rolling Stones Exhibition, McMahon Street, Hurstville. Phone Margaret De La Garde (02) 9150 4003.

Wagga Wagga
For more information contact Geoff Amos by phone (02) 6922 5108 or email

Tuesday April 15: Visit to Kurrajong Waratah E-Waste Recyclers.

Next meetings

Friday April 11: 12.15pm lunch; 1pm Neil Perry, Lecturer in Environmental Economics, UWS on The Repealing of the Carbon Pricing Legislation; 2pm meeting.

Wagga Wagga
For more information contact Geoff Amos (02) 6922 5108 or
Tuesday May 20: at Riverina Regional Office of NSWTF, Weedon Chambers, Gurwood and Trail Streets, Wagga Wagga 10.45am.

For more information contact Anne Parnell (