23 May 2006

Ministers ignoring public requests

| nyssa76
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Several months ago I wrote to Vicki Dunne asking for her advice and ability to bring these issues of staff breaching the Code of Conduct within the ACT Department of Education to the Minister, then Katy Gallagher.

Oh the stories I could tell, and most likely will because no one in the current Govt or Opposition actually gives a sh*t about why staff are actually leaving the system – and no it isn’t the pay or the students. Note: This has nothing to do with staff misconduct with students.

To date, I have not received anything back, either via e-mail, phone or letter.

Kerces, I know you have had a few successful (and unsuccessful) feedback sessions with Ministers. I was wondering, who do you go to then when they don’t respond?

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Yeah he did and now he’s in ET.

uhhm, little while I guess. I don’t even know how i stumbled over it. maybe a year or so ? At least pre-wordpress days
So he did end up goin back in then ?

How long have you been on this site?

Spike’s in East Timor atm.

I know you!

you are who i think..
you’d probably more likely know me as andrew…used to come round occasionally when you lived in evatt

Um yeah…he’s my husband….

if you are who i think, you’d know spike ?

Andy, I’ve lived in Canberra since I was 8yo.

You could know me.

nyssa, I was thinkin maybe i know you – but your point about coming to canberra from outside suggests maybe i don’t.

Got an e-mail today re: disciplinary action towards the idiot in point 3.

I was basically told that nothing would be done as my “claims” aren’t substantiated far be it I have shit in writing with HER SIGNATURE ON IT.

However, they were willing to crucify the two superiors who “dealt” *cough* with the situation at the time.

Dept of Education – full of failed teachers full of wanky schemes and theories. I had some dealings with them as a supplier and its not fun.

Mind you, Defence is fun too. Went to a meeting once and a brigadier had a Lt-Col along and all he was there for was to operate the overhead projector.


Feel free to ring me at Deb’s office and make time for an appointment. [Deb Foskey MLA 62050161]
Or send an email in the first instance if you prefer

attention Roland

crazychester8:41 am 26 May 06

Yeah, I know you’re interested and I know you don’t think I’m a looney. After all, we don’t know each other from a bar of soap and I just told you after only three posts and with the utmost certainty that you’ve been having a bloody shitful time for the last 13 months.

What bothers me, is that you didn’t disagree.

To save johnboy embarrassment and given it’s not particularly private anyway, here’s a contact:


Be as anonymous or not as you like. And while I think you already know I’m fair dinkum, I fully expect that you will, and indeed think that you should, ask whatever questions or to see as much evidence as is necessary to satisfy yourself that I am not a raving looney.

If you were once sure the administrative breaches and bullying you’ve witnessed were serious but have found yourself starting to doubt this because nobody seems to take it very seriously, don’t. The technical term (brought to you by the ACT Human Right’s Office) is maladministration. It’s very serious (in theory, anyway). Indeed, I can assure you beyond a shadow of a doubt they do not want this sort of dirty linen aired in the press.

How can I be so sure? Because they say so in my file notes. :LOL: I gotta hand it to them, they’re nothing if not brazen about it. They do not give a fuck. But then why should they? Their position is virtually unassailable unless you’re well-connected or well-heeled.

Don’t think I mentioned the cause of my problems and the basis of my dispute. Failure to follow the Code of Practice.

With a side of order of bullying.

After you’ve picked yourself up off the floor nyssa, I suggest you might want to drop me a line. Because I think you need to speak to me.

I had to comment re: policy.

The Dept has a “mandate” for examining policy every 2yrs to make sure that it is 1) working and 2) still relevant.

However, their student management policy (as of late last year) was dated 1989 and never altered or reviewed.

Another one was dated 1992 and never altered or reviewed.

crazychester, no I am most interested.

They can protect themselves but I’ll keep fighting.

Tonight I was given the Teacher’s code of professional conduct.

At least 10 things that happened to me were breaches according to the code.

DET is full of failed teachers, promoted out of schools because they couldn’t teach. It’s hilarious that the worst in the system are the ones that are making policy. No wonder we get these stupid ‘ideas’ that we have to pull together in schools with zero funding and crackpots at the helm. Then, six months later, they’ve moved on. No accountability.

Who wants to open a secular non-government high school with me?

Absent Diane5:22 pm 25 May 06

I know of a person that was high up in local DofE that has suffered at the hands of a bully

crazychester4:54 pm 25 May 06

Ah well, that makes giving advice easy. Unless you get the support of this site, crikey, maybe a mainstream media outlet, a few members of the opposition and have about 50 grand in the bank in case you have to go the legal route, give up now because they will crush you. Understand this, the backlash may very well include leaving your career in tatters (sounds like they’re half way there already).

