Image for Battlelines drawn in teachers’ war

As the teachers vote to stop work over the Bartlett Government’s Tasmania Tomorrow “education revolution” Tasmanian Times has learned also of a war for dominance within the Tasmanian Branch of the Australian Education Union.

It pits current AEU President Leanne Wright against Greg Brown AEU President Secondary Colleges/PY10.

Tasmanian Times has letters sent to teachers which strenuously argue the case for and against each candidate.

Leanne Wright has issued a 22-point declaration of her effectiveness as President (Download).

Tasmanian Times has seen a response from Ross Dale, President TAFE Division PY10. It is titled Branch President’s Report Card.

It lists seven perceived failures of the current President, and one success: “in dividing the membership fo the AEU ... (time) “better spent fighting Tasmania Tomorrow.

Ross Dale has also issued an accompanying letter extolling the virtues of a Number 1 vote for Greg Brown “for a strong, decisive fair and equitable branch president” numbering the candidates 1 Greg Brown, 2 Rob Soward, 3 Sue Hawkins, 4 Terry Polglase, 5 Leanne Wright.

In the letter Dale claims “the union is in a mess. It is greatly divided - and in my opinion, it has not been so divided since the amalgamation of the three foundation unions (Tasmanian Teachers Federation; Secondary Colleges Staff Association and the Tasmanian TAFE Staff Society, into the Tasmanian Branch, AEU.”

“You may ask why? The answer is in my opinion because over the last two years the current AEU leadership has been unable or unwilling to provide any real and effective support for the PY10 (TAFE Dision, Secondary College Sector and Adult Education) membership.

“The autonomy of the TAFE Division and Secondary Colleges Sector have been compromised - particularly because of the way in which the current leadership has sidelined the elected respresentatives of these sections during negotiations for our agreements and awards, and failed to respect the decisions of these sections.

“As a result PY10 members have in some areas been subjected to the most represensible bullying by the government, in other areas they have lost conditions and/or have only maintained conditions because of the efforts, diligence and at times stubbornness of the TAFE Division Executive and Council and the Secondary Colleges Sector Committee of Management,” says Ross Dale.

Two years ago when the Tasmania Tomorrow reforms were first proposed, Wright was the union organiser responsible for secondary colleges. She stood for the state president’s position because she wanted “…to get the AEU Executive under control…”  and so that she could …make sure the AEU’s employees are looked after…”

Salary packages for the State President and AEU State Manager Chris Lane are not inconsiderable.

There is $3.5 [$3] million ( Source: HERE )  in union fees paid to the Tasmanian Branch of the AEU each year; from which the AEU State President and State Manager’s salaries are paid. The AEU branch state manager’s contract includes this clause:

3.1 Salary

      The Employer will pay to the Employee a salary from the commencement date which is equivalent to 159% of Band 1 Level 12 of the Teaching Service (Tasmanian Public Service) Salaries Award. 

The union’s website shows that the Band 1 Level 12 teacher salary is currently $75,323.  This means that the AEU manager receives wages of $119,763.

In addition the contract states that the manager is paid superannuation at 15%, and is provided with a car to the value of $35 000 (the union pays for registration and maintenance), plus mobile phone, giving a salary package is $137,728 plus car etcetera.

The union’s state president, received, according to the union’s annual financial statement,  available on their website:

HERE ,

remuneration of $112,000 for the 2007/8 financial year.

According to the union’s employee agreement, union employees receive the same wage increases as teachers.  In 2009 they received 5.9%, meaning that Leanne Wright currently receives base remuneration of $118,608.  She is also provided with a car by the union.

With the 15% superannuation added, Wright’s salary package is $136,400, plus car.

A total of $250,000 to $275,000 to run a union with 24 employees.  Does this union branch pay more than the secretary of the Department of Education receives for running a department with 10,000 staff?