Sunday 26 May 2024

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Contact 1800 772 679

The magazine of the Public Service Association of NSW and the Community and Public Sector Union (NSW Branch)

Goodbye To A ‘Good Teacher’

Goodbye To A ‘Good Teacher’

John Scullion leaves a great
industrial legacy.

he PSA CPSU NSW is

saddened to learn of the loss of former Principal Industrial Officer John Scullion.

Mr Scullion commenced employment at the PSA in 1973, coming from the Sydney Dental Hospital, where he was a Dental Technician.

Industrial Lawyer Conrad Staff, of McNally Jones Staff, said he first met Mr Scullion in 1978.

“We developed a close friendship over the years,” he said. “He ran a lot of cases himself, such as unfair dismissals and disciplinary matters. He enjoyed advocacy and he was very good at it.”

Mr Staff said the two of them worked together in 1993 on “a seminal case” under a Liberal National Government that was determined the PSA enter Enterprise Agreements with individual departments, rather than deal with the Government as a whole.

“This was designed to emasculate the Industrial Relations Commission by taking away its wage-fixing powers,” he said.

Mr Staff said when the PSA responded by applying to the Commission for a public-sector salaries award, Mr Scullion took on the case with great enthusiasm, setting up a “war room” at PSA House and heading a team to prepare the case, which ran for 10 weeks.

“They were often there until midnight, settling and preparing statements,” he said. “John coordinated the team and ultimately the PSA was successful with the Commission granting a 7 per cent increase across the board.”

Mr Staff said Mr Scullion was “a very, very good teacher”, always taking the time to mentor younger and new staff at the PSA.

“He trained a lot of young Industrial Officers who became very, very experienced,” he said. “He had a lot of patience and would always make time for Industrial Officers to come and talk to him about their matters. He’d sit and take them through what they needed to do.”

Mr Staff said Mr Scullion was always honest in his negotiations and “his word was his bond”.

One of the people Mr Scullion mentored was PSA CPSU NSW Manager of Relationships and Strategy Mal Cochrane.

“I was very fortunate when I came to the PSA in 2001 to have John Scullion as my manager,” said Mr Cochrane. “He had a vast knowledge and experience regarding the union. He was an extremely patient man when it came to answering questions about the PSA or industrial relations matters.

“What I particularly liked about John is that he was a straight shooter and you always knew where you stood with him.” Former PSA CPSU NSW Industrial Officer Greg O’Donahue said Mr Scullion was “a very learned man”.

Mr O’Donahue was also mentored by Mr Scullion in his early days with the union in the 1990s.

“He was keen to show younger staff the ropes,” he said. “He was a very knowledgeable person who was very well- read. He motivated a lot of people.”

Away from the PSA, Mr Scullion was a member of the Australian Labor Party, serving as Mayor of Randwick Council from 1986 to 1988.

“He had a very long and involved life,” said Mr O’Donahue.

After his retirement, Mr Scullion used his skills acquired as a Dental Technician to help his partner Margot’s antique business.

Margot passed away several years ago.

He is survived by a son, Sean, from an earlier marriage.

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