Allan West

Australian police culture

At our August 8 meeting, Terry Jones introduced Dr Michael Kennedy, Head of Policing Policy Programs, UWS, who spoke on this topic. Michael went from being a copy-boy at the Sydney Morning Herald to serving more than 10 years with the NSW police force where he moved from mounted police traffic duty to major crime investigator. After obtaining a PhD (while assisting in the writing of Wildside), he assumed his current position.

He has seen the police moving through discretionary practices to zero tolerance, which he sees as harmful. Ron Denham thanked Michael for the presentation. The donation will go to the St John of God Hospital, Burwood, which has an effective program for post-traumatic stress disorder victims.

CRUMA report

Ron Denham reported that 10 attended the Combined Retired Union Members Association (CRUMA) meeting on July 21. Members travelled to Canberra on July 7 to protest about the Budget (“Takes from the needy and gives to the greedy”) and call for an early election. The coach cost $1840 and the driver resisted calls for comfort stops.

A petition was circulated opposing the closure of women’s and girls’ refuges. Agents are offering money to Millers Point and Woolloomooloo public housing residents to encourage the tenants to vacate; unions cannot initiate Green Bans until residents request them.

The number of cranes at Darling Harbour will be doubled to 12; unions are cautioning the recruitment of drivers from Spain as communication in English is essential.

RTA can send three delegates to CRUMA. CRUMA requests that OK cards be re-introduced to worksites for union members. Barry Robson reported from the US that people there were surprised that asbestos was banned in Australia. Ron is unable to attend next CRUMA meeting on August 18.

APHEDA report

Ian Massingham reported that there was a demonstration at First Fleet Park while the G20 summit was on at Circular Quay; the Nurses and Midwives street theatre was excellent but it rained and the crowd had been further reduced by train delays. Ian moved that the RTA email the Secretary of the Federal Labor Caucus, asking it to vote against the implementation of legislation for the Korean-Australian Free Trade Agreement as it includes the Investment State Dispute Settlement clause that affects national safety laws.

General Secretary

RTA moved to send a thank-you note to Jenny Diamond for her service as General Secretary. Congratulations will be sent to John Dixon for his election to replace Jenny and invite him to one of our meetings this year.

Condemnation of ABC appointments

Enid Hokin moved that the NSW RTA condemn the Abbott Government for its blatant politicisation of the ABC and SBS, demonstrated by the choice of two newly-appointed panellists to fill vacancies on the body that nominates board members.

One is Janet Albrechtson who, as a Murdoch columnist for The Australian, wages an unrelenting war on the ABC and has called for the resignation of General Manager Mark Scott because of the ABC coverage of Australian intelligence operations in Indonesia. No doubt, she will continue, on behalf of Murdoch, to campaign against the very existence of a publicly-funded broadcaster. The other new panellist is Neil Brown, who was deputy leader of the Liberal Party under John Howard. In February, Mr Brown advocated the
selling of the ABC.

These obviously biased panellists are extremely unlikely to nominate board members' committed to maintaining the independence, objectivity, high standards and professionalism to which we are accustomed from the ABC and SBS.

Closure of shelters

Enid Hokin moved that the NSW Government behaved disgracefully over the issue of shelters for abused women. The people who have provided a caring, safe refuge for these women and children are to lose their jobs. The refugees from dangerous domestic situations are being referred to organisations unfamiliar with their special needs as part of the government’s so-called consolidation policy.

This cost-cutting plan will lead, in many cases, to women and their children being transferred to areas from which they have fled and in which their abusers (husbands and partners) live.

Unemployment strain

Enid Hokin moved that the NSW RTA condemns the Federal Government’s proposals on Work for the Dole and the appalling proposal that unemployed people must make 40 applications for jobs each month, an absurd proposition as, in many cases, there is a scarcity of jobs for which to apply.

People who are working for the dole or New Start will not have time to be making two applications per day for jobs, nor attending interviews at that rate; neither will they be able to afford fares to travel to job interviews. The government has completely failed to create jobs or provide retraining for those whose work skills are now redundant.

The government has only one strategy: punish the poor. If all the available jobs were filled, there would still be several hundred thousands of unemployed or underemployed.

Children in detention

Enid Hokin moved that the NSW RTA call on Immigration Minister cott Morrison, to immediately remove all children from detention, provide proper health care for these children and make arrangements for their attendance at schools. The highest priority should be for children in offshore detention.

Most Australians have been shocked and shamed by the revelations of the health of these children, the self-harming, the psychological harm suffered and deliberate punishment of removing essential medication and medical appliances from them. These outrages are not wild rumours but the evidence provided by doctors and medical workers who have been in the centres. Most shameful of all have been the instructions to doctors to conceal the facts. Australians must know the atrocities being committed in our name.

Opportunities for teaching

  • Teresa Russell, Primary Ethics Ltd. — Looking for volunteer tutors. Ring (02) 9278 1600.
  • Zoe — looking for Cambridge A Level teachers in East China —
  • Melanie Muehlbacher, Smith Family — Homework Club at Mt Druitt needs volunteer maths tutors Tuesday afternoons 3–4.30pm. Ring (02) 9853 3251 or 0401 014 157.
  • Aylin Salt, Cerebral Palsy Alliance — Volunteer tutors are needed for Cromer, Lurnea, Killarney Heights, Leichhardt, Gladesville, Kingswood, Baulkham Hills and Ingleburn. Ring (02) 8878 3554.

  • 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,
    Tuesday September 16: Luncheon at 99 York St, Sydney at noon (Chrys Marshall: (02) 9736 2284).
    Thursday September 25: Voyage and lunch on River Postman 9.45am at Brooklyn Boat Harbour, $44 (Max Prince: 0431 473 983).
    Tuesday October 14: Luncheon at 99 York St, Sydney at noon (Chrys Marshall (02) 9736 2284.
    Wednesday October 22 : Visit to Cultural Centre, Katoomba and lunch at Katoomba Centre. Party will take the 9.18am train from Central. Shirley Bains (02) 4739 6596.

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

    Tuesday September 16: Let’s Try Croquet at Wagga Wagga Croquet Club.

    Next meetings

    Friday October 10: 12.15pm lunch; 1pm Margaret Szalay speaks on “Family History and Publication of Literature”; 2pm meeting.

    For more information contact Geoff Amos (02) 6922 5108 or

    Tuesday October 21: at Riverina Regional Federation Office, Weedon Chambers, Gurwood and Trail Sts, Wagga Wagga 10.45am. Guest speaker: Federation Regional Organiser.

    For more information contact Anne Parnell (