Cultural and Ceremonial Leave champion

Cultural and Ceremonial Leave champion

We already know Vice President, Matt Abrahamson is a champion cricketer but now he is turning his sights to Your Union Agreement as the Cultural & Ceremonial Leave champion.

As we prepare ourselves for a well-deserved break over the holidays we thought it the perfect time to introduce our Cultural & Ceremonial Leave champion, Matt Abrahamson. As we reap the rewards of the Christian holiday season, what better time to reflect on the importance of ensuring the cultural celebrations and ceremonies of the world's oldest living culture - our Indigenous heritage - are recognised in Your Union Agreement? Not to mention making a place for the many other backgrounds and cultural celebrations that make WA and our public sector so wonderfully diverse.

Why is Your Union Agreement important to you, Matt?

The Your Union Agreement is important as it protects and enshrines the pay and conditions we have worked hard for over many years. The current Government has legislated to restrict growth in our wages, the Your Union Agreement allows us to negotiate better conditions. Whilst these conditions may not equate to a monetary value, they are the reason many people seek employment in the public sector in order to allow a good work/life balance.

Why should Cultural and Ceremonial Leave be improved?

Paid Cultural & Ceremonial Leave should be introduced as the current entitlement has no dedicated paid leave entitlement attached to it. Whilst the existing provision allows for access to CCL, it requires our members to access other forms of paid leave (e.g. annual leave, long service leave) or unpaid leave. There are already a number of agreements with paid entitlements attached to CCL in WA and across the country. We are seeking to bring our Agreement in line with others that recognise cultural diversity.

Why do you think that is so important?

CCL is important as it recognises cultural diversity within the public service. Around 1 in 7 people in the public service identify as being either Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander or from a Culturally & Linguistically Diverse background. On these numbers alone, this is a condition of employment that will benefit many members at no cost to government. It also acknowledges and respects the cultural obligations required of many of our members for which they strongly believe in.

Do you think this speaks to our values as a society? 

Absolutely. As a multicultural society, we should embrace and respect cultural diversity and the value it adds to our community. We have people from many cultural and ethnic backgrounds in every part of our life — from work, sport, school, family, friends and much more.

Related: Lisa Jackson on Cultural and Ceremonial Leave