April 23, 1997

The general elections for both the NSW Branch of the United Firefighters Union of Australia (UFUA) and the NSW Fire Brigade Employees’ Union (FBEU) are currently under way. Whilst the UFUA and FBEU are technically two separate organisations, arrangements exist for the UFUA NSW Branch office holders elected in the current ballot to be automatically declared elected to the corresponding positions in the FBEU. Therefore, in this election members are electing representatives for both the NSW Branch Committee of Management, and the FBEU State Committee of Management for the term 1997 to 2000.

All financial members should by now have received a ballot paper and reply-paid envelope from the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) at the address held in the Union’s records. If you have not received a ballot paper, you should contact the AEC’s Returning Officer, Mr Roy Hill direct on (02) 9375 6364.

Unions are democratic organisations, and the triennial elections for your elected officials are your opportunity to have a direct say in how our Union will operate for the next three years. Whilst the final say on any matter rests with the rank and file at General Meetings of members, the Committee of Management organises the Union, and determines its policies, in the intervening periods. It is important enough for you to take the few minutes necessary to register your vote.

It is also true that employers watch the number of voting returns at union elections in order to measure the level of membership interest in their union. The Department is no exception. If only 10% of members bother to vote, the Department will think that firefighters are an easy target. However, if 80-90% of the rank and file vote, the Department will receive a very, very clear message that firefighters care about their jobs, and their Union.

Think carefully about your vote – it does matter.

Whoever you support, please complete your ballot paper and return it by Tuesday 6th May – for our Union’s sake.

Chris Read

State Secretary

Wednesday 23rd April, 1997