Member contributions recognised after unprecedented year

3 November, 2020

The annual IEU-QNT Union Excellence Awards recognise the contributions of our most active members and are of particular significance in 2020 given the professional and industrial challenges members have faced. This year, the Awards were announced at our COVID-19 safe videoconference AGM on Friday, 23 November 2020.

John (Max) McDermott Union Activist Award

John (Max) MacDermott was a respected teacher at Mercy College, Mackay. This Award honours his outstanding contribution as a strong advocate and union activist for employee rights and working conditions.

Luisa Marinelli, Mt Maria College, Mitchelton

In 2020, the individual John (Max) MacDermott Union Activist Award is awarded to Luisa Marinelli of St Thomas More College, Sunnybank.

A member of 30 years, Luisa is an activist and longstanding Chapter Representative whose advocacy and leadership has seen the Chapter at Mt Maria College grow into a school with a strong union presence, with members who understand that no issue is too hard to address and matters must be faced squarely to build strength.

Luisa balances the line of leading members while building member capacity through education and imbuing colleagues with confidence.

St Peter’s Lutheran College, Indooroopilly Campus

The 2020 recipient of the John (Max) MacDermott Chapter Award is the IEU Chapter at St Peter’s Lutheran College, Indooroopilly.

The Chapter’s action during the Queensland Lutheran campaign earlier this year focused not only members at the school site, but on the ramifications the proposed substandard agreement would have on their colleagues in Lutheran schools across Queensland.

The St Peter’s “no vote” at ballot was instrumental in the overall rejection of the flawed employer agreement and helped ensure the voices of members across the Lutheran sector were heard.

Ruth George Award

The Ruth George Award honours the memory of Ruth George who, along with her union colleagues, played a key role in re-establishing the wage provisions in the Award covering non-government school assistant mistresses following mandated wage restrictions during the Great Depression era.

Wanda Ryan, St Peter’s Lutheran College, Springfield Campus

This year’s recipient of the Ruth George Award is Wanda Ryan of St Peter’s Lutheran College, Springfield.

Wanda’s leadership and championing of issues affecting school officers has ensured employers treat school officer issues with equal importance to those of teachers.

Wanda’s activism and dedication to union values is evident through her role as Chapter Representative (a role she has held since 2014) her involvement as a Lutheran SBU member and as a member of the St Peter’s school officer Work Health and Safety Committee.

Judith Cooper Award

Judith Cooper played an instrumental role in the establishment of a union in the non-government sector in the Northern Territory.

The Judith Cooper Award is presented in recognition of a member’s outstanding contribution as a union representative and/or in recognition of a Chapter’s outstanding contribution to building a strong union.

Cassandra Holland, Good Shepherd Lutheran College

In 2020, the Judith Cooper Award recipient is Cassandra Holland, Good Shepherd Lutheran College in Howard Springs.

As Chapter Representative, a role she took on upon starting at the College, Cassandra has been instrumental in her Chapter and building membership despite a strong anti-union presence.

Cassandra also played an important role in developing the recent NT Lutheran Log of Claims focused on addressing key member issues.



Elizabeth McCall Award

The Elizabeth McCall Award is presented to a female union activist who demonstrates a fundamental commitment to the principles of unionism and in particular, the pursuit of social justice issues.

Alexandra Patten, The Centre Education Programme

This year the Elizabeth McCall Award recipient is Alexandra Patten of The Centre Education Programme.

As Chapter Representative, Alex ensures her colleagues are knowledgeable about the conditions and campaigns that affect their lives and takes actions that are not only in her colleagues’ best interests, but also for the good of the wider education community.

Thersa Nunn First Nations Member Award

This Award is named in honour of Aunty Thersa (Ther-esa) Nunn, a proud Noonuccal Woman, Quandamooka Elder and long-standing IEU-QNT member.

Thersa’s commitment to union is evident not only in her ongoing support for industrial and professional campaigns, but also her efforts to educate others on the benefits of union.

Patricia Lockington, Holy Spirit College, Cairns Campus

The 2020 recipient of the Thersa Nunn First Nations Member Award is Patricia ‘Patsy’ Lockington of Holy Spirit College, Cairns.

Patsy is the Indigenous Transition Support Officer and Chapter Representative at her school and an inspiring advocate for First Nations people and communities having supported the establishment of a local Yarning circle in the Cairns region and helping her school and the Cairns Catholic Diocese develop Reconciliation Action Plans.

Patsy is actively involved in union activities and her advocacy for union has taken her workplace from just one member to majority membership.

Vonnie Burke Memorial Award and Scholarship

The Vonnie Burke Memorial Award and Scholarship is made in honour of Life Member, remarkable teacher and unionist Vonnie Burke, and seeks to provide an opportunity for an early career female member to undertake union-related professional development.

Nicola Gordon, St Aidan’s Anglican Girls’ School

The 2020 recipient of the Vonnie Burke Memorial Award and Scholarship is Nicola Gordon of St Aidan’s Anglican Girls’ School.

A fierce advocate for social justice, Nicola is enthusiastic about standing in solidarity with colleagues to fight for better work conditions, justice and equality.

Nicola is actively involved in our union’s Equity Committee and constantly advocates for issues faced by her colleagues who belong to marginalised groups, including supporting IDAHOBIT and Wear it Purple Day and attending various rallies.

Beginning Educator Member Award

The Beginning Educator Award provides an opportunity to recognise the outstanding efforts of a beginning educator who has demonstrated a commitment and passion to build a better future for our members.

Keegan Peace, St Augustine’s College

The 2020 recipient of our Beginning Educator Member Award is Keegan Peace of St Augustine’s College.

Keegan’s enthusiasm and dedication to union values as an early career teacher exemplifies what it means to be a proud unionist through his support of social justice campaigns within the community.

He demonstrates leadership qualities by actively promoting union membership to colleagues, educating them about the importance of joining and promoting the need for a safe and equitable working space.

Founders Award

The Founders Award is presented at the discretion of Union Executive/Council to those who exemplify a commitment to fundamental principles of unionism; namely a commitment to dignity, respect, fairness and belief in, and practice of, the power of union collective solidarity.

Hendrik Verbruggen, Aquinas College

In 2020 the Founders Award is awarded to Hendrik Verbruggen, a teacher at Aquinas College in Southport.

Hendrik has been a dedicated Chapter Representative at his school since 2011 and has been a member of our union since 2008, during which time he has always fought to ensure everyone in his Chapter is treated fairly.

Always putting the needs of the collective above his, Hendrick is never one to shy away from standing up for what is just and will be sorely missed by his Chapter as he transitions to retirement.

Life Membership

Peter de Waard, Colin Grant, Christopher Chapman

In 2020, three members – Christopher Chapman of St Augustine’s College Cairns, Peter de Waard of Wide Bay Branch and Colin Grant of Villanova College – have been honoured with Life Membership in recognition of their long-standing commitment to activism and collective union values.

All three recipients have been members of our union for many decades and have held numerous positions including Staff Representative, Collective Bargaining Coordinator and Branch Executive Member.

Teacher Education Bursary

The Teacher Education Bursary encourages those who display an early passion for the values of the education profession to continue to strive for excellence.

 Students who have a parent, partner, guardian or grandparent who is a current or retired financial member of IEUA-QNT are eligible to receive a bursary.

Lucy Belle Loughridge

This year, a general Teacher Education Bursary of $1,000 is awarded to Lucy Belle Loughridge, a Year 12 student at St Hilda’s School on the Gold Coast, who is commencing a Bachelor of Education at Griffith University in 2021.

Related news