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Advocacy course: Equipping CPSU staff to better help Members

LAST week four CPSU Member Advice & Support Team Organisers took part in a five day ACTU Advocacy course. They were joined by four employees from other unions to gain even more skills and industrial knowledge to help them represent Members, particularly in industrial tribunals.

CPSU Intake Organiser Blair Dowker said the course was so practical and applicable to his team’s work that he couldn’t single out just one aspect of it that was most useful.

“Interviewing witnesses and how to provide witness statements for a hearing was one part of the course, and this is useful for a whole range of situations we come across every week,” Blair said. “The Fair Work Commission Deputy President Abey stressed the importance of witness statements during hearings, and the course also looked at the various jurisdictions.”

Blair said although the course focused on Fair Work Commission worksites, the skills learned also apply to the state public sector. On the last day of the course participants paired up for a mock hearing at the Fair Work Commission.

The group also learned cross examination techniques in arbitration, how to build on their legal research skills, and how to deal with dispute resolution in a collective situation. The training also broke down how to identify the most relevant points of an argument and how showing the legislative basis for a dispute helped to set out a clear path for proceedings.

Now-retired former President of the Tasmanian Industrial Commission Pat Leary spoke to participants about her experience working at the TIC and Fair Work Australia.

Blair said the course meant his team was even better equipped to help Members.

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