Retired Teachers Association

Allan West

Chinese settlement

King Fong from the Chinese Australian Historical Society spoke at our April 12 meeting about the history of Chinese settlement in Sydney. He spoke on the lives of some prominent Chinese people in NSW, especially after the gold rushes, and detailed the origin of some Australian expressions with Chinese roots. Mr Fong wanted his donation directed to the Salvation Army and the Cerebral Palsy Alliance.

Vale Pam and Kel

RTA members stood for a minute’s silence for Federation Life Member Pam Gregg and former Eastwood Public School deputy principal Kel Williams.

Regional growth

It is heartening that, although we have sadly farewelled the North Coast Branch for the moment, re- tired teachers at Armidale and Nowra are proposing the formation of branches. This fits with Federation President Maurie Mulheron’s desire to exploit the resource of re- tired, experienced campaigners to support industrial action during school hours.

Women’s Conference

Marie Muir reported on Federation’s Women’s Conference, held on April 6. The conference heard of concerns about the lack of direct action and that the casualisation of teaching in TAFE had reduced industrial activity.

Super campaign

Margaret de la Garde reported that the general opinion at the recent Australian Council of Public Sector Retirees Organisations meeting was that the federal election campaign for superannuation to be indexed half-yearly should be widened to include a selection of marginal seats from both parties in which the ratio of affected retirees was more than 2.5 per 100 workers (21 selected seats: 10 ALP, 10 Coalition and one Independent). There are also five ALP ministerial seats being targeted.

Enid Hokin moved that the RTA fully support the Federal Government’s plan to tax superannuation contributions of the wealthy at a higher rate. This situation should not have been allowed to continue for so many years, providing a handy tax haven for wealthy people.

Ethics donations

Enid moved that the RTA welcome the Federal Government’s deci- sion to give Deductible Gift Recipient status to Primary Ethics Ltd, a charity that runs ethics classes. This reversed a previous decision, which had seriously discredited the Government, particularly as it had granted Deductible Gift Recipient status to scripture class providers. About 7000 NSW students are expected to take ethics classes this year. Schools have waiting lists and are unable to provide classes be- cause there are not enough trained volunteers. The Federal Government’s new position will assist in providing the training.

Coalition policy query

Ray McDonald moved that the RTA ask Opposition leader Tony Abbott if he would be taking to the federal election any of the policy ideas advanced at a Get Up! dinner on April 5. Topics included public broadcasting, Medicare, industrial relations, sports, arts and science.

Allan West is the Secretary, NSW Retired Teachers Association and can be contacted on (02) 9484 5693. The RTA blog site is rtansw.