Spring 2003

Adopted at the Federal conference of AEU January 17, 2003

To Members of Education Unions.
Act Now to Oppose this War

Dear Colleagues,
The Australian Education Union, the Independent Education Union of Australia and the National Tertiary Education Union represent over 230,000 staff in educational institutions across Australia. We strongly condemn the Howard Government's support for a war against Iraq by a US led "coalition of the willing". As educators, we stand for the peaceful resolution of conflict where possible in all spheres, including international relations.

The Unions condemn the escalation of air strikes by the US and Britain in and beyond the US-imposed Iraqi flight exclusion zones and the build-up of increasing numbers of US and British troops inside Iraqi borders. Effectively there is now an "unofficial war" against Iraq with UN arms inspections incomplete and no Security Council vote on the issue.

It is clear that the US has no intention of finding a diplomatic solution to the problem despite important compromise suggestions from France, Germany and Russia. The US is determined to lead the world into an immoral and illegal war. The duplicity of the Howard Government in attempting to mislead the Australian people on this vital issue has contributed to massive public opposition to its actions.

What can we do?

The AEU, IEU and NTEU call on members to hold meetings within their workplaces to consider resolutions which:

  •  Oppose war against Iraq.

  •  Condemn the Howard Government's failure to support those countries which seek diplomatic and constructive alternatives to war.

  •  Call on school and university communities to support the millions of people in Australia and across all continents who protested against a war on Iraq.

Education union members should consider working together to protest against the war and to build community dissent and opposition. We ask you to consider:

  1. Attend protest rallies if and when war is declared and encourage other staff and students to attend. Such rallies will take place at 5.00 PM across the country.

  2. Defend staff and students who exercise their rights as citizens to demonstrate their opposition to this war in anti-war protests.

  3. Promote and attend protest rallies in cities and regional centres, with school/university/TAFE banners etc. identifying who we are.

  4. Organise activities to raise money and understanding of the issues - tuckshops for peace, and no war raffles to raise funds for peace activities and to profile the issue in education workplaces.

  5. Collect contributions from workplaces to fund an advertisement opposing the war in the local/suburban newspaper.

  6. Hold protest gatherings outside the office of local members of parliament.

  7. Write letters to members of parliament and local newspapers.

  8. Hold peace assemblies.

  9. Ensure that the issues of peace and conflict resolution are high on the agenda within school and university communities.

  10. Encourage students to think about the issues, with discussions introduced by reading a statement to students about the implications of the war and its impact on ordinary Iraqi students and their families.

  11. Put signs at the front of your school/university - "This School/University is a Peace Zone".

We oppose any military assault on Iraq because it will cause death, injury, poverty, disease and homelessness for innumerable innocent Iraqi citizens. It is vital that as educators we continue to campaign for every peaceful option to be exercised and the ending of this illegal and immoral assault.

Rob Durbridge
AEU Federal Secretary
Lynne Rolley
IEU Federal Secretary
Grahame McCullough
NTEU General Secretary
5 March 2003

Spring 2003

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Lesson Plans and Teaching Ideas

Suggested Readings for Teachers and Students

Background Documents and Related Materials

Maps and Geography Activities

Resources for Teachers

Links About the War

Teacher Groups Against the War

Teacher Resolutions Against the War