Why I’m running for president
When I put myself forward for president last year, I committed to seeing the branch through the EA campaign. Since this is unlikely to be over by the time of the elections, I’ve nominated again. Whether during bargaining or after it, I’ll work hard to promote a participatory, democratic and activist branch, to defend and extend our rights at work, and to relentlessly hold management to account for their failures and their regressive vision of the university’s future.
The NTEU’s role: defending our collective rights against management
We can only defend and extend our workplace rights by strongly contesting management’s power. A fighting union is our best means of doing so. We just need to look at the record of the university’s senior managers, both on and off campus, to see that they have little inclination to listen to us unless they have to. On their own, they will pivot from one change plan to another, intensify workloads, perpetuate job-insecurity and wage-theft, further centralise processes and decision-making, and inflict a permanent organisational irrationality on us that essentially punishes us for doing our jobs. The NTEU is the only body on campus with the power to impose an alternative vision based on workplace justice and respect, and to hold the university to its central purpose – the creation and democratization of knowledge for the public good.
The need for a fighting union
In the first instance, being a fighting union means continuing the strike campaign we started last semester. With the university’s astonishing $1.04 billion surplus, we have every reason to achieve the principal aims we voted to pursue – in particular, our ambition to guarantee job-security for all our members. Giving up on material improvements to job-security for all staff, especially our exploited long-term casual colleagues, would be profoundly against current and future members’ best interests. So would giving up 40/40/20 and allowing management to force academics to negotiate their workloads annually with their heads of school. I will not agree to an Enterprise Agreement which abandons 40/40/20 or fails to significantly reverse exploitation and improve job-security, especially for casuals. In the unlikely event that members voted not to pursue these aims to the full extent of our industrial capacity, I would have no choice but to stand aside for a different president to take over.
For a democratic union for justice at work and beyond it
If re-elected as president, I will continue to foster distributed organising, and to democratize power and decision-making in our branch. We have no other source of power than members’ willingness to actively participate in union work. Our branch must facilitate this through regular decision-making meetings at all levels of the branch’s structure. This is the only way we can continue the strong growth in membership we’ve been experiencing during the EA campaign. I’m also committed to the historic role of the union movement in working for social justice. This means, among other things, promoting the rights of First Nations people, unconditionally opposing all forms of racism, homophobia and transphobia, and supporting vital activism for climate justice. This work starts on campus, but the union movement has an important social-justice role to play in society more broadly, to which the NTEU and our branch must contribute.
Comradeliness and this election
I welcome the variety of views represented in this election, and will work in a comradely and respectful spirit with all NTEU members elected to Branch Committee. I’m proud to be running on the Rank-and-File Action ticket.
Vote  David Brophy for Academic VP
Vote  Dylan Griffiths for General VP
Vote  Finola Laughren for Casual BC
Vote  to  for Ordinary Committee Member:  Markela Panegyres,  Dylan Griffiths,  Dani Cotton,  Cian Galea,  Ben Miller,  Luke Alexander,  Matte Rochford, and  Ben Graham
See more at https://rafausyd.wordpress.com.