At the Annual General meeting on November 13 we heard an Executive Report, a Financial Statement including a 2016 budget, and reports from Wagga Wagga and Armidale. The following were elected:
President: Max Prince; Secretary: Allan West; Treasurer: Ray McDonald; Speaker Organiser: Vacant: Blog Master: Terry Jones; Assistant Secretary: Margaret De La Garde; Hospitality Organiser: Barbara MacGregor; Vice Presidents: Shirley Bains, Ron Denham, Geoff Dyer, one vacant; Octogenarian Cake Coordinator: Therese Medhurst; Other Committee Members: Ian Massingham, Carol Price, Helen Duffy, Chrys Marshall, Don Morrison, Jack Walker, Merv Murchie, Frank Scharfe; Auditors: Winifred and Kevin Wilcox; Returning Officer: Des Moore.
Union Aid Abroad-APHEDA: Margaret De La Garde; Combined Retired Union Members Association (CRUMA): Ron Denham; Combined Pensioners and Superannuants Association (CPSA): Shirley Bains, May Steilberg; Ageing Alliance: Allan West, Shirley Bains; Australian Council of Public Sector Retiree Organisations (ACPSRO): Margaret De La Garde, May Steilberg; ANTaR: Allan West; AFTINet: Ian Massingham; Quality Aged Care Action Group: Shirley Bains; ABC Friends: Des Moore, Ray McDonald.
Alison Rahill of Unions NSW attended the October 19 meeting. A union campaign to focus on federal marginal seats at next year’s election would highlight workers’ rights and jobs, Medicare, education, public services owned by everyone, a secure retirement (decent pensions and superannuation), a fair go for all.
There are electorate boundary changes in NSW: Dobell becomes more Labor, Robertson more Liberal, Banks more Liberal, Eden-Monaro loses Batemans Bay but gains Canberra and Queanbeyan, Throsby is now Whitlam, Barton is nominally Labor, Reid is more Liberal, Grayndler is more Green, Greenway is safe Labor. NSW loses one seat and WA gains one. Malcolm Turnbull would like to present a Budget before an election, so August-September is a likely polls date.
Ian Massingham reported from the last Australian Fair Trade and Investment Network (AFTINet) meeting that the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (6000 pages) was released on November 6. The text will be reviewed by parliamentary committees next year before voting on certain items (e.g. in Australia, patents last five years, but the US wants eight years).
In Margaret’s absence, Allan reported that soon after the ACPSRO AGM on October 19, Chairman Ron Dean passed away; Ron was the principal public service architect of Australia’s Superannuation Guarantee Scheme and will be sadly missed. His position as National President of ACPSRO has been filled by Richard Griffiths. ACPSRO estimates that at least 47,000 pensioners would be affected by the Budget legislation to be enacted on January 1.
Alarm that only GST is on the table
Shirley Bains moved that the RTA is alarmed that the only item being placed on the table for the Tax Summit seems to be the proposal to increase the GST to 15 per cent and to have it imposed on all items hitherto excluded, including fresh food, health and education. RTA is totally opposed to any increase in the GST as it is a regressive tax that will affect pensioners, low-income workers and self-funded retirees.
We demand that the government place on the table issues such as the abolition of negative gearing; reform of superannuation loopholes to stop the wealthy from using super as another tax haven; increase in the Medicare levy; greater penalties for tax cheats; more staff for the tax office in order to catch those offenders.
Plea to stop pension cut
Irene Stansmore moved that the RTA write to the federal government, opposing the Budget amendment legislation changing the ground rules regarding retirees’ eligibility for part-age pension.
This is unfair as decisions made at the time of retirement were based on the situation at the time (at least $10,000 for a couple and some lose their pension entirely). The severity of the loss asks “too much from too few”; this change to the eligibility rules targets low to middle-income ex-public servants and women in particular.
Congrats to Gonski
Shirley moved that RTA write to David Gonski, congratulating him on his efforts to have better equity in education. We believe that the review he and his panel produced is a landmark document. We welcome the fact that he continues to promote the principles of this document and take heart from his genuine praise for all school educators he met during his research for the review. We endorse his remarks that “governments need to embrace the importance of school education to individuals and to the productivity of our society. There needs to be a commitment to a properly-funded needs-based aspirational system and a failure to do so would be to our detriment”.
Indigenous support wanted
David Hickey wants short-term support in years 7 and 8 maths at Maroubra with 10 Indigenous students. Contact him on (02) 9349 7333 or 0417 603 132 or on email.
The current edition and back issues of Education are already available on the front page of Federation’s website. Federation is working towards canvassing members about “opting out” of receiving printed copies of the journal to reduce costs and our carbon footprint. We acknowledge the RTA’s interest and thank them for raising the matter in their last meeting.
Allan West is the Secretary, NSW Retired Teachers Association (rtansw.blogspot.com) and can be contacted on (02) 9484 5693.