|Issue No 6||26 March 1999|
Sue Simpson Replies
She's the union official dubbed an "uncaring dunce" by the Telegraph; her image plastered on the front page with a computer generated dunce's cap to match the insult.
But Teachers Federation president Sue Simpson says the personal attack was water off a duck's back and has only added to the resolve of her union to push both sides of politics to work harder on education.
The front page attack, which read more like a shit sheet than a serious news report coincided with a strike called by teachers in response to the major parties' refusal to engage in a serious policy debate on education before the State Election.
Simpson says she turned up at the strike meeting without even seeing the front-page photo.
"The funny thing is I didn't even see it on the morning; I found out about it from journalists who were ringing me for interviews that morning," she told Workers Online.
"In my position I expect to be a target -- which is something you wouldn't say about the kids from Mt Druitt High".
Simpson sees a consistency in the Telegraph's use of computer-manipulated photo with their handling of the education issue.
"Because the Telegraph never give us credit for anything, they are totally discredited amongst our members. This was just another example of the Tele going over the top.
"The paper takes a totally unfocussed oppositional approach to anything we do. With the exception of Marilyn Parker's column, they are not prepared to engage us in a serious debate. "
Simpson says she'll be keeping the front page as a trophy: "it was actually a reasonable photo of me!"
Here is a full transcript of the Teachers Federation letter to the Daily Telegraph in reply
The public cannot rely on the Daily Telegraph for honest, accurate or balanced reporting. More and more editorialising invades the news as The Telegraph campaigns against anyone or any organisation who challenges your views or the way you operate.
The Telegraph has been campaigning against the NSW Teachers Federation since we took you to the Press Council over the Mt Druitt High School story on the front page of 7 January 1997.
You campaigned against the Minister for Education on the same issue running a 'Wanted' poster of him. The posters ceased when you got exclusive rights to print the report on Mt. Druitt High School. The Federation will not submit to this form of blackmail.
Your attacks on the Federation have included personal attacks on myself and my predecessor. You continue to deliberately misrepresent the structure and decision-making process of the Federation.
The Federation is far more democratic and representative of teachers than any government in this country. Our Annual Conference has one elected teacher delegate for every 120 teachers and our Council has one elected teacher delegate for every 250 teachers. Our Executive consists of 18 people; the three presidential officers and 15 practising teachers.
When I speak as President I am representing the decisions made by one of these bodies. I did not as Piers Akerman said take my members on strike; teachers decided at democratic forums to take strike action.
The Federation is not opposed to basic learning tests as stated by your columnist - our Annual Conference is opposed to the way some people wish to use the results of these tests.
We are strongly opposed to paedophiles in schools - it is the way the Department has treated some teachers who have been accused that we feel is unfair and unjust.
We are not opposed to students being taught spelling but teachers are heartily sick of politicians attempting to score dishonest points particularly at election time.
Do you ever wonder what effect you are having on society when you regularly run your dishonest campaigns?
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Last Modified: 15 Nov 2005