It’s probably best I don’t tell you what happened when they “reviewed” my case. My sincerest commiserations for what you are going through. I really hope it works out for you but please do not under estimate how far they will go to protect themselves. I did and paid dearly for it.

Just to clarify, the person victimised in point 3 was me.

I don’t normally identify myself re: this matter because I am dealing with it – well trying to – via an internal review atm. I’m still being stonewalled by bureaucratic BS and the “protect their own” mentality. That was the second reason that I posted this on RA.

Mr Evil, I’m not afraid of the backlash. Worse things have happened to me and I say bring it on.

crazychester3:21 pm 25 May 06

I do hope I’ll be allowed to say this. JB I’d appreciate it if you would pass my email address onto nyssa76 and let her (I think you’re a she – otherwise apologies) decide if I’m a crackpot or not.

nyssa76 I tried to raise similar concerns here recently but got shouted down. I am coming from the position of student (but CIT). However, in relation to my situation, I saw (and tried to warn) junior staff members that they were being terribly positioned by senior staff (&/or Katy) in a way that could comeback to haunt them later.

Re: Mr Evil’s post, if you’re not concerned about a backlash you should be. DofE is rotten to the core and has been for some time from the research I’ve done. But then I suspect this might be true of the entire Stanhope Travelling Minstrel Show. Rotten in that petty (but nevertheless dangerous) way that NSW local councils are reknowned for. As far as the situations you’re decribing goes, have a look in Hansard and you’ll see you’re not the first. But it strikes me you might be close to the point where they might be thinking, “we’re going to have to shut this one up.” As I think you’ve already witnessed, they’ve got some pretty handy techniques for shutting people up.

Anyway, if you want to right me off as a paranoid looney, feel free. Or you can contact me if you like and I’m happy to share my experience and any advice. Either way, I’d urge you to be careful.

I reckon you could have a chance to do some real damage with this one RA. Where it counts. I’m up for it. And I suspect nyssa76 might be too. I don’t know what nyssa’s got on ’em but I’ve got about 10 kilos of dirt under FOI that I didn’t have before and just dying for a chance to throw it about. 😉

Anyway, I’ll leave it with ya to think about it.

Sounds like most school bullies are learning their trade from some of the teachers! Nyssa, you’re not concerned that you could end up copping some backlash from your colleagues over this? Cornered rats can turn very nasty!

And people harp on about bastardisation in the military: that all seems pretty tame compared to what’s going on in the ACT Education Dept!

Sounds like Mr Gormbsy has a job with ACT Education ….

Andy, trained in primary, but I teach high school. Why?

Gory details? Hrmm…perhaps sad but not gory.

1) A teacher was “outed” by another teacher in front of students. Those same students then terrorised her. The teacher who “outed” her knew the students had a hatred of gays and didn’t care. His bullying behaviour would only be quelled if you stood up to him – which most people, by the time he had finished, never had the nerve to do.

2) A senior executive staff member who secretly sent off fake complaints to the Dept re: teachers in their school. The staff concerned only found out about this after an internal review. The staff member wanted to create a “team” that he could manipulate without recourse – see the definition of a workplace psychopath for more information.

This same staff member abused (and I mean abused) office staff in front of parents. However, they also abused parents when confronted with the parents’ concerns re: school camp. Despite being the most senior teacher at the camp, he refused to accept responsibility.

This same staff member, when at a restaurant, proceeded to slag off principals and teachers alike. The restaurant was crowded and he was naming names and schools. His venomous comments were relayed to the people concerned, and his superior, but still nothing eventuated.

Over a dozen people put in a complaint about this idiot. His reward? A cushy position within the Department in an important area (I won’t say which)..

3) One teacher arrived at a good school in the ACT to work with a “friend” whom she had known for almost a decade. From the start the “friend” systematically destroyed the teacher’s career and ability to work through false allegations, sabotage, and other forms of bullying behaviour including discussing her private life with all and sundry.

Her “reward”? A promotion to another school.

Her superiors thought that she would “make a good leader” despite a history of bullying other staff and gave her great recommendations. Meanwhile, the teacher she targeted was off work for several months without any support from her school. It was as though she never existed.

4) Two other teachers were systematically frozen out by their faculty because the rest of the staff “didn’t like them”. They were ignored in staff meetings, left out of the loop etc. The teachers lasted 5 months before asking to be transferred.

5) One senior executive staff member received such poor feedback that he was transferred from one school to another, leaving a line of destruction in his wake (across the ACT) in terms of staff morale, behaviour management policies, support for staff etc.

