The Post Primary Teacher’s Association (PPTA) is unlikely to shed its image as NZ’s most PC union with the election of new president Robin Duff.
A popular, senior English teacher at Christchurch’s Burnside High School, Duff is an “icon” of the gay left and one of NZ’s most active “change agents”.
Robin Duff was active in the Canterbury Mobilisation Committee against the Vietnam War in the early ’70s. In 1971, he was also chairman of Canterbury University’s campus socialist group, the Fabian Society.
In 1973, Duff served as president of the University of Canterbury Students Association.
In the mid ’70s Duff was prominent in the eco-socialist Values Party and was the Party’s first openly gay candidate in the 1978 election. Duff was also active in the late Rod Donald’s Ecology Action network.
Gay Rights and socialism were Duff’s main passions, however and he combined both as a leading member of the Gay Liberation Front. In August 1973 Duff addressed a Socialist Action League run forum at Canterbury Uni on the subject, “The Oppression of Gays”.Duff also formed a Gay University Students Society (GUSS) with SAL Trotskyite, Lindsay Taylor.
During the late ’70s Duff was a leader of the very radical National Gay Rights Coalition.
In the early ’90s Duff brought gay activism into the High Schools with his “Gays and Lesbians Everywhere in Education” network. GLEE campaigned against “homophobia” and attempted to make secondary education a more “gay friendly” process.
In recent years Duff has been a leader of the Safe Schools Taskforce, which…
has been working for several years to provide resources and assistance for Boards of Trustees and teachers to make their schools a safer and more accepting place for staff and students of every sexuality. In undertaking this work, the Taskforce acknowledges that sexuality – especially among younger people – cannot always be positioned neatly within one category. There is a continuum which may see people identifying themselves at different stages, depending on where they are at and who they may be with at the time. Homophobia can be demonstrated towards anybody, even those who identify as exclusively heterosexual. It is a problem for everybody, and one which schools must address.
In 2005, Duff was also active in the “Safety in Schools for Queers” campaign, representing the PPTA.
Don’t expect much positive change to come out of the PCPTA…PPTA in the next couple of years.