Members First wins good hearing in CPSU elections
By Jim McIlroy
BRISBANE — Members First, a rank-and-file team making its first foray into Community and Public Sector Union elections, has performed well in contests in the Centrelink section and in the Queensland branch.
In Centrelink, Members First averaged around a third of the national vote, in a contest with the pro-ALP Progressive Caucus incumbent leadership.
Running for Members First, Marcus Banks received 36.8% for section president; Philippa Stanford 31.3% for section secretary; Sarah Harris 27.4% for assistant secretary; and Jim McIlroy 32.6% for deputy president.
The Members First campaign was particularly critical of the incumbents' leadership of the latest enterprise bargaining campaign, which resulted in a new industrial agreement in Centrelink, introduced earlier this year.
The ticket argued that the union needed a new, militant leadership capable of fighting to restore the 5000 jobs cut by Centrelink management in the last 12 months and to reintroduce an Australian Public Service-wide system of wage structures and conditions, in place of the new performance-based pay system.
Members First called for an end to the privatisation of information technology, mail centres and other areas, and for a halt to the outsourcing of Centrelink work. It opposed management's Big Brother-like proposal for silent monitoring of phone calls in the call centres.
To guarantee members' control of their union, the ticket advocated regular members' meetings, including mass meetings.
In the Queensland branch elections, Greg Brown gained 30.3% of the vote for branch secretary; Nikke Thiedeke 43.4% for assistant branch secretary; Alastair Wallace 28% for president; and Ross Larsen, 22% for deputy president.