SPEECH: Trish Foster at the Sept 2018 Walk-Off

SPEECH: Trish Foster at the Sept 2018 Walk-Off

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In August I had the absolute privilege of going to Canberra on your behalf to speak to Bill Shorten and other MPs and Senators.

This went much better than we could have ever anticipated, with Bill Shorten coming over to us on Parliament House’s lawns and publicly stating that under a Labor government, the ALP would support us and recognise our action for equal pay.

Of the two Tasmanian Senators and Federal Minister I personally spoke to that day, we had nothing but their full support.

This is wonderful news for all of us, but it does not mean the fight is over. It only means that it is time to ramp it up.

We have tried talking to the Liberal Government. We have tried for years! But they are too busy fighting with each other and keeping their female politicians down to bother with us.

Why would they care about us if they don’t even care about the people in their own party?

When it comes to election time, we need to support the people who support us.

But we also need to make our voices loud and clear. We need all politicians, no matter who they are with, whether they be with a major party or stand as an independent, to stand with us. We need EVERYONE to understand what it is we do and how this is not just some babysitting job.

We need to be the people who our grandchildren will study in class as the heroes of the early years. Like the suffragettes are seen in winning the vote.

We need to be the ones who were seen to take a stand and not back down, just because some middle-aged man in a blue tie thinks we are not worth it. We will show him that we are well worth it!

I feel that I have been put on this earth to make it a better place for our children. I am here to fight for their education, just as much as our pay rises. These two things go hand in hand.

We educators are a special breed. We are caring, nurturing people, who only want the best for the children and families we work with.

But there are times that we have to stop and stand up for our own rights, so that we can make education in the early years better. If we don’t stand up and tell Australia that we are very important to this economy, then the future generations of educators will also struggle.

Imagine if we all stopped working in this job on the same day? Parents would have to stay home and businesses would struggle. When businesses struggle the economy struggles. We are very important in the larger scheme of things. We are not just a group of people who can be swept aside.

Time is up. Will you stand with me at the next election and put the Libs last?

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