If elected, I will shift the secretariat’s culture towards supporting branch action, building alliances and challenging university management. I will not collaborate in managing the decline of universities in Western Australia. I will work to empower WA branches in organising their staff against our sector's addiction to restructures, redundancies, and casualisation. I will engage members, allied organizations, parliamentarians and media workers in reshaping universities for communities in Western Australia.
Fair contested elections build community, particularly at this critical juncture as we face overwork, redundancies, precarity, wage theft, COVID-19 and challenging negotiations for stronger enterprise agreements.
My experience with challenging negotiations on labour conditions goes back to 1998 in The Hague, where I worked as an editor and document specialist for the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) on labour relations, which addressed the new ILO Declaration on the Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work. This landmark declaration called on member states to recognize the right to collective bargaining.
I became Vice-President of the NTEU Curtin Branch amid staff cuts because of my dedication to branch committee, and my reputation for supporting members and contributing to high-density membership as a delegate since early 2017. I have focussed on coordinating NTEU actions among members and with representatives of allied organizations. I have defended the interests of NTEU members in speeches on the steps of Western Australia’s Parliament and other public venues, as well as in tough closed-door meetings with university management. We have achieved several wins in these difficult times, such as avoiding spill and fill in the 2020 redundancy rounds, and in maintaining our 2% pay rise in 2021. Through union-coordinated work as a staff representative on Curtin University’s Academic Board and on other committees, I have worked to ensure staff participation in teaching and research policy changes and helped to thwart management actions that would breach the Enterprise Agreement.
Currently, I am a Senior Lecturer in Curtin’s School of Media, Creative Arts and Social Inquiry. I coordinate and teach a Master of Arts course which has provided me an opportunity to build solidarity with teaching staff across a range of disciplines. In supporting researchers, I have served on the board of a research institute, on an Australian Academy of the Humanities’ roundtable, as a book and journal editor, as a journal and manuscript reviewer, and on a human research ethics advisory committee. I have also contributed to the steering and scientific committees of conferences hosted by universities in Western Australia and abroad. My academic career began in 2010 as a sessional academic while completing a PhD. In 2012, I won a fixed-term early career development fellowship that had been included in the university’s enterprise agreement. After two years on a fixed contract, I was employed on a continuing basis from 2014 in a teaching and research capacity. I have authored two scholarly books, many journal articles and led the editing of two academic volumes. I have taught undergraduate and postgraduate students; supervised PhD, honours and masters students; designed units; and implemented new courses in collaboration with teaching, student-support and teaching-support staff. My research has contributed towards decriminalising Indigenous activism and to furthering understandings of social movements and environmental policy change in Western Australia.
Social justice has been my calling since working as a graduate volunteer at an Indonesian non-government organization in a low-income area of Jakarta during the New Order dictatorship in the early 1990s. The solidarity in which I participated as a volunteer development worker, and later as an editor and journalist, contributed towards Indonesia’s democratic transition at the turn of the century. After that historical moment, I dedicated the next 10 years to developing a successful enterprise to support information transparency, ethical practices and environmental design in the building and construction industries of Southeast Asia and Hong Kong. In this role, I learned how to recruit, lead and support colleagues from diverse cultural and ethnic backgrounds. I also learned how to negotiate complex agreements in and across multiple countries. Back in Australia, I led political campaigns that resulted in substantial progressive swings at state and federal elections, and worked with elders, librarians and parliamentarians to challenge media and police harassment of Indigenous gatherings. I look forward to bringing this energy and experience to the role of NTEU Division Secretary for Western Australia.