USU Member of over 20 years, Angela Budai, will be heading over to the UK in July to represent Australia as a referee in the Touch Football World Cup. This is a voluntary role, which carries significant cost, and as such, the USU Executive has been proud to award Angela the John Beacroft Memorial Scholarship, to thank her for her commitment to sport and representing her country.

We caught up with Angela to hear about her decades of service to Touch Football in Australia, and how the support of her USU family is helping her to continue to give back.

“I’ve been a referee for 24 years, I had been playing before that, and I put up my hand to be the duty referee for the two teams I played for. One of the other officials got in my ear and asked me to referee more often, and it grew from there.

Now I’m at different regional, state, and national competitions throughout the year. Working as a union official (Angela works at the Finance Sector Union), it’s in our nature to give back.  

Refereeing is a team sport too really- there are 3 of us on the field, and we all rotate, working as equals- there’s no hierarchy. We spend a lot of time together, the socialisation aspect is really nice. I’m travelling with a couple of other refs from Australia in July too.

There’s no formal funding for the refereeing for touch, we have to pay a levy for accommodation and food, plus uniforms, travel insurance, flights and all the other stuff- it’s a huge cost. But Australia can’t send a team to compete at the World Cup without referees.

I do it because I love it, but it’s a huge expense out of our family’s budget, so I appreciate the USU’s support tremendously.

There’s no other organisation supporting all the other aspects of their members’ lives like the USU does. It’s amazing that you have these scholarship programs to help. So for me, I can justify actually buying all the uniform pieces I need- I can get a couple of pairs of socks, and spare shirts for when they inevitably get muddy with the UK’s weather!

Being a unionist doesn’t stop when you walk out the door of your workplace. It’s a family and a community that can support you in all aspects of your life. I was so so excited when I found out I’d won the scholarship!”

We wish Angela all the best for the tournament in July, and look forward to an update upon her return to Australia.