Union Aid Abroad-APHEDA People: Meet Pat

Union Aid Abroad-APHEDA is about people – people working together to make things better for all. As the global justice organisation of the Australian union movement, each and every APHEDA supporter, member, partner, activist and participant here in Australia and all around the world contributes to the work it takes to tackle inequality and injustice.

Meet Pat Bates.

Pat is an organiser with the ASU NSW/ACT and an APHEDA activist.

What does it mean to be union to you?
PB: It means we do better when we stick together – simple yeah?

What does it mean to be APHEDA to you?
PB: Global capitalism means global injustice. Real ethical consumption is pretty much impossible (doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try though!). I know I don’t pay the real cost of everything I buy and it sucks! Being APHEDA to me, means putting a little bit of my money where my mouth is.

Why do you think it’s important for APHEDA to grow its membership base, those contributing monthly to the work, to 20,000 by 2025?
PB: We can’t rely on the government to really step up and do the right thing when it comes to meaningful ‘aid’ funding (and if it ever does imagine what 20,000 APHEDA members could achieve then). I suppose it would be just like you can’t rely on bosses to give us fair pay rises, we gotta do it ourselves.
Beyond that, growing APHEDA, connecting Australian unionists with comrades overseas makes our movement stronger. The bigger and more connected APHEDA’s base is here in Australia, the stronger, more aware, more creative we’ll be as a movement.

What part of APHEDA’s work are you most connected to/proud of? Why?
PB: Being a union organiser, I’m most excited to see APHEDA increasingly becoming an unapologetically lean-mean-organising-focused fighting machine! There are so many important things to be done but to be fixing them in a way that builds our awareness and power here in Australia, while simultaneously empowering people all over the world to fix their own problems, wow!

What do you see as the work (areas, issues, etc.) that is most important for APHEDA to focus on into the future?
PB: Is any of APHEDA’s work NOT important? I hope APHEDA keeps doing what it’s doing, just more of it! I’m looking forward to seeing APHEDA and affiliated unions work together to give rank and file members a chance to contribute to APHEDA’s work. I’m also looking forward to seeing us (read us as APHEDA, let’s not third party ourselves here!) find ways to directly connect Australian unionists with global union issues.

When you have one-on-one conversations with people asking them to join APHEDA as a contributor how do you describe the work and ask people to join? Do they say yes?!  
PB: I say don’t be afraid of doing this out of self-interest. When workers and communities are organised anywhere, it’s better for workers and communities everywhere! Solidarity not charity means you’re not giving to fix a problem; you’re giving to empower people to fix their own problems. Plus, its tax deductible and every dollar you give APHEDA is like 40c less the government can spend on war planes that just cause us all more problems.

Meet Pat

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