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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2004 Week 10 Hansard (26 August) . . Page.. 4345..


MR QUINLAN (continuing):

They said, "All right, we have got somebody who has a complaint. Got to treat them right. Righto, put it into process. Off you go. What are we doing now?"

I think that reconciles the different positions. I am sorry, it takes away a lot of the excitement but I think it reconciles the position that we all find ourselves in. So I am quite happy to stand here and say I have a voice to at least one representative of the media. After he gave me a fair amount of information in relation to this, I said, "Well, mate, that is a bit of a spray, isn't it?" and he said, "Yes." I think he quoted me in the paper and I am happy to stand by it.

Schools-bullying

MRS DUNNE: Mr Speaker, I seek leave to make a statement.

Leave granted.

MRS DUNNE: Yesterday, at the end of question time, Ms Gallagher provided supplementary information in answer to a question that I raised last week on 19 August about workplace bullying at a government high school. In the answer, Ms Gallagher named the high school, which I had not done publicly. I had named it privately in discussion with Ms Gallagher and her staff, but I think it is inappropriate that the high school should be named in a public way because it makes it too easy for people to work out whom we are talking about.

In the supplementary information provided yesterday, Ms Gallagher said:

An independent investigator was appointed to conduct an investigation into the claims of bullying and harassment by an executive teacher. The matter is a complex one and involves interpersonal issues between a number of staff members. These issues arise from time to time in many workplaces. Counselling opportunities have been provided to each staff member involved through the Department of Education and Training's employee assistance program provider, Davidson Trahaire.

Ms Gallagher goes on to say other things, which I will come back to. I know that the minister's office knows these things, because I have provided them with a fair deal of background. Also, I have offered to provide them with papers, and that offer has not been taken up.

Some things need to be put on the record. First, a department of education inquiry was conducted by a colleague and mentor of the senior teacher, and subsequently an arrangement was put in place as a result of the first complaint. That arrangement involved the person who complained against the bullying and harassing activity being moved out of the sphere of influence of the complained-against teacher.

Mr Speaker, I do not think that is satisfactory solution. If there is demonstrated bullying-and I will come back to that-I do not think the solution should be taking the bullied person out of the sphere of influence of the bully. That would not happen under the department of education's playground and student bullying policy.


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