I was a proxy NTEU NT delegate. This historic decision was contested and then supported democratically.
from Chris White
‘NTEU to spend $1million on election campaign to defend Higher Education
In an historic move, the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) voted yesterday to spend $1 million on an election campaign to defend higher education in the September federal election.
“This is a watershed decision for our union. We are deeply concerned about the impact of an Coalition government on higher education, and the latest $2.3bn cuts by the Gillard Government to universities and student support left us no alternative. We feel compelled to act in defence of universities and Australia’s future as a smart country,” Jeannie Rea, National NTEU President.
The NTEU will run its own campaign in support of maintaining the Greens’ balance of power in the Senate and the election of selected lower house candidates who commit to the Union’s election priorities.
“To be clear, the NTEU will be campaigning on issues important to higher education and our members we will not be making any donations to the Greens, or any individual candidate.
“We don’t want to see the Labor Government voted out and a Coalition Government voted in but the ALP needs to hear loud and clear that the $4bn cuts to higher education since 2011 are plain dumb and undermining this country’s capacity to meet the challenges of the twenty-first century.
“We are under no illusion that, should the Coalition win control of the Senate, higher education will be amongst the first to feel the brunt of Tony Abbott’s axe. The decision by the Greens to elevate university cuts as a top election priority provides the NTEU with an unprecedented opportunity to make higher education funding a real issue in the Federal election campaign.
” The decision to intervene in the election campaign was made today by a special meeting of the NTEU’s National Council. Over 120 delegates have been meeting in Canberra since Sunday (16 June).
Rea said it was the first time in its twenty year history that the NTEU had called together a special meeting of its national council.
“We’re seeking their commitment to a 10% increase in real funding per student, as recommended by the Bradley review, better student income support (and less debt) and the use of the balance of power to block any further university cuts and any future Coalition industrial relations measures aimed at undermining trade union and collective bargaining rights,” she said.
“The latest cuts undermine some of Labor’s positive initiatives in higher education and mean even more casual staff, bigger workloads and more pressure on the ability of universities to give students the quality education they deserve. Universities are at breaking point.
We’ve never had such a response from our members as on these latest cuts.
The NTEU is not and has never been affiliated to any political party. It has 28,000 members in universities, TAFEs and research institutes.
* Key aims of the campaign are:
o Reversal of the latest $2.3bn cuts.
o a 10% increase in real funding per student
o no further university cuts
o no industrial relations measures aimed at undermining trade union and collective bargaining rights