ANMJ Featured Story

Editorial Lee Thomas, ANMF Federal Secretary

Tuesday 24th October, 2017

After an exhilarating two days of passion and inspiration at ANMF’s 13th Biennial in Hobart last month, I can now sit back and reflect on what has been yet another successful national conference for the Federation.

This conference has meant a lot to me, not only because it has left me with great hope for the future, but because this was my last biennial conference.

After 20 years in the union movement I have decided to call it a day for a new career in law. I will officially step down from my position on 8 December 2017.

While I am very excited about this new chapter, it is hard leaving the ANMF, which has been a part of my life for such a long time. There is no denying the union gets under your skin but all in a good way. It has been an amazing ride made all the better because of each and every member.

It’s been an honour and a privilege to lead the ANMF, working on behalf of you all.

Over the past eight years as Federal Secretary, I am proud to say membership has increased by more than 12% and continues to grow rapidly. Membership currently stands at a record 270,000 making the ANMF the biggest union in the country.

Throughout my time as Federal Secretary, we have run many campaigns nationally and on a state level, resulting in tangible outcomes to be proud of.

Without doubt we have been a force to be reckoned with in health, aged care and the industrial and professional arenas.

I am extremely confident of the union’s future as I am sure the ANMF will continue to support and stand up for the rights of nurses and midwives, healthcare and social justice issues. The gumption, determination and leadership shown by delegates at the conference is clear evidence of this prospect.

One of the biggest issues discussed at the conference was the state of aged care. Nurses, carers and residents continue to be at risk by employers putting profits before people. The ANMF has been consistently working hard to protect them, but the fight continues.

To this end the ANMF is launching a new national campaign to fix the crisis in aged care, where pressure will be mounted on political parties, particularly leading up to the federal election.

The ANMF will also publicly name providers who compromise care as a result of inadequate staffing ratios. A key component of the campaign will be to hold aged care providers to account on how they use taxpayers’ money.

This campaign needs the courage of conviction, unity of purpose and strength in numbers. I am confident the ANMF and its members will rise to the occasion to ensure we have an aged care system we all rightly deserve.

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