Jul 31, 2023

Leslie Marsden is a Member Services Support Officer and Sharny Chalmers is an Industrial Officer at the Public Service Association of NSW. They are also long-term members of Union Aid Abroad-APHEDA.


What does it mean to you to be union?

I’m often reminded of the words; ‘safety in numbers’ and every chance I get I remind people to look out for each other, stand together, and to remember our collective strength.

What does it mean to you to be APHEDA?

Global solidarity allows a counterbalance to the ubiquitous discourse emphasising individuals over the collective and allows space for consideration of the importance of environmental and cultural factors in relating to our health and wellbeing.

Neither individual nor collective interests are served by laissez-faire economics promoted by the small minority, who, without fail, benefit exponentially from an untethered focus on increasing profits, regardless of the costs.


What does it mean to you to be union?

Both my parents were committed trade unionists. I grew up in Union culture. It’s about being part of a movement that uses its weight to protect democracy both here and around the world. It’s about values and standards for living.

It means not having to stand alone.

What does it mean to you to be APHEDA?

From the great poet Maya Angelou: “The truth is, no one of us can be free until everybody is free.”

Why is building internationalism in Australia important?

As a global citizen we have a responsibility to do what we can. That means making Australians aware of the situation for workers outside Australia and how we can make change happen.

What part of APHEDA’s work are you most connected to or proud of? Why? 

I’m connected to the asbestos campaigns especially in Indonesia. The big corporations that still make big profits from asbestos manufacturing moved out of Australia and into other countries to keep up their profits. This is how greedy corporations behave while workers become ill.

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