Women on the frontline


15 October 2019

I was privileged to take part in this year’s Anna Stewart Memorial Project (ASMP) alongside inspiring women fighting for better working conditions and a better world.

The program helped me better understand the union movement and its importance in the lives of Australian workers. Rights we enjoy such as paid maternity leave, an eight hour day and 40 hour week all started with our unions.

I got to spend some time in the AEU office, assist in the setup of a media event in Victoria Square, attend the annual May Day Dinner and have lunch at Parliament House with Deputy Opposition Leader Susan Close and some of her fellow female MPs.

Gaza Strip

The highlight though was meeting a wonderful Palestinian lady, Hana, who lives in the Gaza Strip and works for APHEDA-Union Aid Abroad. On the first day of the program we did an activity in which we discussed the main issues facing our unions. I was thinking workload, job security, class complexity etc.

When Hana spoke she explained that the main issues for her people are sanitation, clean drinking water, access to electricity and girls as young as 13 being forced to marry. Immediately I was stopped in my tracks and began to reflect; sometimes we get caught up in our own world and lose sight of the bigger picture.

The wonderful thing about being part of a union such as ours is that we have a voice. We get the opportunity to advocate for others and stand up for what is fair and just.

My ASMP experience has changed my perspective, opened my eyes to a much broader view of the world and really driven me to become more active in the AEU and the wider union movement.

Kate McAuley
Lyndoch Primary School