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President’s Wrap

As teachers, principals and support staff, you have won great appreciation and regard from our communities. Our professions have developed new respect and admiration. And you deserve it.

While Coronavirus has shone a light on you as the impressive educators you are, it has put a far less flattering light on the gaping inequalities in our society and education system.

When the federal government showed new-found, hardly sincere concern about vulnerable students and the impact learning at home would have on some children, they weren’t telling the whole story.

The same federal government that had suddenly found an apparent concern for disadvantaged students proposed bringing forward $3 billion in funding to private schools, but not an additional cent for public schools.

The students who are at risk of a lasting negative impact of disengagement from their school and disruption to their learning were at risk before COVID-19 came along. We know, because the majority of those students are at our public schools.

The transition to home-based schooling immediately focused attention on the issue of ‘the digital divide’.

An independent report commissioned by the AEU has revealed the persistent long-term gap in digital access, affordability and ability experienced by many public-school students from disadvantaged circumstances. Public school students were more than twice as likely as either Catholic or independent school students to have no internet access at home.

The report found that Tasmanian public-school students were generally more disadvantaged than students throughout Australia, especially in family income.  In Tasmania, the 2016 census data showed 7% of public-school students had no access to the internet at home, and the percentages ranged from 2% in Hobart Inner, to 14% in Brighton and 13% in the Central Highlands.

Over 53 percent of Tasmanian public-school students come from a low socio-economic background. We value all our students equally; we are proud of our role in supporting students and families in need and playing a big role in turning around the effect of trauma and disadvantage on Tasmanian children.

When long-term disadvantage plays such a dominant role in determining our student’s engagement and educational outcomes, tackling poverty, trauma and inequality must be part of our union’s campaign agenda.

We won’t let COVID-19, or a federal government that lets ideology and politics get ahead of good education policy, distract our focus on learning and quality education.

Teachers, principals and support staff feel hugely let down by our federal government. The same federal government that said on the one hand ‘we are all in this together’ and expressed concern about vulnerable students and on the other hand found $10 million in a special deal for private school hygiene supplies but not a cent for public schools. This after already bringing forward $3 billion of funding for those same private schools.

And remember, while you worked hard to adapt to remote learning, Prime Minister Morrison continued to undermine your efforts, branding virtual schooling as “childminding”.

It was insulting and disrespectful!

There is an opportunity that should emerge from this crisis – that the message of ‘we are all in this together’ becomes a real and lasting value, a policy framework and a fully funded strategy to tackle inequality.


Instructional load

A huge union win for public education, students and educators is here!

Term 3 brings the official start of reduced instructional load for Tasmanian primary teachers, but we all understand that we are in extraordinary times and big changes may be difficult to implement if they haven’t been made already.

Some primary members are already enjoying the benefits, while other workplaces may need more time for hiring new specialist teachers or adjusting timetables.

The DoE has provided guidance that confirms the intention of this change (read their full article in Principal Matters here):

The new provision was agreed as a workload reduction for primary teachers and correspondence to teachers and principals promoting the new agreement also supported the workload reduction as additional time per fortnight for planning, preparation and assessment. It was also directly linked to the commitment for an additional allocation of specialist teachers to provide additional specialist teaching per class.

Therefore, it is extremely important that the implementation of this change supports this philosophy.  

Congratulations to all members who took up the fight, in some cases for years, to win this change –more specialist teaching time for students and individual teacher planning, preparation and assessment time for teachers.

The instructional load* in Term 3 for a full-time unpromoted K-6 teacher shall be no more than 42 hours per fortnight.

It may take until 2021 to get the implementation right and creases ironed out, but take a moment to appreciate your AEU member colleagues who made this happen.

Get the updated ‘Teaching Hours Of Duty And DoTT’ AEU Fact Sheet for Term 3 here.

