Success at Congress

On 23 and 24 September, over 160 PSA delegates from around the country met in Wellington for the PSA Congress. This is a biennial event where delegates make decisions about PSA rules and priorities, and elect the PSA president. Congress is the highest decision-making body of the PSA.

Delegates are selected to attend Congress by their relevant sector committee.  This year the four formal networks were able to each select one network representative to attend, but the network representatives did not have voting rights. 

The PSA Youth network put a lot of planning into Congress this year.  While we were only able to select one representative (Temira Rissetto), we encouraged young delegates to put in EOIs through their sectors, and encouraged the sector committees to select young delegates.  This meant we had a fantastic group of 19 PSA Youth members in attendance.

We had the opportunity to present about PSA Youth at Congress.  Temira did a fabulous job of leading this presentation with support from PSA Youth convenors Peter Kim and Jessi Abrams.  You can check out the presentation below.

PSA Youth also put a lot of work into preparing remits to take to Congress.  The process of developing remits started at the 2013 PSA Youth National Conference, where members discussed ideas for doing things differently.  Based on these ideas, a group of active PSA Youth members developed three remits (proposed rule changes) to take to Congress.  These remits were put to a vote, and the outcome was:

Representation and voting rights of networks at Congress 

A joint remit from the four formal networks seeking a rule change to

provide each network with three representatives at Congress with full

voting rights.

Free student membership forever

A rule change to permanently provide free student membership of the PSA to full-time students studying towards work in the public or community sectors.

Transitional membership x

A rule change to provide free “transitional membership” for up to 3 months for PSA members who leave their employment, until they resume employment. 

The passing of two out of three of our remits was a huge win for PSA Youth.

The representation and voting rights remit was presented passionately by PSA Youth and Out@PSA member Maddy Drew, and backed up by other PSA Youth delegates including Nigel Collings and Chris Peel. After lengthy and rigorous debate the remit was passed in its original form, allowing us to select any three PSA Youth members to attend future Congress, whether or not they are delegates (in recognition that networks provide different opportunities for leadership).

The student membership remit was passed without much opposition thanks in no small part to PSA Youth member Gabie George who presented an excellent argument and also worked hard to convince other delegates behind the scenes.  Thanks also to Caleb Gordon who spoke in favour of the remit.

PSA Youth member David Do did an excellent job of presenting the case for transitional membership.  The remit was designed in response to members’ concerns around insecure work conditions and would’ve provided members with benefits and some support for three months after they had left their employment.  The remit was opposed by the Board who felt that a rule change was not required and that the issue could be address through administrative measures. In the end the vote did not go our way, but we were successful in raising the issue of insecure work.  The Board has now committed to taking action regarding this issue and PSA Youth will monitor progress.

Overall PSA Youth and the other networks had a very strong presence at Congress and the remits will help PSA Youth grow and develop. Many thanks to the many PSA Youth members at congress and outside of congress who helped to make this happen.

We’d love it if in a couple of years’ time you thought about being part of the congress delegation.  You’ll need to be an active member of PSA Youth or an active delegate in your workplace– ideally both.