Who we are and what we stand for. A Manifesto.


We are a decentralised member-driven union that provides comprehensive legal protection, without politics, at a fraction of the cost.


The TPAQ difference

We are not a government-sanctioned puppet union.
We are what unionism used to be. We protect and fight for our members. Teachers have been
poorly represented for decades and deserve better. We bow to no Government Minister or
political party, nor do we align ourselves with any political or social issues that have no bearing
on the workplace rights or conditions of our members. Practically, this means we can offer
realistic fees whilst providing you with the best workplace legal protection possible.

Real member protection
We offer all-inclusive criminal and industrial legal protection. We commit to providing lawyers
(not union officials) where it is in the best interest of members. We also provide the professional
indemnity insurance that others won’t.

Let teachers teach!
Teachers are tertiary educated professionals and it is time they were treated that way. Less
nonsensical professional development sessions and more trust in teachers to know their
students and what works best in their classroom. Teaching to meet pupils needs directly without
excessive, pointless paperwork and jargon.

Let teachers choose
Core to our philosophy is choice. Our existence provides teachers with a choice in which union
to join, not just like it or lump it. Our view is that competition makes all parties lift their game. We
absolutely support the right of other unions to be political, advocate extreme positions or donate
to political parties. At TPAQ, we offer an alternative that is solely about your rights and your
protection in the workplace.

Let parents choose
Many of the problems beleaguering the education system, bureaucratic reporting, skewed focus
on data, cluttered curriculum and peddling of ideological causes have had detrimental effects on
teachers and on student learning. Teachers are currently totally beholden to an Education
bureaucracy which determines what they do, how they do it and ultimately arbitrarily decides
whether the teacher will get rewarded for their efforts. The teacher’s client is the faceless and
heartless bureaucracy. The client should be their students, their parents and the community
which also has expectations of the qualifications of the next generation. However, the
catchment system lends more power to bureaucrats and stops parents pursuing the educational
outcomes that they want for their children. At TPAQ we support the ability of parents to choose
which school their children attend. Not only would this alleviate tension, it allows for stricter
disciplinary measures (exclusion seems to be a rarity these days) and for more harmonious
school environments. Empower parents, allow community-driven tailored solutions, disempower
central offices.

Our focus

Issues that the TPAQ is focussed on.

1. Teachers are being forced to rely on Government sanctioned puppet unions that
do not back teachers when it matters.

a. Management have weaponised Performance Improvement Plans (PIP) and
Managing Unsatisfactory Performance (MUP) processes against teachers.
Almost always, management skip steps 1 to 4 of the department defined process
for improving performance, leap-frogging straight to a formal process. This is a
clear abuse of processes and is not acceptable.
b. Fail to advocate. QTU instructs their reps to be “support people” rather than
advocate. Teachers have been left hanging out to dry when they need real
support. They aim to maintain the status quo and not rock the boat. Our aim is to
advocate and fight for members.
c. Administrators that are in the union (principal rep). We recognise that
having principals or other school managers as delegates in the same union
as teachers makes raising sensitive issues at branch meetings almost
impossible. This also creates a power imbalance in the workplace. We
commit to only allowing teachers to be branch secretaries.

2. Teacher Workloads.
The assessment ‘red tape’ of the ‘criteria and standards’ approach erodes teaching time.
Also after years of application of the criterion/standards assessment and constructivist
education theories, there has been no discernible improvement in performance or outcomes for
Queensland year 11 and 12 students in Mathematics Chemistry and Physics relative to other
jurisdictions. General numerical reporting scales are widely used for assessment by most major
international and national year 12 reporting schemes and achieve similar or better outcomes.
One might well ask why burden the teachers with the additional workload for no benefit to
students? One might also ask, has the status quo delivered better workloads in the last 10

3. Contract teachers not being offered FT positions.
Too many teachers up to (20%) are on short term contracts. Teaching on short term contracts does not lead to a commitment to long term professional development and the acquisition of high levels of expertise. As well, the best achievers will not commit to the poor career prospects of short term contract teaching. Just how many fully trained teachers are out there but not on the Qld Teacher Registration list (which is possibly a legally questionable ‘barrier to entry’ to the
teaching profession as currently constituted in Qld)

4. Restore trust in teachers.
Queensland teachers are forced to focus on poorly targeted data collection rather than real student performance. We are not treated as professionals. Trust in teachers is being eroded.
Teachers are not allowed to rely on their tertiary education. The role of a professional teacher is deskilled by top-down micromanagement by remote central bureaucracy while the onerous
paperwork burden grows and grows.

