David Brophy for Academic Vice-President

My name is David Brophy and I’m running to represent academic staff as Vice-President of the branch. I’ve been at Sydney since 2013 and am now a senior lecturer in the History Department. I served on the Branch Committee from 2014 to 2018, where I gained experience in every dimension of branch activity: from defending individuals in meetings with their supervisors, confronting and challenging change plans impacting entire sections of the university, to the ups and downs of the 2017 EA campaign. I know that doing the VP job effectively will involve a lot of time and energy, and I’m up for it.  

Since I joined the university, the security and quality of academic work has been facing constant attack. The current bargaining round highlights two major issues: casualisation, and the push to sever the link between teaching and research – an essential feature of academic work. As the biggest, most active branch of the NTEU, it’s crucial we make maximum use of our industrial strength in this campaign to win better pathways to secure jobs for casuals and hold the line on 40:40:20. But there are many other fronts we need to fight on too. Faculty governance is one: there’s far too much change for change’s sake and sham consultation going on. The recent Arts Faculty restructure was a model of this, but there are examples across the university. The ongoing centralisation of academic support is shifting more and more work back onto academics, at a time when workloads are already blowing out. 

We know things need to change, and the union is our best vehicle to achieve that. To get there, we need to keep building our membership, and building the confidence of members to take action. I’m a strong believer in grassroots campaigning, and always contribute to the basics of branch work – e.g. talking to colleagues about why they should join the union, or leafletting for upcoming actions. I’ve always defended the principle that it’s members themselves, via branch meetings, who should decide our priorities and strategies. 

As someone who studies China I’ve engaged in recent debates on the downturn in Australia-China relations and its impact on universities, and I’ve intervened publicly against new laws and policies that apply excessive “national security” scrutiny to our work as academics.

I’m running for this position as a member of Rank and File Action. We’re a group of union members seeking to extend our industrial campaign in Semester Two. We believe our union could be even stronger with more concerted organising, recruitment, and engagement. We’re made up of academic and professional staff, ongoing and casual, and we want to see the university reflect the voices of its workers. 

We’ve come out of three days of strike action with a boost in membership and lots of good press coverage. We have a real chance to make change happen at the University – but that needs our vibrant grassroots campaign to continue and grow across Semester Two. We’ll need to bring new members on board, build towards even stronger strike action, and conclude negotiations not only with a fairer contract but a stronger union.

Vote [1] David Brophy for Academic VP

Vote [1] Finola Laughren for Casual BC

Vote [1] to [8] for Ordinary Committee Member: [1] Markela Panegyres, [2] Dylan Griffiths, [3] Dani Cotton, [4] Cian Galea, [5] Ben Miller, [6] Luke Alexander, [7] Matte Rochford, and [8] Ben Graham

For a full how-to-vote and to find out how you can get more involved, go to https://rafausyd.wordpress.com

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