Time capsule 1994

In 1994, the IEU changed its name from the Independent Teachers Association to the Independent Education Union, reflecting our full coverage of support staff.

The ITA reached agreements with the Federated Clerks Union and the Federated Miscellaneous Workers Union, enabling it to cover all staff (other than domestic staff) in non-government schools, and the ITA Council voted to change the name to the NSW Independent Education Union on 13 August 1994.

ITA membership stood at a healthy 16,265 (about half of our current membership).

The top rate of pay for Catholic systemic teachers at that time was $41,385; for those in schools represented by the Association of Independent Schools, it was $42,181.

Some issues persist: the ITA was campaigning against work intensification, described by then Deputy General Secretary Patrick Lee as the “colonising of your life”.

Christian Brothers schools became the first non-government schools in NSW to agree to paid maternity leave. Six weeks paid maternity leave was then introduced into Catholic systemic schools from July 1994. Long service leave also increased. Members decided to forgo 1.3% in salary increases to achieve these wins.

Corporal punishment in schools was still permissible in NSW (although the IEU’s federal union had passed a resolution against it in 1984). In Queensland it was for boys only. Victoria, the Northern Territory, and Tasmania allowed it. UNICEF criticised Australia for not having nationwide bans against the physical punishment of children.

Age discrimination became unlawful.

Church, state, federal and international arenas

A federal Labor government was at the helm in 1994, with Paul Keating in his last two years of Prime Ministership. He retired in 1996 when the Howard Government got in on a landslide. The federal Education Minister in 1994 was Simon Crean and the NSW Education Minister was Virginia Chadwick. John Fahey was the Premier of NSW.

Time magazine’s Person of the Year was Pope John Paul II. According to Time, “This Pope has modernised the papacy and internationally spread his reach in massive gatherings of Catholics and frequent consultations with heads of state.”

The Church of England ordained its first women priests.

The Nobel Peace Prize went to Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, Israeli statesmen Shimon Peres and Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin “for their efforts to create peace in the Middle East”.

The Siege of Sarajevo and the Rwandan genocide were occurring. The Rwandan genocide is one of the most notorious modern genocides. During a 100-day period between April and July 1994, nearly 1 million ethnic Tutsi and moderate Hutu people were killed as the international community and UN peacekeepers stood by.

The first democratic elections were held in South Africa and Nelson Mandela became President. The allied occupation of Berlin finally ended.

Fashion, culture and sport

Fashion-wise it was tartan everything, from flannel shirts to pleated skirts to ripped jackets. Grunge was huge – think Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Mudhoney. Flannel, ripped jeans, combat boots and messy hair were all the rage.

In the ARIA Music Awards, Album of the Year and Single of the Year was The Honeymoon Is Over by The Cruel Sea (both single and album had the same name).

In the sporting arena, Canberra won the NSWRL Premiership. The FIFA World Cup was held in the United States and Brazil became the first team to win four times.

The Academy Award for Best Picture in 1994 went to Forrest Gump.

The Booker Prize went to How Late It Was, How Late by James Kelman.

The Australian of the Year was Ian Kiernan OAM, the founder of Clean Up Australia.

RIP Nirvana front man Kurt Cobain, Brazilian Formula One driver Ayrton Senna and North Korean leader Kim Il Sung.

David Towson
IEUA NSW/ACT Branch Deputy Secretary