eYarn - Indigenous News: May edition (online version)
1. NTEU Elections
The elections for all representative positions have just opened, and early this week a circular was sent around by Adam highlighting the key Indigenous positions up for election this year. In brief, these are:
- Indigenous Ordinary Committee Member/s at each branch
- Indigenous Division Representative positions at each state/territory (these positions also serve on the Indigenous Policy Committee)
- National Indigenous Councillors (these positions also serve on the IPC)
Indigenous members are not limited to Indigenous positions either, and indeed we have previously had members take up Branch President and Vice President positions! Basically, the more dedicated Indigenous representatives we get, the better, so please consider nominating, and for further information, don’t hesitate to contact your branch, division, or the National Indigenous Unit or click here: http://www.nteu.org.au/indigenous/article/NTEU-Elections%3A-Indigenous-nomination-forms-12799. Nominations close on Wednesday 27th June 2012. Currently only 50% of all Indigenous positions are occupied, and considering our high rate of Indigenous membership, it is imperative that this representation grows so that Indigenous views are adequately represented at all levels of the union.
2. National Indigenous Forum 2012
Forum was held over the weekend just gone with 20 Indigenous delegates from across the country. In what was an empowering two days focussed on the upcoming bargaining round, delegates had the opportunity to investigate the existing Indigenous clauses, debate how these clauses could be expanded and solidified in the next Collective Agreements, and discuss the NTEU’s and the Universities’ adherence to the existing clauses. In addition, the Forum welcomed Maori Officer Lee Cooper, and Maori Polytechnic Representative Hēmi Houkamau, of the NZTEU. Full coverage of the Forum including pictures will be available in the next print edition of Yarn
3. State Forums 2012
Following the National Indigenous Forum, division-based forums are planned in each state and territory over the next couple of months. It is hoped that these will provide a local opportunity for Indigenous members to get together, flag specific issues, and work together to strengthen and promote the Indigenous claims at the institutions during bargaining. These are also an opportunity for members to feedback to the respective divisions on how they can work more effectively with the Indigenous membership. A schedule of events will be circulated soon, however if there are any dates that would simply not work between mid-June and the end of August, could members please send these through to your Division Indigenous Representatives or the National Indigenous Unit? It is anticipated that each State forum will go for at least one full day, and will be followed up with branch visits where required.
4. National Indigenous Unit – leave periods
This is just a quick note to inform members that over the month of June, due to final assessments in the first week followed by celebratory leave, Celeste will be out of the office and will return officially on Wednesday the 20/6/12. Adam will be on deck at this time. Should any issues arise during this period, please contact your branch and/or division office in the first instance, and please don’t hesitate to drop the National Indigenous Unit a line so we can keep track.
5. Roberta Sykes Scholarship – Aunty Kerrie Doyle
The National Indigenous Unit wishes to congratulate Aunty Kerrie Doyle, from the University of Canberra branch, for winning a Roberta Sykes scholarship to go and study over at Oxford University! Aunty Kerrie will be undertaking a Masters of Evidence-based social intervention and policy which will be embedded into her current PhD studies. The Unit wishes her all the best and looks forward to hearing her tales from abroad ;)
6. National Indigenous Unit – Support for Sovereignty protests and for the Tent Embassy movement.
As circulated recently, the National Indigenous Unit released a statement of support, not only for the Tent Embassy at Musgrave Park following the forceful eviction by the Brisbane City Council and the state Government, but also for Tent Embassies operating Australia-wide drawing attention to Indigenous sovereignty. It is important, at this time, that issues of Indigenous sovereignty are supported, particularly as the debate around constitutional recognition continues, as it is appropriate for constitutional recognition to be granted without also officially recognising Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander sovereignty? During the Musgrave Park site eviction, a promising return to grassroots organising and social movement engagement was shown by a number of unions, and the NTEU Indigenous Unit is very keen to nurture and encourage this both within our own union, but also across the Australian Union movement. To this end, should any motions be passed at branch and division level regarding Indigenous social policy, the National Indigenous Unit requests that these be forwarded through so that they can be publicised and encouraged more broadly. Likewise, should the membership wish the union to support specific protests and movements, please send them on to the National Indigenous Unit so that these can be relayed on to the appropriate branches and divisions for action.
7. Current Representative details
Please find contact details for our current Indigenous Policy Committee representatives: http://www.nteu.org.au/indigenous/ipc. As previously noted, Vic and NT are currently vacant, and as elections have just been called, should members from these two divisions wish to make contact with the IPC, please do so through the chairs or through the National Indigenous Unit.
Thanks all, and Happy Assessment Period!