||Issue No. 257||01 April 2005|
Unions: State of the Union
Industrial: Fashion Accessories
Legal: Leg Before Picket
Politics: Business Welfare Brats
Health: Cannabis Controversy
Economics: Debt, Deficit, Downturn
History: Politics In The Pubs
Review: Three Bob's Worth
Poetry: Do The Slowly Chokie
The Locker Room
Bus Lanes On Vic Rd
Dirt Cheap Right On Money
Victorian Morality Shafts Teacher
The AEU says Andrew Phillips is a victim of retrospective, poorly thought-out law that doesn't take individual circumstances into account.
As a 20-year-old, Phillips pleaded guilty, on his lawyer's advice, to fondling his girlfriend's breasts when she was two months below the legal age of consent.
Now the popular teacher, and father of two, has lost his job at Orbost High School job because of a new state government law designed to keep sexual deviants out of classrooms.
Three months ago, the Education Department asked seven-year teacher to show cause why he shouldn't be punted. When it rejected his explanation, he resigned.
But fellow teachers and parents say the law is an ass and Orbost High cannot afford to lose a professional of Phillips' standing.
Colleagues are prepared to lose pay to attend a meeting with the Education Minister and the school principal, John Brazier, has gone into bat for his former maths master.
"He has overwhelming support not only in this community but throughout
Victoria," said Brazier.
"He's an excellent teacher who is very good with underachievers."
Phillips has the full support of the Australian Education Union. The union has offered to pay for relief teachers if a staff delegation is successful in getting a meeting with the minister.
The Victorian Independent Education Union has also voted unanimous support for Phillips.
When the controversial legislation was originally proposed it contained provisions for ministerial discretion over sackings. However, under sustained attack from the Liberal Party opposition, the government removed that safeguard.
Brazier believes the danger of retrospective legislation is that people can be punished twice,
"I think the minister and premier see it as a sign of weakness to review legislation," he said, "It is a sign of strength to review what you've done, there is no doubt it is wrong, they are just being stubborn.
"This is shoddy legislation. It was poorly thought through and needs to be improved."
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