Instructional load means regularly, timetabled face-to-face instruction of students. It includes:

  1. timetabled class teacher periods, when a class is together for the purpose of receiving administrative instruction and discussing problems which are common to the group
  2. timetabled electives offered in the school curriculum
  3. timetabled tutorial periods
  4. timetabled pastoral care periods
  5. timetabled periods for recreational and sporting activity
  6. timetabled assemblies — does not include end of year assemblies

Activities that are voluntarily undertaken and are not approved variations of your instructional load will not form part of the instructional load.


New staff introductions

Bharti Kour and Mitch Wilkinson joined the AEU Member Support Team at the right time for AEU members – just days before the impact of COVID-19 began to be felt around Tasmania. While this was great for AEU members in need of additional support and information, it was a baptism of fire for Bharti and Mitch that left little time for induction and introduction. They deserve a lot of credit for their calm and professional response to the challenge and certainly hit the ground running.

Now, over four months later, we can finally let them properly introduce themselves to you. The AEU Member Support Team is here for you – contact them by email or phone 6234 9500 or 1800 001 313

Bharti Kour – Member Advisory Officer

I moved from Fiji to Tasmania almost 3 years ago because of ‘matters of the heart’. My partner is from Tasmania and we decided that one of us had to do this big move.

Before moving to Tasmania, I was admitted to the High Court of Fiji as a barrister and solicitor in 2016. I worked as a Lawyer at the Office of the Attorney-General in Fiji. In 2019, I was admitted to the Supreme Court of Tasmania as an Australian Lawyer.

As a lawyer in Fiji, I undertook different tasks including civil litigation, legal research, drafting and vetting different types of documents, liaising with and providing legal advice to all to the government departments, Parliament, statutory bodies and state-owned entities in diverse areas of law.

I am passionate about human rights and social justice issues. This passion grew through my work experience in Fiji. At the Office of the Attorney-General, I was part of the human rights team that were working tirelessly towards Fiji being internationally recognised for advancing human rights and it was the first Pacific Island Nation elected to the United Nations Human Rights Council in October 2018.

I strongly believe that supporting industrial needs of our members promotes an integrated approach to social justice and human rights. My role as a member advisory officer here provides a perfect opportunity to provide this support to each of our hardworking members.

I look forward to working with all of you and hope to make a positive contribution to the AEU and its members.

Mitch Wilkinson – Member Advisory Officer

I am very excited to be a part of the AEU team and to be in my role as Member Advisor.

I have come into this role after working in a Melbourne based law firm. My background is in law but I have always been a supporter of public education with both of my parents being AEU members. All my schooling was through the Victorian public schooling system and I know and appreciate all of the hard work that AEU members put in.

I am new to Tasmania and have already jumped at the chance to explore the great Apple Isle. When I’m not working hard to achieve good results for our members you’ll find me trying, and probably failing, to catch a wave, or struggling up a mountain, or enjoying the slowly opening Hobart pubs.

After school I studied Law and International Relations at ACU in Melbourne and have since practiced law in a number of areas including employment law and dispute resolution.

In the wild first few months in my new role I have been lucky enough to already have many positive interactions with our members. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to be in touch. One day I will say hello and shake hands in person, but until then, hello and thanks for welcoming me to the AEU team.



Australian Teacher Aide (Assistant) of the Year Awards 2020

Nominations close tomorrow Friday 3rd July for the Australian Teacher Aide (Assistant) of the Year Award and can be made by a teacher, head of department, or school leader who has direct experience of the nominee’s work.

Is there a Teacher Assistant in your school community who deserves some extra recognition? Teacher Assistants play a vital role in our schools, supporting student learning and wellbeing.

Find out more and submit a nomination here:

Note this is not an AEU initiative – award is run by Australian Teacher Aide.


EBA Working Groups – back on!

Like so many things, COVID-19 has delayed parts of new Agreements that involved AEU member working groups getting together. Some groups had deadlines to complete their work that were towards the end of 2020.

An exchange of letters between the AEU and DoE will allow these deadlines to be extended, but now restrictions have eased the more urgent working groups can recommence their work and we can plan for a Term 4 restart for other groups.

