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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 11 Hansard (Wednesday, 24 October 2018) . . Page.. 4147 ..


were being hurt in the work environment. Apparently they raised it with the minister when she was appointed.

Where were they when Melanie reported, on no fewer than 34 occasions, the violent attacks she was being subjected to in the classroom? Where were they when Melanie was given nothing more than a compression bandage in response to the horrendous abuse she suffered? How must Melanie feel today, hearing that the Education Directorate was conflicted because the minister presumably was more concerned about the rights of the child to bite and bite again than they were about ensuring Melanie’s safety? Let us not forget the pregnant teacher kicked in the stomach or the several other staff who were attacked during 2017, six months after the minister was told violence in the school workplace was commonplace.

Once again we had an amendment circulated whilst I was on my feet. Once again we have an amendment that has an “omit all” clause. It seems the minister could not even bring herself to agree to my first paragraph:

… all teachers deserve to work in a safe environment in ACT schools.

Once again we have a minister who is hell-bent on hijacking private members’ day.

The Canberra Liberals will not be supporting the amendment. Nowhere does the minister acknowledge her failure and the failure of her government to keep our teachers safe. She has completely dropped my call to issue a public apology to our teachers and once again, as is so common with this government, slips away from the responsibility for transparency by not even putting a date to report back on progress.

Once again we have the Greens choosing to support their coalition partner rather than protect our teachers. It is appalling but unsurprising. Mr Rattenbury, in his speech, said that he understands the seriousness of occupational violence in our schools but that he had to be, to use his word, “honest”. I would hope that he is not alleging that I have not been, because that is a serious assertion that I take very, very seriously—if that is what he is saying.

To have this appalling lack of governance on such a wide scale and not once have the minister appear contrite, embarrassed, ashamed, apologetic, to not once have the minister take full responsibility for the shocking violence that has occurred under her watch, is downright appalling. No, she thinks it is just fabulous that the ACT has this whiz-bang violence management policy, and we are leading the nation.

I have to note that the Education Directorate’s specific violence management policy was published in July 2017. But when you go to the detail in the policy it references a 2012 document, the ACT public sector managing occupational violence policy, and that policy says that it is a requirement for all directorates to have an occupational management plan to manage risk. The grand nation-leading policy of 2017 is nothing of the sort and in fact is five years past when it ought to have been produced, according to the ACT public sector managing occupational violence policy. Minister, I suggest it may pay to occasionally read your own policies.


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