The CPSU recently wrote to CPSU members about Governing Council's plan to strengthen the political capacity of the CPSU by affiliating to the ALP in the NT.
As you know there are many policy and legislation issues which have a central impact on the lives of CPSU members. Now more than ever, we need the capacity to win improvements for our members through the political and parliamentary process, as well as through our traditional industrial and campaigning methods. The key issues members want to see adopted as future Labor government policy include:
• proper funding for public sector jobs and services;
• restitution of workers compensation protection and the health and safety rights removed by the Howard government;
• guaranteed superannuation employer contribution of 15.4%;
• a fair system of workplace laws;
• improved standards for paid maternity leave and return to work part time;
• decent whistle-blower laws.
Through affiliation your views will be represented at a range of ALP forums which have a key role in determining public policy. Affiliation occurs on a State by State basis and has already taken place in New South Wales, South Australia, Queensland and the ACT.
CPSU's political claim and our affiliation with the ALP will be regularly reviewed by Governing Council to determine its effectiveness.
Governing Council also recognises that individual members must be given a choice as to whether or not their membership is included for affiliation purposes. If you wish to ‘opt out' of the affiliation process please contact us:
If you are interested in policy development or getting involved in representing CPSU members' issues in Labor forums we'd also like to hear from you.
Paul Morris - CPSU Regional Director NT
Stephen Jones - CPSU National Secretary
SOME BACKGROUND INFORMATION
Relationship with ALP: Governing Council voted in 2006 to authorise the development of a plan which outlines the strategies required to deliver on our political agenda. Affiliation of CPSU to the ALP for the purpose of achieving these objectives would be part of this plan. Affiliation is a means to an end, not an end in itself.
What is affiliation? Affiliation would establish a formal working relationship between CPSU and the ALP. It would operate in a similar way to our existing TLC or ACTU affiliations. Affiliated unions are entitled to votes in decision making forums, based on the number of members the union is affiliated for. Affiliation happens on a state by state basis. A union makes an application based on the number of members it wishes to affiliate for.
Why affiliate with the ALP? Affiliation would provide the CPSU with a vote on ALP policy. Affiliation ensures a voice at the table. If we believe that our members need a voice in Parliament, then it is important that we shape the party that was formed to represent organised workers - the ALP - and maintain its modern union character. If we truly want to make a positive difference for working Australians and their families - we need to have influence where it matters.
What happens next? The first steps are to consult with members, develop our political claim and strategically assess where and when affiliation would deliver the best outcomes for CPSU members. Consultation and affiliation will happen on a State-by-State basis. Any affiliation decision will be reviewed by Governing Council regularly to determine its effectiveness.
What benefit would CPSU members get? Affiliation brings access to policy formation and decision makers. It's an additional tool to help us deliver better industrial outcomes, protect jobs and rights, and push for quality public services. Over the next few years CPSU members in the public sector will be confronted by tough industrial issues and changes in public sector services policy. We need to use all means possible to influence these debates and have our say.
Aren't public servants meant to be apolitical? Yes. However affiliation would not change how members conduct themselves as public servants and their duty towards the government of the day. After all, public sector worker have the same rights as others citizens to join political parties.
How much would it cost the union? Affiliation costs vary from state to state but are generally in the range of $3-$4 per member, per year. Individual members will not be charged any extra fee or levy because of affiliation.
Can individual members 'opt out' of affiliation? Yes, individual members are free to 'opt out' of any political affiliation. The Nurses Union in QLD and public sector unions in the UK operate this way. Basically it means the CPSU would affiliate with ALP for a smaller number of members (ie, membership level minus those members who opt out).
Does affiliation mean CPSU members automatically become ALP members? No. What this means is that your union is able to represent members at policy making conferences to have a voice on our industrial and industry policy issues. If individual members do not want to be represented in these forums they can opt out, and your membership will not be counted for affiliation purposes. If individual members want to be members of the ALP, they will need to join in their own right.