Elected members gathered for National Assembly in wintry Melbourne over the weekend of 24th and 25th June to review PA activities and financials and flesh out various aspects of our union's future direction and challenges.
NA47 was reinvigorated with most people in the room, meeting face-to-face for only the second time since before Covid. It was great to see so many new delegates as well as old friends. From our reserved engineers to our more outgoing professionals (that's you, architects!), everyone had plenty to offer. In group workshops, delegates spoke about the issues relevant to their industries and workplaces - without a microphone, so they had to use their union voices! PA staff also presented a range of campaign outcomes, sharing valuable knowledge amongst workplaces and industries.
Most members have attended NA before, but there were a few new attendees. It is always good to have a mix of old hands and new blood to ensure that we get a reflection of the entire membership. NA is an opportunity for delegates to demonstrate how committed and passionate they are about our union's work, and no one disappointed!
Our CEO, Jill McCabe, gave an update on the establishment of the Net Zero Authority by the Federal Government. The Authority has been established to support workers and communities to deliver a just transition away from fossil fuels. The union movement, led by the ACTU, has long advocated for action for a just transition and welcomed the establishment of the Authority. As there are members in professions directly impacted by this transition, PA has been working directly with the ACTU to shape pollical engagement on this matter and ensure that members' views are reflected in public policy. We are very optimistic about the future for workers in this space.
We then heard updates from Kathleen & Zac, who are on the ground in the Hunter Region of NSW to maintain the rights of workers who are already impacted by the upcoming closure of the region's coal-fired power stations. PA members already feel the need for a just transition, and involvement in workplace action and political engagement are just some ways our union is fighting for our members' livelihoods during the transition.
Representatives from the Pharmacy Division presented their work responding to the Federal Government's announcement of 60-day dispensing. They highlighted the political and media impact of our work in this space and the response by the employer group, the Pharmacy Guild.
The Awards committee announced a new member award - the Joanna Griffith Medal. This award is named for Joanna Griffith, a veterinarian member of the science division, who passionately advocated for vets despite a battle with cancer that eventually claimed her life. It will be awarded each year to a member who epitomises her ethos and shines a light on issues in their industry.
As well as getting reports from our member leaders and senior staff, we had two workshop sessions to hear from NA delegates. Workshop outcomes focussed on social aspects and trying to foster a go-to place for professionals. As a union, we must welcome and embrace diversity - everyone needs to feel safe and have a sense of belonging. Solidarity with our fellow members leads to strength and the ability to influence governments while ensuring professionals are recognised, valued and rewarded by employers.
We also passed some important rule changes – the fun never stopped!
Our discussions at NA are vital to ensuring we adapt and can plan for the future. Participation in NA and division committees is crucial to a vibrant, successful PA moving forward.
If you want to know more about NA, or about becoming a PA delegate, don't hesitate to get in touch with your workplace delegate, organiser or, of course, a member of the Board – we welcome your interest and questions!
Not sure wo to contact to get more involved? Phone 1300 273 762 or email firstname.lastname@example.org and an organiser will be in touch!