Farewell to Marie and Ken Muir
At our May 9 meeting, Federation's Aboriginal Education Coordinator and Charline Emzin-Boyd and Aboriginal activist Kevin Tory attended an informal farewell for two of our best members.
Shirley Bains described them as the backbone of the RTA. Marie and Ken have been an inspiration with their reports and support over more than 20 years. Both have been office-bearers and, this year, life members. They are Life Members of Federation, well-liked and will leave a big hole in Sydney when they move to Perth in June.
Charline acknowledged the Traditional Owners of the land on which we meet. She thanked Marie and Ken for their support of Aboriginal education. Just as she respects her Aboriginal Elders, she also admires elders such as Marie and Ken; they have wisdom as a result of fighting for justice on many fronts.
Kevin told us that Ken had been one of his school teachers. He wished them both well in their new home.
Enid said that Ken had been a Welfare Officer with Federation and had been hard to replace at the time.
Barbara McGregor said that both Marie and Ken have the gift of friendship and are good advocates for Federation wherever they go.
Max Prince knows that the Jessie Street National Women’s Library will miss Marie’s involvement.
Marie responded, saying that their granddaughter was looking forward to looking after them. She closed reciting a poem about Jessie Street.
Ken concluded by saying that the fight for educational justice is bigger today than it ever has been.
National Parks under threat
Allan West introduced guest speaker, National Parks Association of NSW chief executive officer Kevin Evans. The association has 20,000 supporters, of whom teachers form a large part; Janine Kitson, West Ryde PS, is a Vice President. The NSW National Parks Act and amendments were formulated in the 1960s–70s and parks and reserves have increased from 10 then to 880 now. But the current State Government is allowing the introduction of grazing, logging and tourism infrastructure in parks. Mr Evans is looking forward to being able to issue some positive announcements from an International Conservationists Conference at Homebush in November. The donation will go to the National Parks Association of NSW.
Vale Max Edmunds and Jean Austen
Max Edmunds, a former RTA treasurer, passed away on April 24, and several RTA members attended his funeral on May 1. Ken Muir described the funeral service as a celebration of a caring and concerned friend and reflected on his contributions to our Saturday night dances. Marie Muir said that Max had been in Federation for more than 40 years and been strong on social issues. He was anti-war despite having served in World War 2. His teaching speciality had been with handicapped children.
Jean Austen passed away recently; she was 90. Enid Hokin said she used to attend the Women Assistants meetings in the city and, later, the Metropolitan Teachers Association. She didn’t make speeches but was strong on social issues.
Margaret De La Garde called us to stand for a minute’s silence.
Combined Retired Union Members Association (CRUMA) is still looking for a computer teacher to be paid to teach eight CRUMA members on Tuesday evenings at UTS; contact Vince Ashton 9662 7948,0468 602 664.
Sydney Alliance report
1200 attended the City Assembly of members of Unions, Community and Faith Groups, at Sydney Town Hall on March 26. Many issues on Working Start, transport and housing were sent to the NSW Government. Attendees committed themselves to hold Table Talks — community house meetings to discuss problems encountered in these areas — and to direct these issues to Sydney Alliance meetings.
Ian Massingham received thanks for the RTA submission to the Senate Inquiry on the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA). He distributed a letter which Australian Fair Trade and Investment Network (AFTINet) wants to send to Trade Minister Andrew Robb, asking for rejection of harmful proposals in TPPA; RTA endorsed this letter.
Margaret De La Garde reported that the main goal of the Australian Council of Public Sector Retirees Organisations (ACPSRO) should be fairer indexation progressively for all. ACPSRO should proceed to join as appropriate with National Seniors, Council on the Ageing, Combined Pensioners and Superannuants Association and NSW Australian Independent Retirees as each of those bodies may not have enough power in themselves to act in the interest of members. John Coleman will follow up his previous contacts and explore further.
Allan West is the Secretary, NSW Retired Teachers Association, and can be contacted on (02) 9484 5693. The RTA blogsite is www.rtansw.blogspot.com.