$1600 raised for Stewart House

Janine Kitson
President, Ryde-Macquarie Teachers Association

Governments need to make full employment a priority, former Federation President Maree O’Halloran told a successful Ryde-Macquarie Teachers Association fundraising dinner.

Ms O’Halloran, now director of the Welfare Rights Centre, explained why governments should deliver best practice welfare policies in concert with employment legislation that aims for fair, full and secure employment.

Association Secretary Angela Kellahan and Federation Life Member Suzann Napthali hosted an evening attended by more than 60 guests, including Greens education spokesperson Dr John Kaye and Federation members from the Parramatta, Hills, Inner West, Blacktown, TAFE and Retired teachers associations.

Federation President Maurie Mulheron delivered a strong message about the need for vigilance over the corporatisation of public education.

Feliana McKenzie was recognised with Association ife membership for being an active Fed Rep at every school she has worked at since starting out at Guildford West Public School in 1980.

Fel belongs to a generation that campaigned strongly against the Metherell ‘reforms’ of the late 80s. It was the experience of working in a disadvantaged school and seeing how quality public education could make such a difference to young lives that galvanised her commitment to Federation.

Pierre Masse was also recognised with Association life membership for his activism as a TAFE teacher, campaigning for workers’ rights, stopping TAFE funding cuts, the environment, gay rights and the humane treatment of asylum seekers. Most proudly, Pierre advocated for a well-funded, secular, quality public education and TAFE system, open to all.

Following a DVD on Stewart House, the charity's liaison officers Christine Hawkins and Vanessa Harrison moved guests with stories of how the program had made a difference to many lives.

Another highlight was a message of support from Australian Education Union President Angelo Gavrielatos who congratulated parents and community members for backing the Gonski campaign on school funding.

”We have every reason to be optimistic that the partnership we have forged with parents and the community will grow stronger and lead to further improvements for public education,” he said.

The Association’s third annual Stewart House dinner raised $1654.