The constitution provides the basis for a new type of employee representative organisation that focuses on professional development, representation and protection of its Members. We have chosen not to be a registered Union; however, we do provide all the services that a Union provides and with the skills and backup of an experienced legal team.
This Association is built around each Branch. It's a "ground up" organisation rather than a "top-down". The Branch Executive, who you elect, will deal with all matters in your region. The Branch also sends delegates to the State Convention who elect the State Executive.
Eventually, each branch will have its own guaranteed sub account and finances controlled by the branch members themselves. Members have a real say in how the money is spent such as educational and professional development needs.
The Nurses Professional Association of Queensland Inc. (NPAQ) is an incorporated “Not for profit” member-based association registered by “Fair Trade Queensland”. The constitution sets out the rules under which NPAQ runs. Members can access the complete document at our offices at The Emporium, Level 2, 1024 Ann Street, Fortitude Valley, Queensland.
1. Members Interests are the First and Only Interests
Our constitution dictates that only nurse member issues can be dealt with. NPAQ does not have a party political wing, or any other wing for that matter, which takes priority over nurse issues. Nurse’s interests are our only interest.
We only support public health policy issues, which benefit nurses first and foremost. For instance, it may benefit the taxpayers and patients who pay the bills to have more nurses than jobs available which is the situation now in Australia, but it doesn’t improve nurse working conditions. At present we are training many more new nurses than there are jobs available now or ever. This pushes down wages and conditions. So we won't be using your membership money to lobby for more new nurses.
2. Party Political Contributions
The constitution not only prohibits party political financial contributions but any future executive who attempts it will find themselves personally liable for any members monies contributed to a political party or a party political cause.
This means that members’ money or resources can in practice never be used for any party political purposes.
3. Executive Refreshment
Other than for the inaugural period (whilst we are developing systems and training) the State Executive, meaning the State President, Vice President and Treasurer must change every two years. There will always be fresh blood at the top. There are no jobs for life in the NPAQ.
4. Separation of Policy Determination and Service Provision
The elected nurse’s executive makes policy. The contracted Service Providers who are the business people and the legal and industrial relations specialists, conduct service delivery. We keep both arms separate. Support for member issues needs to be tightly managed to keep the association financially viable.
5. Devolved Branch Structure
Members can form branches to better represent regional, sectional or facilitative interests. NPAQ runs from the members up not from the top down.
Branches automatically get a share of the membership fees and with the support of their branch members. They can also raise voluntary levies of the branch members involved to help fund their specific branch interests. Remember NPAQ is only half the fees of the QNMU so there is room for modest levies if branch members vote for them.
The branch finances are not controlled by the state executive, but by the branch executive, so all monies will be wisely spent on what branch members want.
6. Policy Developments and Focus on Member Benefits
The constitution sets out a policy development process. It is driven by the nurses and already policy on new nurse training, nurse ratio’s, the private hospital sector survival and AHPRA reform are in train.
Policy will continue to be developed by working and practising nurse members and will, as a result, promote what nurses see as important not what union officials would want.