Socialist Equality Party forum discusses agenda behind Australian Education Union sell-out deal
5 June 2017
The Socialist Equality Party recently held a teachers’ forum in Melbourne, Victoria’s capital city, to discuss the regressive agreement negotiated between the Australian Education Union (AEU) and Victorian state Labor government. The deal, which is being put to teachers and education support staff in a secret ballot between June 13 and 20, will exacerbate the crisis in public schools.
Teachers and education staff are already burdened with unprecedented workloads, low wages and growing attacks on permanency, along with untenable levels of stress and anxiety associated with NAPLAN, the standardised testing regime introduced by the Rudd and Gillard federal Labor government in 2008. The deal’s remit is to deepen the very pro-market agenda that has produced this crisis.
The SEP is the only political party campaigning for a “no” vote. The pseudo-left organisations, Socialist Alternative and Socialist Alliance, which have representatives on the AEU’s state executive, have maintained a virtual silence on the deal, in contrast to previous years when, in order to provide a “left” cover for the union, they advocated limited protest campaigns. Their complicity with the union in pushing through the deal underscores their rapid shift to the right.
During the past two months, teacher members and supporters of the SEP have campaigned vigorously against the agreement among their colleagues throughout the state, exposing its actual content and ramifications at meetings of delegates and in their own schools, and by posting a regular stream of articles, comments and teacher interviews, as well as a widely viewed video, on Facebook and the World…