RETIRED TEACHERS ASSOCIATION

Allan West

Vale Harvey Rose and Don Brown

Harvey Rose passed away recently and Ray Cavenagh wrote a stirring obituary in the December 7 issue of Education. Harvey was head teacher of English at Killarney Heights HS and Mayor of Pittwater. He was a great educator, strong activist and keen Federation member. Shirley Bains knew him well in the Warringah TA. He produced a pamphlet showing how public education was superior to the private sector.

Don Brown, an English teacher and deputy principal of Killarney Heights HS, also died recently. He wrote extensively in the Sydney Morning Herald on social issues, including criticism of the war in Iraq and our treatment of migrants. He authored Off Darling Street, which a newspaper obituary described as “a beautiful novel” that looked at the colourful lives of people who lived in Balmain. He was a friend of Shirley’s late husband, Harold; like him, he loved Federation and Mahler.

Max called us to stand for a minute’s silence.

ACPSRO report

May Steilberg reported that the Australian Council of Public Sector Retirees (ACPSRO) will continue to seek information from member organisations about reactions to and more information about the cap on defined benefit streams.

On January 11, prior to the first pension payment this year (January 14) ACPSRO it issued a media release expressing apprehension about the effect of the cap. It took issue with the government’s view that the previous scheme was an “anomaly”, saying it had been “entirely consistent with the 2007 Better Super treatment of all tax-paid pensions”.

On December 3, ACPSRO met the ALP former minister Jenny Macklin’s adviser, Alistair Webster, who said Labor would be prepared to ask questions at the Supplementary Estimates hearing (around March). ACPSRO made the following suggestions:

  • to fix a lower limit so that pensions below that level were exempt;
  • grandfather the measure;
  • provide good financial advice from sources other than Centrelink for those affected;
  • affected pensioners to target their local members about the unfairness of a “one size fits all” model. The President, Richard Griffiths, approached Margaret De La Garde about making contact with other public sector unions that had members adversely affected by the 10 per cent cap on their defined benefit pension. Ron Denham will also ask the Combined Retired Union Members Association (CRUMA) for input.

Privatising Pillar

Ian Massingham moved that the RTA urge the NSW Treasurer to resist the temptation to sell Pillar Administration, the NSW Government superannuation services business. The decision is ideologically-driven. All scoping studies of value overstate the advantages and minimise the costs, as asset recycling benefits financial institutions by the commissions they receive. Where is the proof that government ownership of Pillar is not in the interests of taxpayers or Pillar’s clients?

Keating’s call

Shirley Bains moved that RTA endorses the call of former prime minister, Paul Keating, for non-Indigenous Australians to “see the country through the eyes of its First People”. We agree that our Australian identity will not be settled until it is recognised that Aboriginal Australia is part of that identity.

We congratulate Mr Keating for his forthright comments, made at the 23rd celebration of his Redfern Message of Reconciliation. “The more we rejoice in their identity — and their oneness with the country — the more the country will become ours as we become nearer its spirituality and form,” he said.

Aged care action

Shirley Bains said they are still battling for qualified nurses to be stationed in nursing homes at all times. The group will have a policeman speaking on “Abuse of the Older Person” at its next meeting.

Triggs applauded

Enid Hokin moved that the NSW RTA congratulate the President of the Australian Human Rights Commission, Professor Gillian Triggs, for her commitment to human rights for asylum-seekers, in sharp contrast to the policies of both the Labor and Coalition parties and the government’s practice. We also commend her nomination for Australian of the Year.

Abbott condemned

Enid Hokin moved that the RTA condemn former prime minister Tony Abbott for his denigrating comments about Muslims, which make it so much more difficult for Muslims to feel part of our country and welcome in our society. It is high time for Tony Abbott to retire from public life and accept he is no longer relevant.

Darlington’s Noel

Twenty students of the Junior Choir (K–2) of Darlington PS sang Christmas carols at the December 11 RTA meeting. The audience included members and workers at Federation, including President Maurie Mulheron who thanked the choir and wished us all a Happy Christmas. Max Prince presented the teachers with a cheque for $200.

Call for Education by email

If RTA members give their email addresses when paying Federation fees, Education could, if they wish, be issued electronically.

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

Social news

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

Tuesday, February 16: Luncheon at 99 on York at 12 noon (meeting to decide social program March-December).

Wednesday, February 24, 10.45am: Visit to Stewart House, South Curl Curl with lunch at Harbord Diggers (Allan West, (02) 9484 5693)

Next meetings

SYDNEY:
Friday, February 12, 2016: 12.15pm lunch; 1pm Diana Bernard speaks on “Senior Rights Service — what I should know”; 2pm general meeting

Wagga Wagga
For information contact Geoff Amos on (02) 6922 5108 or email.

ARMIDALE:
For information contact Elizabeth O’Hara on 0408 67 0684 or email.