Matte Rochford for National Council

Hi. I’m Matte, I’m an artist and union activist with a history of fighting for workers’ rights. I’m not shy about speaking up for my workmates, and with the fantastic strikes at Sydney University set to continue into Semester 2, I see no reason to stop!

I was a postal worker and CEPU member when John Howard’s ‘Work Choices’ legislation came in. I joined the huge protests against the Liberals and together with workers across the country we helped to kick Howard out. Since then I’ve spent  seven years as a support worker in public primary schools where I was a PSA member and a Central Council member.

I arrived at Sydney Uni in February as a casual administration assistant in the Student Centre. I’m a proud NTEU member. Despite my casual status, I plan to stick around and fight for rights to permanency for myself and my colleagues across the University. Since I got here I’ve joined the Casuals Network, attended meetings and forums, participated in daily leafleting sessions to promote the strikes and recruit new union members, and I’ve helped organise the pickets on strike days.

The strike campaign is in full swing at Sydney University. We were first in this round but more campuses are joining us. Western Sydney University recently had their first strike day, and now UTS has voted to strike as well. At a national level, the NTEU needs to be coordinating across the different campuses to organise forums, joint rallies and simultaneous strike actions. We need to take advantage of the moment and strike while the iron is hot. Across the country we can fight together for better funding and more jobs, and for a national pay claim that meets and exceeds the soaring cost of living. We should have a suite of national demands and a national campaign that endeavours to change the landscape of tertiary education. Let’s undo the damage of the last forty years of neglect and neoliberalism with campaigns on every university campus that put staff and student conditions ahead of profiteering and ‘streamlining’. That starts at the grassroots level but it can be assisted by effective national coordination.

As a National Council member I would seek to coordinate action with other tertiary institutions and fight for national campaigns on gender affirmation leave, and a strong national pay claim. And I would fight for broader political demands too such as strong action on climate change which has to include 100% publicly owned renewables by 2030, and an end to the AUKUS deal and the warmongering with China – we could use those billions for the military in universities, schools and hospitals instead! At the National Committee level we need to be strategising and taking action with other unions and sectors. Workers are stronger together and we have a common interest.

I’m running as a member of Rank And File Action. We want to see our national leadership reflect the kind of organising and activity we’ve seen at USYD during the strikes. This means supporting a real pay rise, deepened industrial democracy, and support for social issues.

Vote [1] Dylan Griffiths for National Councillor (General Staff)

Vote [1] to [5] for National Council:
[1] Riki Scanlan,
[2] Dylan Griffiths,
[3] Wanyi (Wendy) Xin,
[4] Matte Rochford, and
[5] Luke Alexander

For a full how-to-vote and to find out how you can get more involved, go to

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