Core of our decision-making processes is democracy

Nicole Calnan
Membership and Training Officer

Federation holds Council meetings eight times a year where resolutions regarding issues and campaigns are debated and decisions made

Questions have recently been raised regarding Federation’s stance on a number of issues, including marriage equality and the enforcement of the Staffing Agreement. It is important to understand that Federation’s position on matters affecting our members, including professional, industrial, legal and social issues are determined through our democratic decision-making structures.

The supreme decision making body of Federation is Annual Conference, which is held each year at the at the end of Term 2. Each Association is represented at Annual Conference by delegates and those Association representatives on state Council. Council representatives and Conference delegates are subject to nomination and election by members in their local Association through elections conducted by the Australian Electoral Commission. Associations are comprised of a number of workplaces in a geographic area, and each member at a workplace is a member of an Association and can attend Association meetings. Presently, there are more than 160 Associations.

At Conference, Federation’s direction for the next year is established via recommendations that are debated and voted upon by conference delegates and councillors in attendance. Leading up to conference, each Association has the opportunity to contribute to the conference business paper through Motions from Associations.

In addition to Annual Conference, Federation holds Council meetings eight times a year where resolutions regarding issues and campaigns are debated and decisions made. Each Association is represented at Council by their elected Association representatives. Decisions of Council are made following consideration of reports provided by Federation’s Presidential Officers and Officers in accordance with Federation policy. Associations are also able to forward Motions from Association to Council (except February Council), which are then voted and debated on by the Council. Decisions of Council are sent to all workplaces via TeFed. Association representatives on Council have the responsibility to represent the views of the members from the Association in these debates.

In between Council meetings, Federation Executive (which is made up of the three Federation Presidential Officers and 15 school/TAFE teachers including one Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander member elected by Federation Council) is responsible for making decisions on Federation campaigns and activities. Executive generally meets once a fortnight during the school term. The decisions of Executive are made in accordance with Federation policy.

If members wish to amend Federation policy or influence decisions of Council and/or Conference then they are encouraged to do so by attending their local Association meetings and moving appropriate resolutions to be brought forward by their Association representatives on either decision-making bodies. Association representatives on Council or Conference are elected for terms of two years.

Notice of these elections are posted on Federation’s website and advertised in the journal, Education.

Federation is active in a wide range of policy areas, and from time to time some of our members will disagree with the actions we have taken or the policy position determined through the union’s democratic decision-making processes. Despite these concerns, members continue to benefit from the legal, industrial and professional representation and protection membership of Federation provides.

Federation prides itself on being a democratic organisation. As such, members are vital in establishing the policies and strategic direction of Federation. Members are encouraged to engage at their local level to ensure that their views are considered as to continue to grow and strengthen Federation.