Solidarity with First Nations members and communities

Resolution, 27 October 2023: That the AEU Victorian Branch stands in solidarity with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander members and communities following the referendum result.

We acknowledge the elders and custodians of the lands on which our members work, and recognise the extraordinary leadership shown by them and by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander union members, delegates, organisers, and officers through the referendum process. The AEU recognises that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander elders, community leaders, and members will take the time necessary to consider the pathway forward.

There is much listening, learning, and healing to do together. As teachers, principals, and education support staff, we have a deep responsibility to build the skills, knowledge and understanding of our students and communities, to help to properly shape the world for our future. In no more important way is public education at the heart of our society and democracy, and a key means to achieve justice for First Nations peoples.

As we walk together to achieve a better future, we will not take a step backwards. In and through public education we will foster an environment where open and honest discussions about our history can take place. We will inspire critical thinking, empathy, and a sense of responsibility amongst our students. When we equip our students with the knowledge needed to truly understand the past, we empower them to be active, informed citizens who can shape a just and compassionate future.

Continuing and building our efforts as outlined in the Branch Executive response to the AEU First Nations members forum resolution, means decolonising our union and making it culturally safe through education and advocacy, and through structural, cultural, and behavioural change. We must ensure First Nations member representation in and through union structures; and continue to advance the industrial rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander members.

We will continue to take a stand against all forms of racism, in particular the experiences of racism faced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, including AEU members in their workplaces, driven by the ongoing impact of colonisation.

Our work to achieve justice alongside Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and communities is not finished. Today, and every day, we recommit ourselves to walking together towards a better future for AEU members, our students, their families, and our communities.

Moved: Justin Mullaly
Seconded: Erin Aulich