A major priority is the Primary Instruction Load Reduction Working Group who met this week to discuss progress in implementing this new clause of the Teachers Agreement.

As a reminder, here’s a list of the working groups that came out of the new Agreements covering DoE and TasTAFE members:

  • Isolated Schools Incentives
  • Education Support Specialists (PSUWA)
  • Health Care Procedures Allowance (ESPs)
  • TasTAFE Teachers – workload and family friendly arrangements
  • Review of School Based Principal Classification Structure
  • Professional Activity Days
  • Reporting Review
  • Teacher Workload Reference Group
  • Instructional Load – Primary Teachers
  • Support & Mentoring for Early Career Teachers

To find out more about working groups, contact the AEU office: or phone 6234 9500 or 1800 001 313


TasTAFE Member Working Groups

TasTAFE members – join an AEU member working group and play a role in improving key conditions:

  • Family friendly working arrangements
  • Workload (including modes of delivery, tasks undertaken by teachers, definition of teaching activities associated with the modes of delivery, best practice for teachers.)

To find out more or express an interest, email:


Improving incentives for isolated schools

One of the many wins from our recent Teacher’s Agreement EB campaign was to secure paid time off for members at remote or isolated schools to attend to urgent personal business – up to four days for those in Level D schools and up to two days for others – see details in the Agreement.
That’s great but we want more.

We have also been talking with the Department about the need to improve incentives to attract and retain dedicated educators like you in our remote and isolated schools. This follows a sub-branch motion passed at Council by AEU members on King Island.

We are setting up a working group of members to workshop solutions and creative ideas which we will then take to the Department and to do that we need you!

Please submit your Expression of Interest (EOI) to us via this email with your name, school, contact details (mobile) and a brief statement about why you’d like to join this group.

Our first meeting will be in Term III – via Zoom – and at that first meeting we can decide together how often to meet and how we want to tackle the issues. The idea is not to make participation burdensome!

Send your EOI to by the end of this Term and we’ll be in touch soon after. If you have questions, please email


AEU Tax Statement Coming Soon

Update your details now to ensure you tax statement is correct.

AEU membership contributions are fully tax deductible! You’ll receive an email with access to your AEU Tax Statement in the next week.

To update your details, click this link:


Rally against university funding cuts and fee hikes – tomorrow!

Support Tasmanian students and quality education for our next generation of educators!

Facebook event for details and sharing:

Under the Morrison Government’s proposed higher education fee and funding changes, a teaching degree will receive 6% LESS funding per student.

For quality education, we need quality teacher training and higher education, not cuts.

Tasmanian students are organising to oppose the proposed cuts and fee hikes that can be stopped in the Senate. Join them and show your support for quality, affordable higher education tomorrow, Friday 3:30pm in nipaluna/Hobart at Parliament Lawns.

NOTE: BYO mask, hand sanitiser provided and please register to assist with contact tracing (precaution in unlikely event that it is required):


Review of Promoted Position classifications

During the enterprise bargaining procedures in 2019, it was agreed that a working party should be established to look at the classification of promoted positions in the Department of Education.  This was primarily targeting the school based principal classification, but it will have ramifications for assistant principals and advanced skills teachers.

The working party was formed at the end of 2019 and we received around 15 nominations from members across the State to be participants.  The group were able to articulate their perceptions of what short-comings may be inherent in the current classification, and were just starting to turn their thoughts to what an ideal scenario may look like.

Unfortunately the COVID 19 crisis intervened.

We are now ready to refocus on the very important piece of work.  The members of the working party have recommitted to be part of the work, but will also need to reach out to the wider membership for their thoughts as the work progresses.  The intention is to conduct regional workshops during terms 3 and 4, in order collect deeper feedback so that any proposal made to the Department of Education has wide support.

Please keep your eye out for these opportunities to be involved and informed.  The end result will be some recommendations about your classification, salary and entitlements.  Each school setting has particular nuances that need to be considered, so it is very important that you participate.

