Emotional farewell for dedicated councillor

Rights are under attack and once you lose them, it’s very hard to get them back

Patricia Harvey attended her last IEU Council in June after 20 years dedicated service.

Harvey was a science teacher and IEU Rep at James Sheahan Catholic High school in Orange for the years she served on Council.

Now retired from teaching, she said she would miss the good friends she has made at the IEU and the broadening of her horizons gained from attending meetings.

“There’s a young Aboriginal mother sitting on my table today. If I wasn’t involved with the IEU I would have no understanding of her journey. It provides different perspectives that I will miss.”

Harvey said her father always encouraged union activities as he was once sacked for asking for extra money for working outdoors.

Harvey remembers IEU highlights including big wins gained from the Catholic employers thanks to Union campaigns.

She is worried that young teachers do not fully appreciate what has gone on before them and are not joining the Union.

“Rights are under attack and once you lose them, it’s very hard to get them back,” she said.

Harvey said teachers today are being stretched too much, with an emphasis on data collection rather than classroom work.

“Teachers have lost much of their autonomy in the classroom. Since I’ve retired, I can see there’s a lot of nonsense being asked of teachers.”

But Harvey has hope for the future. She enjoyed recent guest speakers at Council ACTU Secretary Sally McManus and Rail, Tram and Bus Union Secretary Alex Claassens and said the Change the Rules campaign “nailed it”.