Anzac and Anzackery
This was the topic of Dr David Stephens, Honest History Inc. at our May 13 meeting. He criticised extreme rhetoric about Anzac that led to excessive expenditure such as the building and upkeep of the Sir John Monash Interpretive Centre at Villiers Bretonneux, costing in excess of $100 million. His donation is directed to the charity for the care and reintegration of wounded soldiers, Soldier On. In David’s view, it is a better way to spend commemoration money.
Margaret De La Garde reported that the Australian Council of Public Sector Retiree Organisation’s (ACPSRO) feels it is a good time to push multi-indexation for the age pension as CPI was higher than MTAWE (male total average weekly earnings).
In the last Budget the 10 per cent tax offset for defined benefits was enshrined with a $10,000 limit from July 1, 2017 and superannuation limits of $1.6 million and post-tax contributions of $500,000. ACPSRO issued a media statement, ‘Retirement incomes — lessons from the Budget’, on May 11, which is available online. National Seniors Australia welcomed the appointment of Dr Kay Patterson as Age Discrimination Commissioner.
The Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) told the Combined Retired Union Members Association (CRUMA) that a fifth of merchant shipping off the coast of the United States had to be local and built in the US; some Australian seafaring jobs are going to Australian Workers Union workers who are paid less than MUA members; a Fair Shipping campaign has begun to expose the disgusting conditions of Third World seafarers.
CRUMA supported the call by Labor and the Greens for a full public inquiry into corporate tax avoidance.
Shirley Bains reported back from the Combined Pensioners and Superannuants Association (CPSA) of NSW that residents of nursing homes have now lost the right for a nurse to be on duty 24/7; she advised members to ask homes about their policies regarding nurses when applying. We believe that the nursing home industry should be subject to a realistic set of standards, in order to rate the performance of providers.
Reinstate prison teachers
Glynnis Brown moved that RTA oppose the reduction of teaching prison officers in NSW from 158 to 58, and call for their immediate reinstatement. These teachers have been made redundant because they are “not teaching skills”. We have figures showing that 74 per cent prisoners are illiterate (87 per cent of Aboriginal prisoners), and there is need to improve reading and writing skills to counter recidivism.
Reporting back from the Australian Free Trade and Investment Network (AFTINet), Ian Massingham advised members to ask election candidates to commit themselves to a fight against the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA).
Authorities including Michael Kirby, former High Court justice, will examine how poorer countries will be affected by the TPPA. Trade deals will impose costs of up to $88 million on Australians.
Vale Dr John Kaye
Enid Hokin moved that the NSW RTA deeply mourns the untimely death of Dr John Kaye, passionate advocate and campaigner for public education. Allan Terry moved that the AEU NSWTF branch be asked to confer Honorary Life Membership posthumously to John Kaye.
Plea for Gonski
Barbara McGregor moved that the RTA deplores the refusal of the Coalition to fully fund the final two years of the Gonski Review. This decision will continue to produce inequity for the next generation of Australian children.
Enid Hokin moved that the RTA reminds the NSW government that we still oppose increases in public transport fares for all passengers, particularly pensioners and seniors.
Allan West is the Secretary, NSW Retired Teachers Association, and can be contacted on (02) 9484 5693