That’s enough for now…I have to get to work.

nyssa, out of curiousty, do you teach primary or high school ?

We are still waiting for you to put the gory details on this site…

Been there, done that.

I’ve tried every way in which to get my point across but nothing has been done.

Short of picketting the Legislative Assembly that is….

Try sending a paper letter rather than an email, much harder to ignore.

“Looked into” = we’ll do nothing and hope you’ll forget about it.

I should also say that I was told it would be looked into but seeing as it is now 11+ months later, I doubt anything has been done.

I called from June last year and finally with an e-mail this year. I must have sent a few e-mails and called a few times but still nothing.

To answer someone re: CEO of the Dept of Ed…well they change so often you never know who it is, besides, the Dept DON’T want teachers to speak out about the problems because it “looks bad” on the Dept.

Seeing as it’s June next week, this has been 12 months in the making.

The problem is staff misconduct with the code of conduct towards other teachers, irrespective of their position in a school.

I’d LOVE to know why, when the issues are eventually dealt with (and not all of them are) that the perpertrators are given cushy jobs either in a “good” school or within the Dept.

Ok, now I have to go to a meeting.

I was going to not name names or schools but I feel that people have a right to know exactly what is going on in the Dept.

I think you’ll find that minister’s staffers are “firstname.lastname@act.gov.au” backbench staffers are “firstname.lastname@parliament.act.gov.au”

Further to GuruJ’s comment, be sure to get the correct spelling of the person’s full name — all the parliamentary staffers’ emails are firstname.lastname@act.gov.au

Going public is not always the right option, since that will get the Minister offside.

Politicians are busy. You can’t just fire off a single email or letter and guarantee a timely response.

If you want a response from a Minister, the process is simple:

Write to them. The letter should be one page or less. Clearly state what action you want taken.
Wait a week.
If there is no response, call the Minister’s office. Get the name of the person who answers. Ask, “has the Minister received my letter?”
If yes, ask when a response will be forthcoming.
If no, email the letter through to the staff member straight away.
Then, keep following up via phone until you get a response.

If your timeframe is urgent:

Send message via email and follow up with a phone call that same day.
Explain (politely) why a response is urgent. Follow up daily until you get a response.

Sure, in an ideal world you’d get a guaranteed response to everything. In reality, a lot of people write letters to Ministers because they are bored, mad or just like making trouble.

Again: If the issue really matters to you, follow it up. Yes, it’s more effort on your part. Yes, you need to use the telephone. Tough — the squeaky wheel gets the grease in this situation.

When I have been in touch with MLAs before it has always been as a member of the media, whether that be RA or NowUC or something else, so I’m really not sure how to get your concerns as a constituent heard. I think posting here is a good start because certainly some MLAs read us regularly and the message may get passed on.

As far as how I’ve gotten to talk to politicians, I always start from the Legislative Assembly site which lists general phone numbers and emails for each member. Alternatively, often on the bottom of their press releases there’s a number for their media advisor (although this probably isn’t the best way to approach them as a member of the general public).

And my main advice is to be persistant.

I dare say every kook and nutbag in Canberra would harrass our poor MLA’s and force them to do unrational things such as answer phones whilst driving, scribble on walls, drive into vineyards pissed etc.

Perhaps we all should just them a few minutes of breathing space. Perhaps then the poor darlings might be able to actually do their job and look after the citizenry of the ACT

It used to be that a letter to a Minister was a high priority item. Response times and outstanding letters etc used to be measured as PS performance indicators – well they were in the Commonwealth PS at least – god knows what the local council arrangements are.

Why write to Vicki Dunne and not the Minister? Or the CEO of Education?

Failing that, get in touch with Elizabeth Bellamy (Education reporter at CT) or Paul Malone (public service reporter) and have a chat.

Corbell gets (quite rightly) a caning on RA but he won’t respond to the questions that were put to him quite some time ago. Perhaps it’s time to up the tempo a bit for all the members of the Legislative Assembly, if they are not prepared to communicate with their constituents.

A couple of years ago, through an unholy deal between the major parties, and with no attempt to consult with Canberrans, they extended the terms to four years. In effect, they reduced the opportunity for the most important consultative process at all, the ballot box.

They therefore have a moral obligation to consult and communicate more than ever (one might suggest by a factor of 25%) with their constituents. Unfortunately, this mob (and I’m sure the others would be no better, based on past performance) just point-blank refuse to do so, unless it is another “spin” opportunity.

No wonder pollies are about the most distrusted occupation, as shown in the survey released yesterday.

Go public here with the issues (just cover yourself against libel)

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