What happens at the RTA?
The Retired Teachers Association offers members opportunities to further their interests in, and support of, public education. Our monthly meetings run to strict timetables and are regularly preceded by great guest speakers who present topics of interest and relevance. Members also enjoy a wide range of social activities that include lunches, excursions and visits to cultural exhibitions and galleries. If you’re a retired or soon-to-be retired teacher, why not join us? More information is available from Federation.
TAFE education concerns
Enid Hokin addressed our November meeting on the importance of strong publicly funded TAFE colleges and the declining resources that they are receiving from the State Government. The corresponding rise of private institutions that are beginning to take TAFE’s place has led to a dearth of adequately trained tradespeople in NSW. Enid’s motion calling on the Berejiklian Government to restore adequate funding to the TAFE sector was unanimously supported by members.
Federation is 100 next year
Federation arrives at its 100th birthday in 2018 and the three themes for its centenary are celebration, preservation and engagement.
David Wynne, Kim Richards and Jason Nicholas outlined some of the planning that has already occurred and the events that will be taking place during what will be an exciting and informative 12 months. Anyone who is interested in public education and trade unionism can expect a year jam-packed with special events, exhibitions, competitions, oral histories, pictorial histories, research projects, highlighted features in Education and much more.
As we approach the end of 2017, never has there been a greater need for trade unions and organisations that support and enhance public education.
From the October meeting of the Combined Retired Union Members Association (CRUMA), Ron Denham revealed that more than one third of large corporations within Australia paid no tax for the 2013/2014 financial year. In addition, one large corporation has amassed a 10-year $2.6 billion tax debt.
All of this is happening while the Turnbull Government is focused on introducing the Ensuring Integrity bill to Parliament. Trade unions, it seems, need to be subject to severe government scrutiny but rich and powerful companies escape that same legislative blowtorch.
The Australian Miscellaneous Workers Union has also reported that the Federal Government’s deficit is now unstoppable due mainly to increased military spending.
Margaret De La Garde presented a report from the Australian Council of Public Sector Retiree Organisations (ACPSRO). The group has written to the Senate Economics Legislative Commission about the inadequacies of using the CPI as a tool of indexation for public sector employee superannuation payments. The response from Mathias Cormann suggests that the scheme is very generous and that the current system of indexation will remain.
At our November meeting, Ian Massingham reported from the Australian Fair Trade and Investment Network (AFTINet). The 11 remaining countries of the Trans-Pacific Partnership are continuing to meet in the hope of reviving the agreement.
The Peru-Australia Free Trade Agreement was concluded on 10 November and it has been couched in secrecy. Jason Clare, federal shadow minister for trade and investment, argues that more consultation is needed before the agreement is signed.
AFTINet also has concerns regarding the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). These issues include the RCEP reducing the affordability of medicines, compromising workers’ rights and increasing corporate control over agriculture.
Do you remember the Teachers’ rugby team?
The Centenary organisers are very keen to hear from anyone who was associated with the Teachers’ Rugby team which was still competing up until the early 1970s. In particular, if you possess or know of anyone who possesses a jersey from the team, could you please contact Kim or David at Federation.
Our first two meetings for 2018 will be at Federation House on Friday, 9 February and Friday, 2 March. Both meetings commence with lunch at 12.15pm, followed by a guest speaker at 1pm and conclude with a general meeting starting at 2pm.
To all retired teachers, best wishes for the festive season and a happy and healthy New Year.
Paul Regan is the Administrative Secretary, NSW Retired Teachers Association