Music teacher Sally Quinnell is putting her experience advocating for students and colleagues to good use by standing for the ALP at the 25 March state election in the seat of Camden.
Sally is the IEU Rep at St Anthony’s Catholic College Padua, where she has worked for two years. Even though she is the sole member of the music department, she was still keen to become the rep.
“We have a great team of members who all work together, and we have a great rapport with the executive, so we have a good ability to discuss things,” Sally said.
Graduating from Sydney Conservatorium of Music in 1999, Sally has seen in it all in education. She started off in the public system, went to teach in England for a while, came back to Sydney Catholic Schools, then the Wollongong diocese, went into the independent sector, ran her own music tutoring business and is now back with Sydney Catholic Schools. She has taught K-12, through numerous different pedagogies but, she jokes, still the same syllabus.
“At my very first staff meeting, an older teacher came and sat next to me and asked me if I was in the union. She said joining the union was like taking out house insurance. Accidents can happen at any time, and the union always has your back. That stuck with me, and I use the same story myself as IEU Rep.”
Another discussion Sally remembers from her first staff meeting was a prediction of a teacher shortage in 20 years’ time.
“I remember thinking that’s ridiculous. I was so proud to have landed a full-time job as it was so difficult to get one. Look where we are now.”
Sally stood at the previous state election and enjoyed the second biggest swing in the state towards Labor.
She said Camden is a bellwether seat, meaning it is usually held by the party that forms government. But being on the margins of Sydney, part suburban and part rural, it is easily overlooked, and she thinks particularly so for the past decade.