Chris Warren has announced he is standing down from his position later this year. So for the first time since forming in 1992, you might have the opportunity to help decide who should be his successor, and the new federal secretary of your union, MEAA.

But the union’s small management committee has a plan to deny members like you the right to directly vote for who runs our union. They want to appoint the next union leader themselves, disenfranchising more than 16,000 members.

At the MEAA Federal Council meeting on March 17 & 18, your delegates will vote for or against this proposal to abolish the federal secretary as an elected leader.  In this new plan MEAA will adopt a corporate model where the management committee appoints an unelected CEO to run the union.

It will mean you, the people who fund and support MEAA, will have no real say on who runs your union.

As grassroots members we want a more democratic and professional union run by its members for its members. And rather than being less transparent, we believe federal council should ensure basic democratic principles are extended, improved and deepened.

If you are a MEAA member, like this page on Facebook, click below to make a comment of support, or retweet, so that your federal councillors know that members want them to vote for democracy,  and a direct say in who runs our union.

We  also called on the Management Committee to publish the full details of their CEO model online for full analysis by members, and we will publish it here if it becomes available.



  1. Please keep this position as an elected one. We need more engagement by members, not less. Bad idea to make this more corporate – unions thrive on an active membership. With a top heavy, non democratic union, problems such as as those we have seen in the HSU are more likely to happen.

  2. Yes I agree with Greg and Marianne. Important to retain the democratically elected position at the top of the union.

  3. Making the federal secretary position appointed is a terrible idea. The MEAA should always be in favour of more democracy, not less.

    Disclosure: I am the vice president of the Victorian branch of the MEAA.

  4. The democratic election of union leadership is more and more important as the climate for attack on organised labour becomes more heated. It is a symbolic and important under pinning of a modern union. The MEEA must protect democratic ideals not bury them.

  5. For too long the union has been treated like a personal fiefdom. Unions are about democracy and the rights of a union member to have their say about who leads their union. Doesn’t the proposition of a CEO go against the grain of a democracy. Union members should be concerned the current federal secretary is proposing to take away their right to elect their union leader.

  6. If a union can’t be democratic what can be. Don’t give away the privilege we have to vote for and support our choice of leaders.

  7. I believe it is vital that we retain the status quo of a democratically elected position at the top level of the union.

  8. As an MEAA member I fully support maintaining a democratically elected federal secretary. In the current climate where most writers are struggling badly for pay and conditions, our unions are more important than ever; this kind of corporatisation is a dangerous trend.

  9. The proposal to appoint the leadership rather than elect it beggars belief. You might almost say that if we lose the ability to elect our officials, then in what sense would we be a union any more? The MEAA already suffers from an identity crisis — is it an organisation that fights for its members, or just a somewhat lame part of the media landscape? I urge other MEAA members to resist this pernicious proposal.

  10. Thanks for setting this up. The notion that replacing an elected secretary with an appointed CEO will increase accountability to the membership is risible. And the problems that journalists face will not be dealt with by making the union’s officials even more remote from the members through the adoption of a corporate model of governance. If the CEO proposal succeeds, it won’t save the union: on the contrary, it will drive the members away from an organisation that no longer represents them in any signficant sense.

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