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Anna Stewart Memorial Program
THE Anna Stewart Memorial Project is always an exciting time on the union calendar each year. It’s a big undertaking for both the participants and unions involved. This year we had two CPSU Delegates join the “Annas”, Natalie French and Rosemary Stewart.
The CPSU congratulates these two women for participating in this exciting project. Find out more about them below.
Natalie is a CPSU Member at the Department of Economic Development Tourism and the Arts (DEDTA), and currently a Facilities Officer in Hobart.
A Member since 1994, Natalie only stepped into the Delegate role about a month ago.
Natalie’s been active in DEDTA’s values program that sets out personal and work values for staff. Her involvement in this program led to her recent Delegate nomination.
“My father was the head of the Australian Education Union, and I was brought up with values such as equality and fairness, both at home and in the workplace.”
A friend encouraged Natalie to apply for the Anna Stewart Project.
Rosemary Stuart is the second successful applicant. A union member since 2001, the Housing Tasmania Tenancy Officer’s been a Delegate for about two years now.
Last year she received an application form but did not feel ready to take part, only in the role of Delegate for a short period of time. After taking part in Delegate Training, Rosemary views her role differently, now dealing with matters first rather than picking up the phone to call the union straight away.
This experience prepared her to put her name down for this year’s Anna Stewart Project.
About the project
The project’s run in Tasmania since 2000, in memory of Anna Stewart, a women’s rights campaigner and prominent union official who died tragically in 1983.
Aimed at women, the annual program looks to: increase understanding of the day-to-day operations of union officials and employees, encourage women to participate in the union movement, develop networking between women in the union, and increase understanding of issues union members face.
The project, run over two weeks, includes visits to a range of sites including Unions Tasmania Women’s Committee, Parliament House, the Industrial Relations Commission, and the Anti-Discrimination Commission.
Women participating in the project will receive training on union negotiation skills and collective bargaining, health and safety and many more topics.
You can read the highlights from the 2012 program below.
Anna Stewart Highlights
The women heard from a range of inspirational women over the course of the eight days.
Labor Senator Carol Brown spoke to 2012 “Annas” on the second day of the program about women and politics.
Senator Brown said women’s role had changed remarkably in the Tasmanian Labor party since she joined at 20 years of age.
Back then women were often at the picket line with soup and sandwiches.
Through training, women who were supportive of other women this has changed.
Now there are five Tasmanian Labor Senators are women, as well as women in the positions of Tasmanian ALP President and of course the Tasmanian Premier.
Senator Brown said there was a real effort for women to take up senior positions.
However, she told participants that although we’d come a long way, there was still work to be done, and we couldn’t afford to be complacent.
CPSU Member and 2003 Anna Stewart participant Sharon Carnes spoke at this year’s program.
Anna is a Glenorchy City Council Alderman as well as Secretary of Moonah Business Community and a West Moonah Community Action Group Board Member.
Previously she’s worked in a variety of workplaces. Corrective Services, the Tasmanian Ombudsman and DHHS.
Ald Carnes told the group she was from a strong union background, and was a CPSU Delegate in the past.
She said the Anna Stewart Project was instrumental in providing a focus for her career.
Ald Carnes said it was beneficial to spend time at the CPSU for the program, and also at the Liquor, Hospitality and Miscellaneous Union (now United Voice). “It was great to see how unions work differently but still hold the same values.”
Donna Johnston and Lyndal Schneider
Early in the program 2011 Anna Stewart participants and CPSU Delegates Donna Johnston and Lyndal Schneider talked to this year’s group earlier today, giving them advice and encouragement.
Donna said the project had led her to her current position on the CPSU council. She encouraged participants to be active in their unions.
“Especially now it’s a really important time to make sure we have strong unions and a high level of density.”
Lyndal told the group she could not praise the Anna Stewart program enough.
In the second week the Anna Stewart crew visited the Anti-Discrimination Commission, meeting our State’s Anti-Discrimination Commissioner Robin Banks (pic)
Robin Banks talked about the Report It project, which encourages bystanders to take action if they witness discriminatory behavior. The group also learnt about the Anti-Discrimination Act and what it covers, including areas of employment from recruitment to termination.
At the end of the second week participants spend time at their own union, with Rosemary and Natalie spending the day at the CPSU. During this time these Delegates researched insecure work in their sectors, and talked to the different teams about their activities. Natalie particularly enjoyed sitting in on the CPSU Council meeting.
On Monday the following week, they visited another union,
Rosemary went to HACSU, where she attended her first ballot count and visited Ambulance Tasmania. Natalie spent the day with the ASU and went to a number of worksites, including the Wilderness Society.
The CPSU hosted AEU Delegate and Mayfield Primary School Teacher Bella Murfett on Monday.
Bella went out on a worksite visit to the Royal Hobart Hospital with Organiser Jacob Batt and took part in a teleconference about the CPSU’s activities for National Child Protection week. She also chatted to the Member Advice and Support Team and the Organising and Campaigning Team about their role in the union and how the CPSU.
CPSU OCT Lead Organiser Angela Ames talked to the group about the recruitment conversation. Asking Members to join is often not the easiest part of a Delegate’s role. Together with Angela, the Delegates discussed ideas around approaching potential members and handling the different objections they might come up against.
One of the highlights of the fortnight was the tour of parliament house with Graham Sturges.
Thrown in among the history of the ornate architecture and intriguing Westminster traditions were plenty of stories about happenings in the halls over the years.
Graham Sturges encouraged the group, stating the importance of unions’ role in social and economic policy and the relevance of the union movement in the current age.
The Annas looked around the upper and lower houses, as well as the basement, which houses a museum filled with objects and articles which tell the story of parliament in Tasmania.
On the final day of the 2012 program, participants presented their group project on Insecure Work.
Each participant talked about what insecure work meant for their industry. Covering the public sector, call centres, public and private education, manufacturing and nursing, from their research it was clear insecure work was a problem across the board in Australia and Tasmania.
CPSU Delegates Rosemary Stuart and Natalie French talked about the rise of fixed term contracts in the public sector, and how the budget constraints in Tasmania had left many workers feeling uncertain about their employment in an industry that was previously thought to be secure.