UPDATED 31 January 2024
The AEU is a union that supports peace and is continuing to call for the Albanese government to advocate for a permanent ceasefire and an urgent peaceful solution to the ongoing conflict in the Middle East.
In December, the AEU Branch Council proposed further iterations to the position the union has taken in response to the conflict in Palestine as outlined through the Federal AEU letter to the Prime Minister and statement by AEU branch presidents, and as an affiliated union to the global education union Education International, the Victorian Trades Hall Council, and the ACTU.
Education International is also among Global Unions calling for unified action following the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruling on the case filed by South Africa against Israel, regarding the application of the Genocide Convention in the Gaza Strip.
EI urges Israel to comply with the ICJ’s Order to take immediate steps to prevent acts of genocide, punish incitement to genocide, and facilitate the provision of basic services and humanitarian assistance to Palestinians in Gaza.
The Global Unions emphasise the gravity of the situation. Union members in Gaza are being killed while they go about their work, including teachers, healthcare workers, transport workers, journalists, UN staff, international aid workers, and many others.
AEU Branch Council resolution: Educating for Peace
All wars are fought against children. AEU members have always advocated for the rights of children and young people to be educated, live and learn in environments which are healthy and safe, and free from oppression, including war.
Branch Council recognises that it is through the professionalism of AEU members that this advocacy has been realised via peace education programs and units of learning which seek to empower students through teaching them about the importance of building, maintaining, and promoting cultures of peace and eliminating all forms of violence.
Educating for peace must be able to be done without AEU members being confined by kneejerk political reactions or limitations on their professional rights. Instead, effective peace education relies on teachers having the professional agency to develop and provide teaching and learning experiences which call out the violence and injustice which is at the heart of war and conflict. The agency of teachers and their professional judgement (based on their knowledge, skills, and experience) must be exercised in a way which enables teachers to make decisions and act in the context in which they work.
The conflict in the Middle East shows the critical importance of peace education and the role of educators to help students develop critical thinking skills and media literacy to counter the spread of disinformation, in order to achieve communities free from conflict and ones which have peaceful relations at the centre.
The AEU calls on the Allan government and the Department of Education to ensure that school staff have the resources, guidance and support they need to educate for peace and to engage in respectful discussions with students and colleagues, without fear of hate and discrimination.
The AEU calls on the Department of Education to ensure that AEU members have a right to appropriately and respectfully engage with their colleagues about community issues, including the current conflict in the Middle East, and to provide staff and students who are impacted by the conflict with the support they need.
The AEU will:
continue to work through the federal AEU, Education International, VTHC and the ACTU to build more pressure to end the conflict and see the federal government call for a permanent ceasefire and the urgent implementation of a genuine peace agreement
promote to members the weekly marches with other unions and community members which call for peace.