Page 1183 - Week 03 - Thursday, 31 March 2011

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . . Video

during your now infamous 24 November meeting with staff at Bimberi and do you regard those matters as having been raised with you formally? If not, why?

MS BURCH: I thank the Leader of the Opposition for the question. What I was referring to on Tuesday was the matter of the former art teacher’s article which raised concerns about a young fellow, I think it was—a young man—who had some injuries to his face. There was an incident of language such as “dirty, rotten whore” or “junkie whore” and there was an allegation of, again, a young man, I think it was, who felt in fear of being abused in the classroom.

With the first, the assault, I replied and I said that if I understand it to be the assault I was associating with that commentary, it had been referred to the police. As far as “dirty junkie whore” was concerned, the first time I heard those allegations was through the media, but we are certainly investigating and the chief executive has written to the former teacher seeking details on that. On the matter of a child in fear of abuse in the classroom, that was the first time I had heard that.

The other part of your question was about matters raised by staff. I met with teaching staff and I met with some youth detention workers. The teaching staff raised some operational matters of concern, and I think I went to some of this on Tuesday or Wednesday of this week. It was about communication between the management of the centre and the youth, conversations about the connections with the community organisations that are coming through and some concerns they had, and a level of high frustration, with the delays in getting teaching and educational materials through the risk process. The operation of management went through all materials that come into the centre.

I responded very quickly to the teachers’ concerns. The lead teacher, the principal teacher there, now is part and parcel of management. There are debriefs every day. There are weekly meetings. They have access to community organisations and there are far stronger connections between the teaching unit and the management unit. The teachers at that meeting did not raise “dirty junkie whore” or notions of some children being at risk of being assaulted within the classroom.

MR SPEAKER: Mr Seselja, a supplementary?

MR SESELJA: Thank you, Mr Speaker. Minister, at that 24 November meeting did staff raise with you issues such as allegations of bruising around the neck and broken capillaries in the eyes of a young person as a result of being strangled by a staff member? If so, what action did you take in response?

MS BURCH: As I said, there were two forms of meetings—one with teachers and one with the youth workers. That incident was not raised at those meetings. That incident was the first time I heard in this place. I have asked the department for an explanation of that. That incident was reviewed. It has been reviewed and it has been referred to the Federal Police. Again, if it is the incident that I am turning on—

Mr Coe: And you weren’t told about it, Joy?

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . . Video