Friday, September 28, 2007

Queensland teachers lead the way to the republic

Finally, after thirteen months of negotiation, I've received confirmation that the Queensland Teachers' Union will affiliate with the Australian Republican Movement. As an ARM State Council member and a QTU member and delegate, I had a brainwave in early 2006 that a good way to increase ARM membership would be to have the QTU join the ARM. Little did I know how complicated the task would be through the byzantine committee structure of the QTU. However, yesterday, on 27 September 2007, the ARM (Q) was informed that the Queensland Teachers' Union had taken up the challenge to actively support the move towards an Australian Head of State by becoming the first organisation in Australia in the new category of membership - ARM Supporter. This was the result of not only a great deal of negotiation between me and the QTU State Executive but also about 4 months of backward and forwards policy debate with ARM National Council to establish a national policy for accepting organisations as ARM supporters.

In July 2006 QTU State Council passed a resolution to affiliate with the Australian Republican Movement. This was as a result of my membership campaign directed at all QTU State Executive members. Although the motion had come from the QTU Deputy General Secretary, it was seconded by Allan Cook, ARM member and QTU State Councillor from the floor of the State Council. The motion was overwhelmingly accepted by the 200-member State Council. It is this sort of grass root support that bodes well for coming republican campaigns.

The Queensland Teachers' Union, and the greater trade union movement, has a great deal to offer the republican movement. The Australian Republican Movement needs the support of trade unions and individual trade unionists if we are to achieve our goal of an Australian head of state. The QTU has a membership of approximately 35,000 and is the largest trade union in Queensland. Teachers play an important role in the civic education of our nation and it is a welcome moment as the QTU enters the republican fold.

Deep down in our hearts, we all hope one day we will not need the Queen or Charles or any other British Monarch as our Head of State any more, and we can stand on our own feet and appoint or select one of our own to the Australian Head of State. The support of Queensland's largest trade union is a tangible step towards this goal.

Now to try and sign up the QTU membership.

Three cheers for the coming republic!