Borders act rescission
Ian Massingham moved that the RTA call upon the Labor caucus to move rescission of the Border Force Act (2015). Teachers in Australia are obliged to report child abuse. The publicly esteemed Royal Commission into Institutional Child Abuse recognises the failure to report abuse in the past.
Contrary to these attitudes, teachers, doctors and nurses are now threatened with two years’ gaol if they declare abuse in detention centres.
Gillian Triggs — 2016 Australian of the Year?
Shirley Bain moved that the RTA write to Professor Gillian Triggs, President of the Australian Human Rights Commission, congratulating her on her courage in raising genuine concern over the erosion of civil rights and the growing threat to democracy in Australia. “Further, we condemn the actions of those members of the Abbott Government ministry who have waged relentless attacks on the integrity and impartiality of Professor Triggs,” the proposal said.
Barbara McGregor suggested that RTA members vote for Professor Triggs as 2016 Australian of the Year by August 3.
Sydney WEA tutors
Michael Newton, the Director of the Sydney WEA (72 Bathurst Street, Sydney, (02) 9264 2781) said WEA was always looking for tutors ($50 per hour); classes are sessional (two hours for five to 10 sessions). There are independent WEAs in the Hunter, Illawarra and South Australia, a Distance Education program and a library. Classes are 9am–9pm during weekdays and 9am–5pm on Saturdays. There is a 10 per cent discount on lectures for NSWTF members.
Indonesia under Joko
On June 12, Terry Jones introduced Dr Vannessa Hearman, University of Sydney. She spoke on “Jokowi Prabowo” — the Indonesian President, Joko Widodo and the presidential candidate he defeated, retired Lieutenant-General Prabowo Subianto — and what Joko has done before and after taking office. Dr Hearman's donation will go to the Blue Mountains East Timor Sisters.
Budget black day for super-pensioners
Barry Spooner told the RTA about the federal Budget’s proposed changes for those receiving State Super and part-Aged Pensions. For the part-Aged Pension, there will be an income and an asset test. The tax-free component of the income test has been reduced to 10 per cent of the super payment: this produces a reduction in part-pension fortnightly payments of $400 or more ($10,000 a year). Don Morrison moved that the RTA write to non-conservative senators, urging them to vote against changes to the capping of the income test for the aged pension. This change will disproportionately affect women who live longer and who comprise the majority of former teachers and a high proportion of former public servants.
Margaret De La Garde suggested that the Australian Council of Public Sector Retiree Organisations (ACPSRO) send a letter to senators thanking them for opposing the government’s intention to downgrade Age Pension indexation to CPI only from 2017/18 and urging them to vote against the Social Services and Other Legislation Amendment Bill. At the May 5 ACPSRO meeting, the need was expressed for a new index to measure street prices, producing a true cost of living adjustment. ACPSRO is preparing a submission to the ANU Keating Committee inquiry into Sustainable Development Review for Retirement; the Future Fund has just reported a nine-month growth of 15 per cent, totalling $117 billion.
Friends of the ABC
Des Moore reported that the Central Coast group had a successful meeting on May 22 with Dr Fiona Martin, senior lecturer in convergent and online media at the University of Sydney, who spoke on the new digital age.
Call for State Super to divest from fossil fuels
The grouping 350.org started in 1988 by NASA scientist James Hanson, was given worldwide coverage by Al Gore in an effort to keep emissions of carbon dioxide below the level of 350ppm, that is, to a level needed for the protection of the planet. We are currently at 400ppm.
Barbara McGregor moved that the RTA call on the Federation Executive to request State Super to meet 350.org to discuss divestment plans for this year — divestment not only from coal but from all fossil fuels.
May Steilberg moved that the RTA deplore the closure of the Australian National Preventative Health Agency (ANPHA). The body’s comprehensive review of alcohol advertising regulation in Australia and its draft recommendations for greater protection of children and young people exposed to alcohol advertising in sport is likely to be removed. We ask the federal and NSW ministries of health to reinstate ANPHA and all its recommendations.
Plea for greater access to railway toilets
Ray McDonald moved that the RTA expresses concern that the public toilets at Wynyard and Central Railway Stations are now sited so that they can only be visited by patrons with a ticket. This leaves limited facilities for the homeless and disadvantaged. The RTA is also concerned that most toilets are locked at night, with no supervision. During the day, little supervision is given, even when staff are present.