Historical information

Thank-you card given to Australian Nursing Federation (Victorian Branch) staff member Catherine Hutchings by staff at the Bundaberg Branch of the Queensland Nurses Union. In 1993, Victorian Branch staff travelled throughout Queensland, Western Australia and the Northern Territory for a series of meetings on recent events impacting nurses' conditions in Victoria. The meetings were strategically held ahead of the 1993 Federal election to discourage the election of a Coalition government. The election of the Coalition government in Victoria in 1992 had seen the introduction of the Employee Relations Act, which saw the end of the state award system in Victoria. This gave employers greater powers to establish wages and conditions and less power to the Industrial Relations Commission, foreshadowing what would later occur at a Federal level.

An article in the Victorian Branch newsletter 'On the Record' from April 1993 describes the 'tour'. Entitled 'Vic. Nurses Spreading the Word in Queensland, Western Australia and the Northern Territory', it explains:

"Catherine Huntchin[g]s and Elizabeth Hulme recently spent a week in Queensland informing nurses about the effect of a Liberal Government on nurses. As well, Tracy Austin visited WA to talk to nurses there about life under Kenneyt [sic].

Catherine and Liz held a total of 23 meetings from Cairns to Brisbane, as well as giving media interviews. It was well worth the effort and certainly there was much support given to nurses in Victoria. Perhaps the most interesting issue was that many nurses did not realise that they may find themselves in the same situation if we have a change in Federal Government.

In February, Catherine went to the NT to talk to nurses in Darwin, Alice Springs and Katherine and despite some minor hiccoughs (the Health Department banned all the meetings so alternative venues had to be found) the turnout was gratifying - you have to be dedicated to attend a meeting held in a carpark in 32 C heat!

Catherine says that the reception she received in both QLD and the NT was superb. "Everyone went out of their way to make us feel very welcome, and to shower us with sympathy over the situation. More important, is the fact that the information was distributed so no matter how the votes go on March 13 [1993, federal election] - they will be informed votes." she said.

Catherine, Liz and Tracy extend sincere thanks to all interstate nurses who made their visits a success."

Physical description

Typed card given with flower bouquet. Printed on one side with personalised, typed message 'DEAR CATHERINE, UNITED WE STAND DEVIDED [sic] WE BEG THANKS FOR SPEAKING UP FOR US. FROM B'BERG [Bundaberg] BRANCH Q.N.U. [Queensland Nurses Union]'.