Dedicated advocates honoured for life

Shelley Dempsey

Seven teachers with an outstanding record of union activism have been inducted as Federation Life Members.

On the first day of the 2017 Annual Conference, held at the International Convention Centre at Darling Harbour, Life Membership was bestowed on:

  • Raymond Cochrane
  • Noel Creenaune
  • Michael Crennan
  • Gary Dunbier
  • Jennifer Jenkins-Flint
  • Bradden Spillane
  • Geoff Turnbull

Raymond Cochrane has actively campaigned through his long career for disadvantaged schools, smaller class sizes and led opposition against issues such as NAPLAN and the Basic Skills Test.

As a former Country Organiser for Federation, Noel Creenaune worked in Indigenous education and formed lasting connections with elders in many communities. He’s since taken part in three Gonski bus crusades and opposed the forced amalgamation of high schools.

With a career spanning decades, Michael Crennan has fought as an activist on issues ranging from the Greiner government’s attacks on education through to Gonski funding and he always takes the opportunity to challenge politicians and the NSW Department of Education hierarchy when needed.

As a dedicated Federation Councillor, Gary Dunbier has been a strong advocate for public education on many levels, taking a prominent role against the Howard government’s WorkChoices industrial policy, and promoting Gonski.

Former relieving TAFE Organiser Jennifer Jenkins-Flint has been a tireless advocate for women members and TAFE students, striking over teaching hours, fighting against workplace agreements and the unfair treatment of David Hicks. She retired from TAFE teaching in 2014 after 40 years full time in eight different colleges.

Brad Spillane has a record of almost 40 years of activism in different schools and associations, opposing workplace changes for teachers, resisting TAFE and school amalgamations and confronting politicians on matters such as Liberal government education cuts. He also represented Federation on the NSW Board of Studies syllabus and has influenced development of the English syllabus.

Geoff Turnbull was President of the TAFE Teachers Association for 24 years and has a lifetime commitment to child welfare, social justice, equity and the peace movement, campaigning against the Vietnam War through to the Iraq War.

The union also paid tribute to four valued Life Members who passed away during the past 12 months: Kevin Hepworth, Graham Hill, Cris Treneman and Tony Vinson.