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Issue No. 185 04 July 2003  

A Recipe for Conflict
Without making any excuses, Tony Abbott�s hand wringing at this week�s airing of a secret video of picket line violence was a bit like watching Don King condemn boxing.


Interview: As They Say In The Bible ...
One the movement�s great characters, Public Service Association general secretary Maurie O�Sullivan, is calling it a day. He looks back on his career with Workers Online.

Industrial: Just Doing It
Sportswear giant, Nike, is the first company to sign off on an agreement that purports to protect Australian clothing workers, wherever they labour, writes Jim Marr.

Unions: Breaking Into the Boys Club
For a 23-year-old woman who has never worked in the trade, recruiting young construction apprentices into the union has its challenges, reports Carly Knowles.

Activists: Making the Hard Yards
Mal Cochrane came to the smoke as part of an Aboriginal avalanche that redefined the face of Rugby League. Today, he serves his community through the trade union movement.

Bad Boss: In the Pooh
What do you give a boss who makes his workers labour in raw sewage? A nomination for the Tonys.

Unions: National Focus
In the national wrap Noel Hester finds a Victorian Misso delo who is redistributing lucre from Eddie McGuire into workers� theatre, South Australian unions taking that Let�s Get Real stuff seriously, an American unionist fronts up at a distinguished �meeting of the brains� in Adelaide and a look at the line up for ACTU Congress.

Economics: Pop Will Eat Itself
Dick Bryan wonders if we can be insured against pop economists promising financial nirvana as well as financial market instability.

Technology: Dean for President
Paul Smith looks at how the internet is helping one Democrat candidate to the front of the primary pack

International: Rangoon Rumble
Union Aid Abroad's Marj O'Callaghan looks at Australia's weak response to developments in Burma.

Education: Blackboard Jungle
Lifelong learning shouldn�t mean cutting jobs, but that's exactly what the Carr Government is proposing, argues Tony Brown

Review: From Weakness to Strength
Labor Council crime-fighter Chris Christodoulou catches up with his boyhood hero, the Incredible Hulk

Poetry: Downsized
Resident bard David Peetz pens the song the Industrial Relations Commission needed to hear


 Aussie Workers Cradle-Snatched

 Morris McMahon Workers Say Thanks

 Violence: Emerson Fingers Abbott

 Cowboys Face Contracts Ban

 TUTA Rises From the Ashes

 Teased Teachers Fight Back

 Labor Fails TAFE Test

 Coke Called on to Stop the Rot

 Bridgestone Drops Doughnut on Workers

 AIRC Locked in Dark Ages

 Maternity Breakthrough in Hotels

 Labour Rights: Even Bush is Better!

 Long Winter for Seasonal Workers

 Activist Notebook


The Soapbox
Cleaning Up
Rabbi Laurie Coskey from San Diego adds her voice to the global campaign for just for cleaners in Westfield malls.

The Locker Room
The Name In The Game
In an age of the sportsperson as celebrity it seems that names are overtaking the games, writes Phil Doyle.

The Beach
Southern Thailand�s terrorist activities: facts or fiction asks HT Lee

 A Tribute to Brian Miller
 Orange Peel
 After the Accident
 Cuba - the Debate Continues
 Old Ted
 Greetings from Japan
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Teased Teachers Fight Back

By Carly Knowles

A child abuse allegation, stemming from a teacher staring over his glasses at a pupil, was part of a dossier that has prompted the state government to re-examine child protection laws.

The dossier records another teacher being accused of humiliating a yawning student by yelling �I don�t want to watch you yawning, so next time, have a better breakfast and go to bed earlier.�

Teacher's Federation secretary Barry Johnson, says such allegations are "ridiculous" and the Federation is concerned that the department spends such a lot of time investigating such trivial matters that real child abuse in the community may go undetected.

"The definition of what constitutes child abuse is too broad."

It was alleged one teacher "engaged in inappropriate contact" by poking a student in the back "causing him to feel some pain". The teacher was in fact intervening to prevent that student assaulting another.

The dossier recorded another teacher telling a student: "If you hit me again, I will report you to the police for assault." That student told the Department of Education and Training the teacher was "intimidating" and should be charged with child abuse.

Once an allegation has been made, even if it is unfounded, teachers are placed on a risk assessment scale and are monitored for a specified period. If teachers choose to leave the school, or the profession, they have marks against their names for the remainder of their working lives.

"The process involving our members is both demeaning and stressful and many of the teachers against whom allegations are made have their careers destroyed," says Johnson.

The concerns are not just disciplinary. A female teacher was unable to comfort a tearful primary child on a school excursion for fears claims would be made against her. The student woke during the night crying for home, but the teacher was afraid to be seen in her nightclothes comforting the boy.

NSW Premier Bob Carr says teachers must be able to comfort children, restrain them from danger, or break up fights without fear of child abuse charges.

"It is essential that commonsense prevails and that we get the balance right between the rights of teachers and child protection" Carr says.

The Premier will get results of the legislative review next month.


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