The PSA Youth Network’s biannual hui took place in February: the first to be held remotely since the pandemic began.
“It was a very different vibe,” says incoming PSAY co-convener Jonny Murnane. “It’s like being in a long-distance relationship. It’s just that much harder to connect.”
Jonny says the move online came with unexpected benefits for young members.
“Quite a few of our organisers were able to attend when they wouldn’t otherwise have been able to,” Jonny explains. “Our members found their perspectives really valuable.”
The hui covered a range of topics faced by young members in the workplace, with speakers and workshops covering everything from climate change and digital organising to pay equity and harassment in the workplace.
STEPPING UP & SPEAKING OUT
A highlight of the hui was a talk from Minister for Youth Development Priyanca Radhakrishnan, who told attendees about her own public sector journey and the importance of staying true to your values on the road to becoming an authentic leader.
PSA organiser Lucy Andreetti says a quote from Radhakrishnan’s speech – ‘feel the fear and do it anyway’ –resonated with her.
“I think a lot of our members are familiar with the ‘imposter syndrome’ that comes with stepping up and speaking out as a young worker,” she says.
“It was a good reminder that great things can come on the other side of discomfort.”
The hui also saw the election of Jonny Murnane and Hine Perry to the co-convener positions for the Network over the coming year.
“Hine and I are among the older members in the PSAY,” Jonny explains.
“We wanted to take on a leadership role before we aged out; to influence, mentor and support the working youth movement within the PSA.”
Lucy Andreetti also praised the “resilience and adaptability” of young members in the face of Covid-19.
“The past couple of years have put barriers up for all of us,” she explains.
“This hui gave me hope that – by utilising the technology we have at our disposal – we can still foster connection and build solidarity among young workers in the union movement."