For questions or to express your interest, contact John O’Rourke:


TRB update – alternate pathways for senior staff

The TRB sent out an update recently acknowledging your extraordinary work and some changes under consideration regarding alternate pathways to full registration for senior staff.

In case you missed it – click here for their full communique:


Work with us – Trainee position deadline extended

The AEU is seeking to employ a Trainee in our Hobart office.  This will be a full time 2 year traineeship (Certificate III in Business) for an enthusiastic and reliable candidate.

The primary duties may be adjusted to suit the successful applicant’s skills and aspirations, but will likely include member contact and engagement, data entry and writing and producing simple documents. You’ll also have the opportunity to develop skills in design and spreadsheets.

Applicants must address the criteria when applying.

When applying for this position, please email a covering letter, address all the Selection Criteria and include a resume.

Email to Adam Clifford, Acting State Manager at  by 5.00pm Thursday 16th July.


Senior Management Pay Freeze – but what’s next?

Gratitude, respect and quality education does not look like pay freezes, wage cuts, reduced staff or any other kind of cuts.

It’s not just a slap in the face to the workforce that went above and beyond through a crisis, it’s bad policy and bad for the economy.

Teachers, principals and support staff are dispersed throughout the state – we spend locally, we support our local communities. The wage increases won by AEU members in current Agreements are recognition members deserve, but they’re also good for our state and local businesses.

We won’t cut our way to economic recovery – investing in valuable workers like AEU members and investing in more teachers and support staff and capital works at schools, colleges and TAFE will create jobs and improve education for future development and wellbeing.

The ‘thank you’ educators need now is a guarantee from the state government that there will be no wage cuts or pay freezes, Agreements will be honoured and quality education will be fully funded as part of the recovery.


TOIL for Education Support Personnel (ESPs/support staff)

Education Support Personnel (ESPs)/support staff who were stood down over the Term 1 break may be entitled to Time Off in Lieu days for missed Easter public holidays (if you’re normally scheduled to work on Mondays and/or Tuesdays).

ESPs are entitled to a maximum of 9 total public holidays in a calendar year that are paid or taken as TOIL.

The DoE has confirmed the details of this entitlement; principals and SBMs have received guidance.

If you qualify for TOIL but haven’t made arrangements to take it, the days have to be taken before the end of the year, so talk to your SBM or principal ASAP!

TOIL days are to be taken on student free days or at another time agreed between the Principal and the employee.

Another win by and for AEU members – stronger in union!

Support Schools ESP TOIL to be paid out!

Finding days for ESPs/support staff at Support Schools to take as TOIL is very challenging, so the DoE has agreed to pay out these TOIL days if you were entitled to them. This has only been agreed for 2020 at this stage.

Click here for the DoE TOIL in Support Schools advice sent to members that includes general information for ESPs.

Payments should occur soon, if you have any questions get in touch:


Healthcare Procedures Allowance Increase

Here’s some more great news for Education Support Personnel (ESPs – support staff)… Thanks to sticking together and campaigning in union, the Health Care Procedure Allowance has been increased from $13.20 to $30 a week.

Payments will flow soon after this additional Agreement gets through the Tasmanian Industrial Commission registration process. The great news?

Thanks to AEU advocacy – these payments will be backpaid to 27th February, 2020!

The allowance is payable to both full time and part time employees at the same rate.

Undertaking of health care procedures is voluntary for employees and employees who elect not to undertake a health care procedure will not be discriminated against by the employer.

  • Here’s the list of procedures the allowance recognises:
  • Catheterisation
  • Use of rectal DiazepamTM/ MidazolamTM
  • Injection of medication in an emergency (such as a severe allergic reaction)
  • Use of gastronomy tube
  • Suctioning and use of a suctioning catheter
  • Resuscitation
  • Administration of oxygen
  • Tracheostomy care
  • Blood and urine testing
  • Administration of oral glucosal sugar
  • Stoma care
  • Peg feeding
  • Changing colostomy bags
  • The collection, storage and dispensing of prescription medication

Need support? Talk to your AEU workplace Rep or contact the office: or call (03) 6234 9500 or 1800 001 313

If you know a support staffer/ESP who’s going to benefit from this but hasn’t yet joined the union, now’s the time to ask them to join the AEU:


Maternity Leave – member contributions pause

Union membership is often most valuable during maternity leave or when returning to work. It’s vital that members retain their membership and their access to support throughout this time.

