ACT Members First wins three branch positions.

December 1, 1999


ACT Members First wins three branch positions.

By Stuart Martin

CANBERRA — Results were close in the ACT branch elections of the Community and Public Sector Union, the rank and file group Members First winning three of six positions. Penny Shakespeare was elected president, Susie Carcary assistant secretary and Bronwyn Asquith deputy president.

Tim Gooden missed being elected secretary by 170 votes, and Stuart Martin missed out on being elected the second deputy president by 120 votes. Scott Horan, whilst missing out on the other assistant secretary's position, was overwhelmingly elected ACT government section secretary.

Having won half the vote in the election, Members First clearly has the support necessary to carry out its platform of improving democratic processes within the union and giving the members the opportunity to lead and decide on union campaigns.

Members First will also push for greater transparency within the union so as to prevent back-room manoeuvres such as the proposed "CPSU renewal", which will further centralise power in the union's national office.

But from comments made on ABC radio, there is little chance that secretary-elect Graham Rodda, the candidate of the union's national officialdom, will oppose the department-by-department framework for certified agreements, which has been imposed by the government and which has so weakened the union. The officials, it seems, have not learned from the experiences of the past three years.

The working conditions of public servants continue to be attacked. In the Department of Finance, management is refusing to negotiate a new agreement; if any worker there wants a pay rise, they will have to negotiate an individual contract.

Concern about just such tactics by management led Members First to commit to return to a "whole of government" framework for negotiations, which would prevent staff in industrially weak departments being picked off.

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