At the Annual General Meeting on November 11, the following officebearers were elected to the Retired Teachers Association for 2017:
Positions with honoraria:
President: Max Prince; Secretary: Allan West; Treasurer: Ian Massingham; Speakers Coordinator: Anne-Marie Kestle; Blog Master: Terry Jones
Positions without honoraria:
Assistant Secretary: Margaret De La Garde; Hospitality Organiser: Margaret De La Garde; Vice Presidents: Shirley Bains, Geoff Dyer, Ron Denham, Ray McDonald; Octogenarian Cake Coordinator: Therese Medhurst; other committee members: Helen Duffy, Chrys Marshall, Don Morrison, Jack Walker, Kerry Regan, Paul Regan, Frank Scharfe; Returning Officer: Frank Scharfe
Union Aid Abroad-APHEDA: Ray McDonald; 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; Australians for Native Title and Reconciliation (ANTaR): Allan West; Australian Fair Trade and Investment Network (AFTINet): Ian Massingham; Quality Aged Care Action Group (QACAG): Shirley Bains; ABC Friends: Ray McDonald, Des Moore.
The RTA Executive Report, Financial Statement, and Report from Wagga Wagga RTA were presented at the AGM.
Calling all retiring teachers
ACTU policy dictates Federation members have only six months to join the RTA. Contact Federation’s Membership section to join. You are welcome at meetings in Sydney, Wagga Wagga and Armidale.
Margaret De La Garde distributed The Consumer Price Index in Periods of Rapid Technological Change by Tom Hayes of the Australian Council of Public Sector Retiree Organisations (ACPSRO), which describes the inadequacy of the consumer price index in current times. Copies are available.
Ron Denham reported on the October 17 meeting of the Combined Retired Union Members Association (CRUMA). Two minutes’ silence was observed for Joan Day, past CRUMA Secretary and a member of United Voice. A large protest rally was held outside Wyong Hospital to alert the public about the proposed privatisation of the hospital. A “green ban” has been requested on the Eveleigh Workshops following the sell-off of the complex. Four of the NSW RTA resolutions from the October 14 meeting were endorsed by CRUMA.
The Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) reported that 600 seafarers in Australia were currently out of work; validation of a seafarer’s training/qualifications is required every five years, which includes time at sea for at least three months; the MUA is investigating the purchase of a training vessel from Germany for $200,000 to be used to enable seafarers to regain qualifications at minimum cost. The MUA credit union is proposing to become Unity Bank to enable the organisation to survive; of 300 trade-related credit unions, only 17 are still operating; some of these credit unions are looking at becoming mutual banks. United Voice reported that one million overseas visa holders enter Australia each year and many are exploited. Australian part-time workers are perpetually kept on stand-by with no job security.
Ian Massingham felt that with Donald Trump’s election win in the United States, the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) is dead; a key business group told the Australian Senate the TPPA would cost 39,000 Australian jobs through holding up business; Kim Beazley commented that the TPPA was in America’s interests. The Regional Economic Cooperative Plan involves negotiations between China, the 10 ASEAN countries, Japan, Australia and New Zealand. Open letters have been sent to governments about the availability of cheaper medicines.
El Salvador had to spend $12 million in legal costs to stop Australian-Canadian mining corporation OceanaGold from polluting rivers but in October the World Bank tribunal ruled that OceanaGold pay $8 million of the country’s legal costs and rejected its application to make El Salvador pay $US250 million ($328 million) as compensation. The Australian government has refused to state how much it has spent fighting cigarette giant Philip Morris and opposing tobacco products.
The RTA’s petition to AFTINet calls for the removal of harmful intellectual property provisions that could potentially raise treatment costs by creating new forms of pharmaceutical monopolies and delaying the entry of affordable generics in the market, especially from India.
Changes to 18(c)
Enid Hokin moved that the NSW RTA is completely opposed to any attempt by the federal government to water down Section 18c of the Human Rights legislation. Both the government and its vocal supporters in this matter, under a mantle of freedom of speech, seek to gain power to attack very vulnerable people in our society. We must speak up to defend these people.
Save The Forest HS
Shirley Bains moved that the RTA protests, in the strongest possible terms, against any decision by the NSW government to demolish The Forest High School as part of a rezoning plan.
Ban on asylum-seekers
Enid Hokin moved that the NSW RTA is appalled by the government’s proposal, led by Immigration Minister Peter Dutton, to prevent anyone detained on Manus Island or Nauru from ever subsequently setting foot in Australia, to visit as a tourist or to connect with relatives in this country. Australia has been condemned by the United Nations for this, but, undeterred, the government maintains its position and seeks a seat on the UN Human Rights Commission. The government seems determined to create a country without conscience.
Allan West is the Secretary, NSW Retired Teachers Association and can be contacted on (02) 9484 5693