40 years of the Tenants’ Union
2016 marked 40 years of the Tenants’ Union. Four decades of working for tenants’ rights is no mean feat. A number of events were held to celebrate, and to recognise the thousands of volunteers, staff, members, board directors, funders and supporters who have contributed to the Tenants' Union’s achievements.
We launched our anniversary celebrations on Thursday 11 February 2016 with a BBQ at Northcott Community Centre. Tenants' Union staff wielded the sausage and onion tongs, salads were provided by the National Centre for Indigenous Excellence, and one hundred tenants, tenant advocates, community supporters and dignitaries came along. Formal congratulations from the NSW Government were given by Shayne Mallard, MLC, representing Brad Hazzard, Member for Wakehurst and Minister for Social Housing. Also attending were Tanya Mihailuk, Member for Bankstown Shadow Minister for Social Housing, Jenny Leong, Member for Newtown, Alex Greenwich, Member for Sydney.and Fair Trading Commissioner Rod Stowe.
We asked the three Members of Parliament to help Julie Foreman, Tenants' Union Executive Officer, to cut the cake.
We also asked each of them to tell us about their experience of tenancy issues. Check out The View from Macquarie Street:
HOUSE AND HOME: LOOKING BACK, LOOKING FORWARD
“If we want to live in a fairer society where people feel valued, we have to make sure that our nation's housing meets people's needs rather than just boost the profits made by wealthy investors.” – Professor Keith Jacobs
We held a forum and party on 15 August 2016, just two days shy of the actual date of our founding (17 August). Redfern Town Hall was packed with tenants, advocates past and present, founding members of the Tenants' Union, and representatives from organisations we work with in the housing and homelessness sectors.
Victor Dominello, Minister responsible for Fair Trading, gave the opening address in which he acknowledged the significant contribution the Tenants' Union has made to tenancy law reform of 40 years. [Jeremy embed pic of Dominello and julie in the frame]
This was followed by a forum on the theme of The future of tenants' rights. The keynote address was by Professor Keith Jacobs, University of Tasmania. Speakers on the panel were Dr Dallas Rogers, Western Sydney University; Dr Emma Power, Western Sydney University; and Ned Cutcher, Tenants' Union Senior Policy Officer.
Aunty Millie Ingram gave the Welcome to Country. Zoe Norton Lodge of the ABC consumer watch television program The Checkout mc-ed. Entertainment during the forum was MissJudge, skit by 'Agents for Social Change', a social housing tenant group from South West Sydney, on the power of words we use and their impact on tenants.
The party which followed was a great chance for 40 years of workers for tenants' rights to catch up and swap stories, enlivened by a set of housing themed songs from Lady Sings it Better.
GETTING THE WORD OUT!
We created an online gallery of 40 moments in Tenants' Union and tenants’ rights movement history – view it on Facebook. We published a special edition of Tenant News. Two websites were launched – the revamped tenants.org.au and thenoticeboard.org.au, a specialist website for residential park residents.
Read our 40th anniversary issue of Tenant News with stories from the Tenants' Union Board and staff over the years, TU volunteers, tenant advocates and more.
MY HOUSE, MY HOME
We produced this documentary to celebrate our 40 yours of tenant activism, showcase our work today, and outline the work still before us.