RETIRED TEACHERS ASSOCIATION

Allan West

Super company a Pillar of the Gong

Pillar is an integral part of State Super and a big Wollongong employer that must be kept in public hands, the NSW RTA says. Members are urging the NSW Treasurer not to flog off the organisation. The excuse advanced, that Pillar requires a $39 million computer upgrade, is unsustainable. Such spending should be a normal funding expense for a corporation that employs 300 people in a regional city.

Seniors’ preferences exhausting

Canberra is being urged to democratise Senate voting procedures. This year, NSW voters faced a ballot paper with 110 candidates, leading to the election of at least one Senator who attracted less than two per cent of the primary vote. RTA members feel democracy is not served when elections can be decided by obscure preference deals. As seniors, we resent having to vote above the line, but exhausting our preferences are impossible for many of us. We believe there should be preferential voting, above or below the line.

Illiteracy a ‘national disgrace’

Members want to know the criteria used by the ABS to determine that 50 per cent of Tasmanian adults are functionally illiterate. The extraordinary figure, for Tasmanians aged 15 to 74, features in Australian Bureau of Statistics figures for 2011-2012. The RTA is calling on the new Federal Education Minister to announce plans to deal with the Tasmanian situation which it labelled a “national disgrace”.

Military intelligence

The federal review of military pensions will inform lobbying for public service pensions, Margaret De La Garde reported from the Australian Council of Public Sector Retirees Organisations (ACPSRO) AGM in Canberra. A letter is being drafted by Ewen Hazell about senior Health Card recipients, pointing out the income indexation limit has not been increased since 2001.

Survival rates rise

Tony Brenl, a retired diagnostic pathologist who volunteers with the Cancer Council, spoke to our October meeting. The council receives income from donations, talks and bequests. Tony distributed three pamphlets entitled Research for Every Stage of the Cancer Journey, A Cancer Prevention Plan for Women and Can You Spot Skin Cancer? There is no cure for cancer but early detection has dramatically increased survival rates.

Peace prize tickets

Dr Cynthia Maung, who has managed a medical clinic on the Thai-Myanmar border for more than a decade, has won the 2013 Sydney Peace Prize. There will be a reception at Sydney Town Hall from 6pm on November 6. Tickets are $35 through Ticketek.

Warming to Climate Council

The RTA has condemned the Federal Government’s decision to sack the Climate Commission and congratulated Tim Flannery and other Commission members on their decision to establish Climate Council Australia and provide their services free of remuneration. The RTA noted a funding appeal raised $1 million, in its first week, to help the Council function.

Funeral costs spiral

The RTA is calling for GST to be removed from funerals and for the abolition of regulations preventing the non-religious being buried in cardboard coffins or shrouds. The RTA will write to the Premier pointing out that Muslim and Jewish burials and cremations are allowed without wooden coffins.

Call to retain bridge

The Glebe Island Bridge should be protected, members say. They want the Premier to retain the threatened heritage site for use by cyclists and pedestrians. Public transport, cycling and pedestrian access should be an intrinsic part of our urban planning for sustainable development.

Octogenarian cakes

Ken Muir needs names of new octogenarian RTA members to receive Christmas Cakes this year. Phone (02) 9660 0151.

Allan West is the Secretary, NSW Retired Teachers Association and can be contacted on (02) 9484 5693. The RTA blogsite is rtansw.blogspot.com .

Social news

Sydney

For more information, contact Allan West or connect to RTA blog rtansw.blogspot.com or Federation’s website at www.nswtf.org.au.

Tuesday December 10: Christmas Up the River 10.30am Wharf 5 Circular Quay 12 Noon Sydney Rowing Club, 613 Great North Road, Abbotsford.

Wagga Wagga

For more information contact Geoff Amos by phone (02) 6922 5108 or email amosglje@bigpond.net.au.

Tuesday November 19: Visit to Corowa

Next meetings

Sydney

Friday December 13: 12.15pm Christmas Lunch; 1pm Christmas Performance by Darlington PS students; 2pm meeting.

Wagga Wagga

Tuesday December 10: 10am Riverina NSWTF Office, Weedon Chambers, cnr Gurwood and Trail Sts, Wagga Wagga. Election of Officers for 2014, Christmas get-together, early planning for 2014.

Armidale

For more information contact Anne Parnell (aparnel2@une.edu.au).