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eYarn - Indigenous News: first edition (online version)

Posted 2 April 2012 by Celeste Liddle (Indigenous)

Welcome to the first edition of the new electronic, short version of our “Yarn” publication, imaginatively called “eYarn”. This is designed to keep the Indigenous membership up-to-date with the happenings of the Indigenous Policy Committee (IPC) and the National Indigenous Unit, relevant events and issues around the country.  It is our hope that this will go out on at least a monthly basis (and will look more flash next time!); if you have any news you wish to include in this circulation, please send it to me prior to the last Monday of each month for inclusion. So without further ado:


1.            Indigenous Forum


The 2012 National Indigenous Forum will be taking place on Saturday the 26/5 and Sunday 27/5 and call for attendees from the Branches will go out soon. The theme for this year is “Bargaining” as we are entering a new round this year.  Forum 2012 will again feature representatives from our sister union, the NZTEU, as well as various sessions and workshops and of course the forum dinner. If you are interested in attending, please keep your eye out for the link to the online registration form and let your local Branch know. Each Branch is funded to send one representative and preference goes to elected representatives and activists, however Branches and Divisions can of course send additional representatives at their cost.  


2.            The branch survey on Indigenous employment and clauses


Following on from the Indigenous motion at 2011 National Council on implementing and enforcing Indigenous clauses in Round 5 Collective Agreements, each Branch has been issued with a survey from National Office that seeks detailed information on Indigenous employment numbers, other Indigenous clauses and whether the University has been adhering to its obligations under the Collective Agreement. Results are sure to be interesting, and should be released in a report prior to Indigenous forum. This information will be used to inform parts of our next bargaining round, as well as potentially raise issues with universities (or undertake actions) with regards to their commitment to Indigenous employment. For a copy of the Industrial Memo pertaining to this survey including the questions, please don’t hesitate to drop me a line.


3.            BIITE agreement going to ballot, and other bargaining updates


After a long battle and with a restructure running concurrently, the Batchelor Institute’s proposed collective agreement has been finalised and is currently going through the approval stages. We wish to congratulate all members at BIITE who have fought for a long time to get this Agreement up. In other news from the Indigenous Colleges; Tranby Aboriginal College in Sydney is commencing negotiations for a new Collective Agreement and NAISDA, where management have continually stalled negotiatons, have just received another notification of a proposed dispute through Fair Work Australia, from the NTEU NSW Division on a lack of good faith bargaining. The IPC, National Indigenous Unit and NSW Division will continue to support members at Tranby and NAISDA, with a view to seeking a better outcome on pay and conditions.


4.            Restructures and reviews of Indigenous centres


A number of Indigenous centres in nearly all institutions across the country appear to be undergoing restructures and/or reviews, and the trends thus far are worrying. Particularly, it appears that Centres which offer Indigenous academic programmes are being dissipated, with Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander staff being “mainstreamed” into faculties and academic programmes being scaled down (possibly as a way of embedding Indigenous curriculum as per the Bradley Recommendations). Conversely (and rather ironically), many support-only centres within Universities are being put under pressure to develop academic programmes and extend research capacities. This is all coming at a time where Indigenous staffing numbers appear to be dropping, rather than rising, across the sector. The Indigenous Unit finds these trends troubling and will be conducting further research with our members on these important issues.  In the first instance we request any information with regards to these issues in your institution to be emailed to [email protected]  


5.            TEUNZ Hui 2012 rundown


Over the weekend just gone, Indigenous Policy Committee Deputy Chair, Terry Mason, and National Indigenous Organiser, Celeste Liddle (ie. Me) attended Hui in New Plymouth, NZ.  Approximately 40 Maori Delegates from across the country and the various sectoral groups (University, Polytechnic, Wananga) were in attendance at what was a lively and inspiring forum. The session we delivered with regards to restructures, racism on campus, and recruitment was incredibly well received, and we would like to thank the Maori Caucus for their wonderful hospitality once again. Also, as per the motion passed at National Council 2012, with regards to Indigenous representation at Education International, we look forward to working closer with our TEU brothers and sisters in 2012.


6.            Proposed Division forum dates (approximate spread)


Following the National Indigenous Forum and prior to the main bargaining rounds commencing, the National Indigenous Unit wishes to facilitate forums in each State and Territory to meet with members, discuss local issues and explore the proposed clauses going into bargaining. Dates for Division Forums have not yet been finalised, however it is expected that each State and Territory will seek to hold a Forums in June and July (some will have two due to membership density and distances). Further information on Division Forums will be available in the next edition of eYarn


7.            Elections


2012 is an “election year” for the Union, and all Indigenous positions (National, Division and Branch elected positions) will be open for nominations. At this stage, approximately 50% of our positions are unfilled, and considering that Indigenous members currently make up 1.4% of the Union membership (despite only making up 0.9% of the sector) and 54% of all Indigenous academic staff are members, it would be great to see these positions filled in this round. If you wish to know more information about the elections, please contact your local branch or don’t hesitate to drop me a line.


8.            Current IPC representative details


Last, but not least, here are the current representatives on the Indigenous Policy Committee:



Please note: Tasmania, Vic and NT positions are currently vacant. If you are interested in nominating for these positions, please contact your state/territory division.


Till next time!


  1. Celeste Liddle said on 22:43 Monday 30 Apr, 2012

    [ -2 ] Camille, would like to apologise as this note was missed last week. I assume that the meeting has now been and gone, but please, if we can still assist, drop myself or Adam Frogley a line

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  2. Camille said on 18:41 Monday 23 Apr, 2012

    [ +1 ] I was wondering if you could tell me the case or provide some detail about a recent challenge to an Indigenous Identified position at a Uni (QLD?) need the information for a meeting on Thursday

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