The Independent Education Union of Australia

We represent teachers and support staff in non-government schools, early childhood centres and other non-government educational institutions Australia wide.

The Independent Education Union of Australia (IEUA) with a current membership of over 75,000, is the federally registered industry union representing all employees working in non-government schools and institutions across Australia. Included in its membership are teachers, principals and ancillary staff in faith based, community and independent schools and early childhood education and care centres, and post secondary centres across Australia.

Employees wishing to join the IEU should contact their State/Territory Branch. Click on the link above to access the relevant branch.


The Independent Education Union of Australia (IEUA) is the federal union representing the industrial and professional rights of principals, teachers and other education staff (including principals, teacher-librarians and librarians, advisers and assistants, and clerical and administrative support staff) working in non government schools and colleges, early childhood centres, and other non government educational institutions in accord with its Rules.
The IEU has a long and rich history. It is the history of teachers working and acting together to ensure that their contribution to the provision of high quality education for their students is understood and valued by the community. The organisation of trade unions in non-government schools in a number of states dates back to the early years of the 20th century.

The history of the federal union is strongly linked to the history of its state and territory associated bodies and branches, the earliest of which date back to the beginning of the 20th century. To gain some insight into the development of unionism in non government education, check the history pages of the IEU branches in Qld, Victoria and NSW. These early industrial teacher organisations were established by teachers to fight for fair salaries and conditions for their colleagues and the profession generally.

In the early 1970s, these teacher organisations as well as non government teaching unions in WA, the ACT, the NT and the Tasmanian Independent sector formed a national peak organisation, the Independent Teachers Federation of Australia (ITFA). This was not a registered industrial organisation but an unregistered federation of state based non government teacher unions. ITFA’s purpose was to give a national voice to teachers employed in non government schools, particularly in response to a number of national agendas being advanced by the federal government at the time – the most important one being the funding of non government schools.

Over the next decade, unions representing Catholic teachers and support staff in Victoria and Tasmania joined ITFA. It is also during this time that the non government teacher unions in the other jurisdictions sought coverage of support staff in non government education institutions on the basis that the work of teachers and support staff are inextricably linked to the delivery of high quality education for students. The Independent Education Union is an industry union.

In 1985, the ITFA affiliated to the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) and attended its first ACTU Congress in the same year in Sydney.

As the work of the ITFA continued it became increasingly obvious that if the role of the affiliated bodies as bona fide employee representatives at the national and State levels was to be protected, federal registration would be an imperative.

Towards the end of 1983 the ITF was set up and early in 1984 application was made to the Australian Conciliation and Arbitration Commission for registration as a federal union. Its application sought rules for coverage of the broadest range of education workers in non government education institutions. After extensive litigation federal registration was achieved on 8th October 1988.


The IEU and its branches are affiliated to other trade unions organisations and has established links with community organisations in solidarity to improve national and international workplace rights.

Through the ACTU, we are affiliated (with 304 trade unions) with the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC). The confederation represents 168 million workers in 153 countries and territories. Visit the ACTU website to see how unions are acting in solidarity to improve the workplace rights for all citizens of the world.

The IEU is affiliated to Education International the world wide trade union organisation of education staff. It has 30 million members in all sectors of education from preschool to university, in 304 national trade unions and associations in 169 countries and territories.


The Council of Pacific Education (COPE) is a regional Organisation of education unions from the South Pacific Region. The following affiliates comprise the Council of Pacific Education:

Cook Island Teachers Institute (CITI); Tuvalu Teachers Association (TTA); FORCE Ouvriere Enseignement; Independent Schools Teachers Association of NZ (ISTANZ); Kiribati Nation Union of Teachers (KNUT); Fes Des Syndicate Des Travelleurs Kanaks Et Des Exploites De I Enseignement (FSTKE); Friendly Island Teachers Association (FITA); Samoa National Teachers Association (SNTA); Vanuatu Teachers Association (VTU); Solomon Isalnd National Teachers’ Association (SINTA); Association of Staff in Tertiary Education (ASTE); Fijian Teachers’ Association (FTA); Fijian Teachers’ Union (FTU); Association of University Staff (AUS); Post Primary Teachers Association (PPTA); Papua New Guinea Teachers Association (PNGTA); National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU); New Zealand Educational Institute (NZEI); Independent Education Union of Australia (IEUA); Australian Edcation Union (AEU).

COPE provides advice and assistance on professional, industrial, legal and human rights issues for teachers, support staff and their representative union affiliates in the region. It also acts as a clearing house for information to both its affiliates and to other organisations across the Pacific and to Education International. The office is based in Suva, Fiji. COPE receives funding and developmental support from Education International and the Australian and New Zealand education unions. The current Secretary General is Govind Singh.


Australian People for Health, Education and Development Abroad Inc. (APHEDA) was established in 1984 as the humanitarian overseas aid arm of the ACTU. APHEDA is an active associate member of the Australian Council for Overseas Aid. APHEDA is a registered charity incorporated under the NSW Incorporation Act 1984.

The IEU strongly supports the work of APHEDA and has provided funding and support to a number of projects initiated and coordinated by APHEDA including its work in East Timor, Cambodia and Palestine.


Click Here to Download IEU Rules


There are approximately 200 officers, organisers and administrative support staff employed across the federal union and its state offices to ensure that the industrial and professional interests of its members are protected and advanced.

They have a deep knowledge and understanding of the work of teachers and education support staff, of the culture and climate of the school context, of the complexity of the teaching and learning process and of the complex and dynamic nature of the relationships which exist at all levels with a school – between teachers, students, parents, the school’s leadership and employing authority and with the broader community.

This ensures the IEUA has substantial authority and expertise in its roles of industrial and professional representation, dispute resolution, award and agreement negotiation, policy research and development and lobbying.

Some branches have been able to commit resources to the establishment of union offices or focused technology strategies in regional communities (Townsville, Toowoomba Sunshine Coast, Parramatta, Canberra, Lismore, Ballarat/Bendigo, Devonport) in order to provide better servicing and organising of schools and greater accessibility to the IEUA for members.

For specific information about how the union supports your work and about the services it can offer, contact the IEUA Office in your State or Territory.


The Independent Education Union of Australia is structured in a way to ensure that the industrial and professional needs of our members are best served. There are five branches, generally reflecting the state and territory boundaries – these are QLD/NT, NSW/ACT, VIC/ TAS, SA and WA. To gain a better insight into structure of these branches, refer to the IEU branch websites.

The Independent Education Union of Australia has a Federal Council and Federal Executive, elected every 3 years in accord with the Rules of the organisation.

The Federal Council is the supreme governing body of the Union and in accordance with the Rules, meets at least once per year.

The Federal Executive meetsregularly during the year and subject to decisions of the Federal Council, exercises all of the functions and powers of the Federal Council other than those set out in the organisation’s Rules.

Unite with other approximately 75,000 IEUA members to strive for better education