Mary Kelly

Interviewed by
Louise Ryan and Roger Scott
Feb 12 2013
Mary Kelly
Time Summary Keywords

Mary Kelly recounts her early family life and education in Brisbane, Queensland.

Brisbane, Catholics

Mary Kelly discusses her exposure to unions, such as the Australian Workers Union (AWU), through her family. She describes her first job as a teacher and her initial involvement in the Queensland Teachers Union (QTU).

AWU, QTU, school teacher, unions

Mary Kelly speaks about becoming more involved in activism and campaigning during university. She recalls that trade unions were an important factor in this activism.

BLF, Carole Ferrier, Dan O'Neill, feminism, International Women's Year, 1975, Sam Watson, union activism, unions, universities

Mary Kelly describes her wariness about joining a political party, despite attending many and various events and meetings put on by those political factions.

factions, North Queensland, Union of Australian Women

Mary Kelly recalls her time as a high school teacher, from 1977 until 1986, working in both rural and urban areas. She discusses her increasing involvement in the Queensland Teachers Union throughout this period.

Education Department, Goss Government 1989-96, QTU, school teacher, schools

Mary Kelly discusses union presence in the school, and the many opportunities made available for teachers to become active in the Queensland Teachers Union.

QTU, school teacher, schools, union delegate, union positions

Mary Kelly recounts a brief history of the Queensland Teachers Union and its internal, almost parliamentary, structure.

Education Department, Lyle Schuntner, QTU, union positions

Mary Kelly relates her motivations for moving into leadership positions in the Queensland Teachers Union. She focuses on women's issues in schools, covering female students and teachers, and the need for reform within the Union itself in order to address these issues.

equity, maternity leave, QTU, sexism, superannuation legislation, union campaigns, women

Mary Kelly discusses her experience as a woman in the Queensland Teachers Union, and her efforts to get women's issues recognised within it.

Carmen Smith, feminism, Margaret Parkinson, QTU, women

Mary Kelly describes her ascension to the position of President of the Queensland Teachers Union in 1985. She remained President until 1994. She describes the duties of President and other Executive members.

QTU, union positions

Mary Kelly describes the relationships between the Queensland Teachers Union, the Trades and Labor Council (TLC) and the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) between 1985 and 1994.

ACTU, Australian Trade Union Training Authority (TUTA), Bernadette Callaghan, Jenny Eastwood, peak bodies, QTU, Trades and Labor Council, Working Women's Charter

Mary Kelly discusses the relative absence of women in leadership roles in trade unions up until the late 1980s.

equity, leadership, QTU, union positions, unions, women

Mary Kelly discusses women's issues and women in leadership roles in the Queensland Teachers Union today, and the improvements in the field since the 1980s.

child care, leadership, maternity leave, QTU, sexual discrimination, superannuation legislation, women

Mary Kelly outlines her leadership of the Queensland Teachers Union through the time of the Goss government, and the successes that the Union had for teachers, up until the conclusion of her Presidential term in 1994.

education reform, Fitzgerald Inquiry, Goss Government 1989-96, Mike Ahern, Mundingburra by-election 1996, QTU, union campaigns

Mary Kelly comments on the changes in the early 1990s that resulted in a greater push for women to take up more senior roles in the Department of Education. She discusses women's issues at that time.

Education Department, equity, QTU, superannuation legislation, Trades and Labor Council, women

Mary Kelly briefly comments on her time on the Working Women's Charter Committee, part of the Trades and Labor Council, as well as the Emma Miller Awards for women.

Emma Miller Awards, Trades and Labor Council, Working Women's Charter

Mary Kelly discusses the collaboration between the Queensland Teachers Union and other teachers' unions in Queensland and other states, such as the New South Wales Teachers Federation (NSWTF). She describes her time as the Vice-President of the Australian Education Union, and working as a unionist on a national and international scale.

ACTU, Di Foggo, education reform, Jenny George, QTU, Sharan Burrow

Mary Kelly reflects on 1989, the 100-year anniversary of the Queensland Teachers Union and dealing with the Goss Labor Government, and the changes they made to education.

David Hamill, Education Department, education reform, Goss Government 1989-96, Pat Comben, Paul Braddy, QTU

Mary Kelly comments on the industrial dispute in 1987, when the Bjelke-Petersen government tried to take away leave-loading for public servants, including teachers, and the action that the attempt spurred.

Bjelke-Petersen Government 1968-87, industrial disputes, public sector reform, QTU, strikes, Trades and Labor Council, union campaigns

Mary Kelly offers an opinion on the suggestion that unions exist to undermine the authority and agency of bureaucracy, particularly regarding the Queensland Teachers Union and the authority of the Education Department.

Education Department, QTU, union campaigns, unions

Mary Kelly discusses QTU's reaction to the government's changes to the Remote Area Incentives Scheme in 1990.

Goss Government 1989-96, QTU, union campaigns

Mary Kelly comments on the Smart State policy, and the economic approach to education under both the Bjelke-Petersen and the Goss governments.

Bjelke-Petersen Government 1968-87, Education Department, education reform, Goss Government 1989-96, NAPLAN, Smart State, Vocational education and training

Mary Kelly reflects on her greatest achievements from her time in the Queensland Teachers Union including the permanent reduction in class sizes.

education reform, QTU

Mary Kelly reflects on the greatest regrets of her career including the lack of a needs-based funding strategy for schools.

education reform, QTU

Interview ends