A great day for women in our union
CFMEU women workplace delegates, health and safety representatives and officials from around Australia met in Canberra yesterday to determine priorities for women in our union for the coming year. The conference was both productive and informative.
Lorraine Usher, Secretary of the CFMEU Women’s Committee and NSW Energy Division Secretary opened the conference and outlined the work of the CFMEU Women’s Committee.
Photos from the Conference: Photo Galleries
Members of the committee then reported on activities within their Divisions over the past year. CFMEU women were then led through key issues affecting members campaign and how women can best contribute, by Jane Calvert, CFMEU Forestry and Furnishing Division President and CFMEU Women’s Committee National Liaison.
ACTU President Ged Kearney addressed the conference on the issues of ACTU Congress Policy on work, life family and domestic violence.
“It’s very important for women to meet and we also know that many issues will not be advanced without women to push a progressive social agenda.
“This is a sign of a very modern union to see women coming together,” said Ged Kearney
Minister for Sport, Minister for Multicultural Affairs and Minister Assisting for Industry and Innovation, Senator Kate Lundy gave the keynote address.
Minister Lundy told the Conference how she discovered politics on a building site. She became an activist primarily in workplace health and safety as she worked in asbestos removal and was then recruited as a union delegate for the BWIU.
After joining the ALP at 18 when working on site, Minister Lundy said that she had directly benefited from the work of generation of women leaders who came before her and supported her.
NSW Construction and General Division President and Women’s Committee member Rita Mallia then addressed some of the issues that will face women and unionists should there be an Abbott-led Government.
Michelle Ingley-Smith, Vice President of the CFMEU Women’s Committee then led a session on workplace mentoring, which was followed by the plenary session for the conference where decisions were made about priorities for action in the year ahead.
The day ended with a dinner, where Federal Member for Page Janelle Saffin MP spoke about her fascinating life and work history.
Apprentice painter Molly Close had this to say about the CFMEU Women's Conference:
“I am an apprentice painter and a very proud construction worker and member of the CFMEU Construction and General Division of Queensland. I want the union to continue the positive development of engaging, recruiting and mentoring women into the industry and also into the Union.
“We need to continue to change the culture in construction, to make it more accessible to women and to make it one of equality and respect. But also I want to thank the Union for including me and for this opportunity today and into the future.”
Molly Close, apprentice painter.
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