5. Over-reliance on teachers to parent children.
a. Teachers should not have to buy resources for students. It is unsustainable to
expect teachers to provide educational necessities like stationery (and
sometimes even tuckshop money). Schools should be stepping in and stepping
up. If schools cannot afford to be the backstop, pressure should be applied to
parents or Governments. Not teachers.
b. Pastoral care. More and more teachers are expected to take over the moral and
basic personal development of students. Where parents are neglecting, teachers
are made to step in and tire themselves with the emotional baggage of parenting
many students in the class.

6. Protection from workplace bullying and violence from pupils, parents and
a. Assaulting a teacher is a crime. Anyone including pupils or parents who assault
or attack a teacher should be charged by the police and be fully supported by
school management. In Queensland, teachers have been stabbed, spat on and
punched. It must stop. The QTU is more concerned with social issues than
issues that affect teachers like workloads and school violence. We have been
made aware of an incident where a female teacher was punched in the side of
the head. The QTU’s response was not to support the exclusion of the student
(for fear of racism) but to transfer the victim teacher. Deeply disturbing. Another
incident where a teacher was punched, took time off to recover and the week
they returned was stabbed by another student. The QTU’s response? “The QTU
is too busy, maybe try the school officer”. The TPAQ will adopt a zero-tolerance
attitude towards teachers and will ensure expulsion over the transfer of victims.
i. Link to Naru strikes

b. Protection from defamation. Parents that try to ruin the reputations of teachers online will expect a prompt response from the TPAQ. We commit to at least issuing a concerns notice on behalf of members.

How do we achieve success?

Our new collective creed should be “Just let teachers teach!”

  • Give parents greater say in school selection so that parents can have a real say in finding an education program that suits their child’s needs. Qld Independent Public Schools go some way to achieving this. This also recalibrates focus from central office to parents. Education vouchers are just one solution that would give parents real choice across government and non-government schools. The toughest job in the world is trying to teach a pupil who just does not want to be at school.
  • Greater classroom autonomy, with teachers, trusted to teach the curriculum free of
    micromanagement and over-reporting.
  • Support some form of national standardised testing, be it NAPLAN or an amended iteration. This data needs to be interpreted and assistance provided to schools that need it.
  • Ensure that all teachers have demonstrated personal competence in the subjects they are called on to teach. There is an alarming shortage of properly qualified teachers in key learning areas such as mathematics, science, foreign languages technology
    including IT as well as culturally important fields such as music.
  • Increase transparency in curriculum content and assessment by the use of public examinations and plain language as opposed to education jargon.
  • Remove barriers to entry to teaching with revision of teacher registration by
    acknowledging the primacy of formal tertiary qualifications in teaching subject areas supported by courses professional teaching practice as opposed to an overemphasis on
    education theory and ideology.
  • Address poor discipline in public schools. TPAQ believes that Principals should be able to exclude dangerous and repeatedly ill-disciplined students without being subject to
    departmental review.
  • Remove the ideological baggage and focus on teaching the core academic material that will restore Australian school outcomes to top-level academic international performance standards.

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The Teachers' Professional Association of Queensland (TPAQ) - ABN 93 587 935 271 is an industrial association of employees, whose principal purpose is to protect and promote the interests of members in matters concerning their employment. We are a non-party political alternative to the QTU and the IEU. Our membership fees are lower and reflective of costs rather than your salary. We provide all the same services, plus Professional Indemnity Insurance.