From dairy farmer's daughter to prospective MP

This year’s South Coast IEU Women’s Forum was held at Kiama Preschool in March with guest speaker Fiona Phillips, ALP candidate for the very marginal federal electorate of Gilmore.

Phillips shared her journey from daughter of a dairy farmer to prospective federal MP. It was interesting to hear that her situation was similar to many women juggling work and raising a family.

Her passion for providing better outcomes for children through well resourced early learning centres, schools, TAFE and university was clear.

Sincere appreciation is expressed to Kiama Preschool Director Maria Whitcher and her staff for hosting the forum and making participants welcome. A particular highlight was the sharing of an Acknowledgement of Country with strong connections to the local environment.

South Coast IEU members were also joined by Harry Wall from the ACTU who focused on Changing the Rules for Working Women, noting that this was also the theme for the NSW/ACT IEU Women’s Conference last year.

Some of the broken rules which need changing for women include the gender pay gap (especially for early childhood teachers), more secure work options, stronger rights for work arrangements to balance work and care, payment of superannuation on parental leave and the need to change industrial laws to better protect all workers.