Affinity hosted Gerardine (Ged) Kearney, President of the Australian Council of Trade Unions for a luncheon lecture on Thursday the 5th of November, 2015.

Guests included representatives from various organisations and community groups, which attended a lunch before the official program commenced with executive members of Affinity Intercultural Foundation.

Stephen Blanks, President of the NSW Council for Civil Liberties, facilitated the program.

The lecture was titled ‘The Role of Australian Unions in Building a Better Future for Marginalised Australians.’

Ged Kearney spoke about the importance of trade unions and the voice they provide for workers. Currently, temporary migration and work visas are on the agenda of the ACTU. Kearney explained that approximately 10% of the people in the workforce are those on temporary visas, hence not covered by trade unions. Ged further expressed the dangers in producing a subclass of unprotected workers that work in exploited conditions. She also discussed the importance of providing decent work and opportunities for the capital of people awaiting jobs.

The protection of international workers by reducing the exploitation of under-qualified workers, through training and education, was explained as part of the key agenda items for the ACTU. Kearney briefly touched upon key factors involving women in trade unions, especially those who suffer domestic violence; explaining the effectiveness of joining trade unions that fight for their rights.

Overall, it was an informative lecture that provided insight on the Australian Council of Trade Unions by addressing current issues.

Gerardine (Ged) Kearney Lecture : Welcoming Speech by Prof Alan Knight

Gerardine (Ged) Kearney Lecture : Facilitator – Stephen Blanks

Gerardine (Ged) Kearney Lecture : Q & A

Gerardine (Ged) Kearney Lecture : Gift Appreciation & Closing Speech

Gerardine (Ged) Kearney – President | Australian Council of Trade Unions
Gerardine (Ged) Kearney

Gerardine (Ged) Kearney

Gerardine (Ged) Kearney commenced as ACTU President on 1 July 2010, and is the third woman to hold the position. Prior to this Ged was the Federal Secretary of the Australian Nursing Federation from April 2008 and had been an elected official with the ANF since 1997.

Ged believes that unions should not just be concerned with the experience of people at work but they should be advocates for change to improve all aspects of Australians lives.

Ged’s ambition as ACTU President is to build respect from political leaders and the broad community for the values of fairness and the role played by unions in delivering social change.



Master of Ceremonies : Stephen Blanks – President | NSW Council for Civil Liberties
Stephen Blanks

Stephen Blanks

Stephen Blanks has been a solicitor since 1985 and became President of the NSW Council for Civil Liberties in October 2013, after having been Secretary since 2005. Stephen’s legal practice is located in Rozelle, Sydney.

Stephen’s particular civil liberty interests include asylum seekers, free speech, privacy and racial vilification.

Although Stephen’s legal practice is primarily commercially focussed, Stephen has over the years taken on many legal cases involving civil liberties issues, including cases involving unpopular people – asylum seekers, protesters, paedophiles people smugglers and people assessed to be threats to national security.

Stephen appears frequently in the media commenting on issues involving civil liberties.




Highlights from the Lecture :

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