Community and Public Sector Union

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Community and Public Sector Union (logo).svg
Full name Community and Public Sector Union
(PSU & SPSF Groups)
Founded 1 July 1994
Members 160,000
Affiliation ACTU, ALP
Key people Nadine Flood (PSU) and Karen Batt (SPSF), Joint National Secretaries
Office location Haymarket, New South Wales
Country Australia

The Community and Public Sector Union (more commonly known as the CPSU) is a national trade union in Australia. The union came into existence on 1 July 1994 with the amalgamation of the Public Sector, Professional, Scientific, Research, Technical, Communication, Aviation and Broadcasting Union ("PSU") with the State Public Service Federation ( "SPSF" ). The CPSU is one of the largest trade unions in Australia with 160,000 members.


For historic reasons and for administrative purposes, the CPSU operates through two groups: the SPSF Group and the PSU Group. The SPSF Group generally represents State public sector employees and university general staff, while the PSU Group represents Commonwealth employees, Territory employees, and employees in former Commonwealth entities. These groups reflect the pre-existing eligibility and industrial coverage of the amalgamating organisations.

The CPSU has about 160,000 members, approximately 60,000 in the PSU Group and over 100,000 in the State Public Service Federation (SPSF) Group. The CPSU is affiliated with the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) and the Australian Labor Party (ALP).

CPSU SPSF Group[edit]

The SPSF was first registered as a federal union on 30 July 1976. Initially, the SPSF covered a limited range of State public sector employees because of constitutional limitations, as it was unclear until the 1980s how widely the SPSF was able to operate, particularly as a party to industrial disputes. Starting with the decision of the High Court in the CYSS case[1] (1983) (on the extent of the conciliation and arbitration power), it appeared that these constraints were eroding. In 1984 the SPSF changed its rules in order that its eligibility paralleled that of the State registered unions that made up the SPSF.

These State unions are called "Associated Bodies". The Associated Bodies have a very long history, extending in most cases from the 19th century. For instance, the NSW Branch is the Public Service Association of NSW, which celebrated 100 years of existence as a public sector union in NSW, in 1999.

With the exception of university employees and members in Victoria, the SPSF Group consists of State public sector unions which are registered in the State industrial body. For example, PSA of NSW members are NSW State public sector employees registered under the NSW Industrial Relations Commission.

CPSU The Professional Staff Union[edit]

The CPSU SPSF Group uses the branding of "The Professional Staff Union" due to its representation of only professional staff throughout higher education. Along with the State Associated Bodies representing administrative and support staff through state-based schools, TAFEs and universities, nationwide the CPSU is the largest union representing education employees.

In NSW, the CPSU's new website is at

CPSU PSU Group[edit]

The PSU Group represents Commonwealth or Federal public service employees as well as Territory public service (ACT and NT). This generally reflects the industrial coverage as well as the employer.

CPSU members at a protest rally in Sydney, in 2005

External links[edit]

Peak CPSU bodies[edit]

State Branches of CPSU-SPSF[edit]


  1. ^ R. v. Coldham; ex parte Australian Social Welfare Union (1983) 47 A.L.R. 225.