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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2005 Week 3 Hansard (8 March) . . Page.. 737..


Charnwood community festival

MS PORTER (Ginninderra) (4.54): I would like to draw the attention of the Assembly to the upcoming event in Charnwood on Saturday, 12 March, the Charnwood Community Festival. It is being held from 4.00 pm to 7.00 pm on the Charnwood oval. This is the second year the festival has been held, and this year the organisers were successful in obtaining a healthy grant. In fact, the ACT government is funding the festival to the tune of $10,000. This festival is supported by many local businesses and schools and by radio station 106.3, which will be featuring a Charny Idol competition-and we all know what wonderful talent we have in this area of Canberra.

This is, as I said, the second year this festival has been held and many more community groups are participating this year. It is a fine example of what the Charnwood community, and indeed the west Belconnen community, is doing in building and sustaining community participation and community initiatives.

I have mentioned before in this place the ongoing work by the community to establish a community health centre, for instance, and the west Belconnen and, particularly, the Charnwood communities should be congratulated. I would encourage as many of you in this house as can attend to go and support this festival next Saturday.

Schools-bullying

MRS DUNNE (Ginninderra) (4.56): Mr Speaker, I would like to continue on the theme of bullying, as raised in the MPI today. I did not in that MPI dwell on the subject of bullying of teachers by other teachers. I first raised this matter about 18 months ago in the Assembly in response to a letter that the minister for education wrote in February 2003 to a constituent who had complained about bullying, humiliating and overbearing behaviour towards members of a faculty at an ACT government high school by a newly promoted teacher.

In response to issues that I raised at that time, the minister admonished me for having the audacity to raise such a sensitive matter in this place. I ask you, Mr Speaker: where else should I raise it? It is interesting to see what has happened. Over the past couple of years in this particular high school, and as far as I know it is going on to this day, the teachers in a particular faculty have experienced a range of bullying, from silly and petty things like-get this one-sticking the only copy of the faculty agenda to the floor of the room where the meeting was being held so that the teachers would have to kneel down in front of the senior teacher to obtain information, to criticising teachers in front of the student body, to physical handling, and a range of other standover tactics.

These incidents have never been resolved satisfactorily and, despite findings in favour of some of the teachers by Comcare, the attitude of the minister, the department and WorkCover has been less than desirable. The department has moved the bullied teachers sideways or transferred them out of the school and, despite formal complaints to WorkCover, they have never been fully investigated.

In response to one of my queries, the minister said here in August last year:


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