Who we are
The Teachers' Professional Association of Queensland (TPAQ for short) is an industrial association of employees, (an unregistered trade union) whose sole purpose is to protect and promote the interests of members in matters concerning their employment.
TPAQ is a not for profit incorporated association called QTeachers First Inc. (Incorporation Number IA 41812) which trades as Teachers Professional Association of Queensland. TPAQ is not a commercial business, and misrepresentations to this end are just that, misrepresentations. The democratically elected executive are all practicing teachers, not union officials. We are focused on doing what teachers want to see done, not what unelected union officials might want.
A new type of trade union without a monopoly to overcharge you
The TPAQ constitution provides the basis for a new type of employee representative organisation that focuses on professional development, representation and protection of its Members. We will never become a ‘Registered Organisation’ because the registration process is simply a monopoly mechanism by which the unions agree not to compete with each other so that they can all charge twice as much as it costs to provide the service.
Plain and simple: “It is a rort”. So the QTU agree not to accept the membership of a private school teacher and the QIEU agree not to accept the membership of an Education Queensland employed teacher. If they were prepared to compete on their merits there would probably be no need for the services that TPAQ offer. Competition would halve what the QTU and QIEU are able to charge because they both know that provided they command a monopoly in their own little bit of turf, they can charge you twice as much. Much of this “excess fee” charged has been used for party political causes.
TPAQ does not object to that practice. Teachers have willingly joined QTU and QIEU knowing what happens to their fees, now teachers have a choice. An entirely moot point, but our constitution won’t let us use your money for any party political purposes. You only pay TPAQ what it costs to provide the service so there is no money left to play politics with even if we were allowed to.
TPAQ will become the real voice of teachers
The core problem with monopoly union representation isn’t the use of members’ money for political purposes because arguably 50% of teachers are quite happy for their union membership money helping to support the ALP. It is only the supporters of other political parties who would feel aggrieved. At least now they have a choice. The far more insidious effect is that the genuine voice of “work a day” (meant as a compliment) professional teachers are drowned out by the noisy and opinionated minorities who under cover of the monopoly employee representative trade union have taken over the policy and curriculum agenda in this country. No, they are not all barking mad, but you could be forgiven for thinking that sometimes. Most teachers however range from “vehemently opposed” to “somewhat uncomfortable’ with the current state of education policy in Australia. Teachers have become the perennial meat in the education policy sandwich. It has to change and it will only be teachers who can make this change.
The QIEU and the QTU have presided over this education shambles. Budgets have blown out, but teacher remuneration has plateaued and education outcomes have plummeted. It is now the turn of sensible teachers dedicated to teaching to start reforming the system through a genuinely democratic apolitical trade union. We don’t exist to finance a political party. We exist to give a “voice” to professional teachers to allow them to teach. We need to clean out the teachers union sponsored bureaucracies, give back control to teachers and pay them as the professionals they are. Yes, we can do it! If you are up for it, then put your money where your mouth is and join the fight.
‣ Members Interests are the First and Only Interests
Only teacher member issues can be dealt with. TPAQ does not have a party political wing, or any other wing for that matter, which can take priority over teacher issues. Teachers' interests are our only interest.
We only support public education policy issues which benefit teachers first and foremost. Let us give you an example of a policy which sounded great initially, but was only good for the union and not teachers:
In hindsight, was campaigning for smaller class sizes such a good idea now we can see where it ended up? Research has shown what all teachers already know, which is that class size is nowhere near as big an issue as it was made out to be. Of course we don’t want all classes of 50 and 60, but be careful what you wish for. Having uniformly small classes has come at a large budgetary cost. Have education results improved commensurately?
It was a huge issue for the teacher unions because it led to more teachers being employed and a subsequent boom in union membership. The unions made more money but the teachers certainly didn’t. This is because the education funding pie has not grown proportionately and we now have more teachers to pay. Every teacher now gets less but educational outcomes remain largely unchanged.
We need to be smarter than this!
‣ Executive Refreshment
Other than for the inaugural period (whilst we are developing systems and building the database and membership) the State Executive, meaning the State President, Vice President and Treasurer must change every two years. There will always be fresh blood at the top. There are no jobs for life in the TPAQ.
‣ Separation of Policy Determination and Service Provision
Running a trade union can be complicated as it is quite easy to let costs run away. The TPAQ is different. Our elected teachers' executive draft TPAQ policy. However, instead of hiring and managing their own service staff, advocates, lawyers, IT and administrative staff - a notoriously difficult and costly task which all existing unions have demonstrated they do very poorly, TPAQ outsources all of this work to the same professional service provider which has backed up the highly successful Nurses Professional Association of Queensland (NPAQ). Not only are the savings significant, the member service is better. This is another reason the fees are lower.
If you are happy with expensive, poor quality service from your existing union then please don’t join us.
‣ Developed Branch Structure
Members can form branches to better represent regional, sectional or facilitative interests. TPAQ runs from the members up not from the top down.
Branches will automatically get a share of the membership fees. The branch finances are not controlled by the state executive, but by the branch executive, so all monies will be wisely spent on what branch members want.
‣ Policy Developments and Focus on Member Benefits
The constitution sets out a policy development process.
Policy will continue to be developed by working teacher members and will, as a result, promote what teachers see as important, not what union officials may want.
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.