Some members choose to continue active roles with their union during parts of their maternity leave and of course whenever a member returns to work they want to know that their pay and conditions are protected and improving thanks to their ongoing support and collective strength.

In recognition of the financial pressures that accompany maternity leave, the AEU Tasmania Executive has decided to offer a member contribution pause during maternity leave.

To find out more and notify of changes to your circumstances, contact the AEU office: or call (03) 6234 9500 or 1800 001 313


Union skills – upgrade at the new Australian Trade Union Institute

The Australian Trade Union Institute is a new centre providing education, collaboration and research for Australian Unions.  It is focused on providing cutting edge training and education, undertaking research that furthers the interest of workers.

Powered by the ACTU, the Australian Trade Union Institute gives union members and officials the opportunity take part in workshops and training.

Find out more and explore the courses, webinars and resources on offer here:


Upper House Elections – where do candidates stand on public education?

Saturday 1st August is the new polling day for the 2020 Legislative Council elections to be held in the divisions of Huon and Rosevears.

If you’re in these areas, why not ask the candidates where they stand on public education and the issues that matter to you?

The TEC is closing candidate nominations, so keep an eye on the TEC website for candidate details and information about the elections:


Hillcrest Primary School puts North West Coast on the Map!

HPS is in Devonport and at last we have been able to catch all four elected AEU Reps together for a COVID-19 style celebration. This awesome Sub Branch, has managed to fill four positions: Rep, New Educator Rep, ESP (Education Support Personnel) Rep and HSR (Health and Safety Rep).

Congratulations to the Hillcrest Primary Sub Branch for getting organised and putting these Reps in position to support members in their workplace.

So the challenge is out there for all DoE Sub Branches can you match Hillcrest Primary’s effort?

If you need a hand or have questions please contact your Organiser who will support and assist you (and bring cake and choccies if you’re lucky when you get organised).

Around the table from Left to Right – Ann-Maree Mulcaster (Rep), Carol Miller (HSR), Lisa Willett (ESP Rep) and Shannon Fraser (New Education Rep).

Thanks to North West Organiser Gerard Enniss for sharing the news and supporting a fantastic Sub Branch!


Unions Tasmania Covid-19 Recovery Survey

We want to see a better Tasmania coming out of this pandemic, so we’re asking for your views on Tasmania, your work, and any specific ideas for recovery that you have for our state.

The survey takes just under 10 minutes and you will be helping set our priorities and feedback to Government. Plus we’ll be giving away a hamper with local food and drink to one lucky participant, valued at up to $200.

Your individual responses are confidential but we’ll share outcomes once everybody’s feedback is in.

Survey closes Saturday 15 August 2020.

Click here to begin:


Elections are coming – update your details!

AEU elections for key positions and decision making bodies for your union are coming up.

Whether you’re considering nominating for a position or just want to make sure you get the opportunity to vote and make it count, now is the time to update your details.

Go to our ‘Change Your Details’ page on the website to let us know of any recent changes:


Shared Teaching Resources – Interested?

Do you have some great teaching resources you’d like to share? Would you like to see what other resources have been developed around the state to share in the experience and creativity of colleagues?

A new AEU members-only website may soon give us the ability to share resources among members but we need to know if you’re interested and if you have resources to share.

Let AEU Communications Advisor Jon Stanger know what you think of the idea, whether you would make use of it and what you have to contribute:


Changed your work arrangements?

Notify us now!

If anything about your work arrangements has changed such as your FTE status, or you’re taking maternity leave, or you’re retiring soon then you must let us know straight away so we can make appropriate amendments to your membership subscription payments.

There are several quick and easy ways to let us know about any changes to your circumstances: