Territory Stories

Debates Day 1 - Tuesday 14 May 1996



Debates Day 1 - Tuesday 14 May 1996

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Parliamentary Record 21


Debates for 7th Assembly 1994 - 1997; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 7th Assembly 1994 - 1997




Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory





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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory

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Attribution International 4.0 (CC BY 4.0)

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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory



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DEBATES - Tuesday 14 May 1996 There are obvious ongoing effects for the future which a dispute such as this can cause, including a continuing decline and loss of morale within our teaching ranks. That has been highlighted for me by contact that I have had with a number of long-serving loyal teachers who are near the end of their tether and seriously considering their options. These teachers are disillusioned and frustrated, some of them are frightened, and all of them are confused by the governments unwillingness to listen to their claims for a separate EBA. They are beginning to convince themselves that the grass is indeed greener on the other side of the fence. These teachers will follow the trail of their counterparts in the police force over the border and into Queensland. Morale will continue to decline. Workloads on those who remain will increase, the quality of education will decline and families will consider their future. Mistrust, fear and suspicion, propagated by these 2 ministers, will continue to prevail. The responsibility for every teacher who packs up and leaves will lie firmly with the Minister for Public Employment. When those teachers start to leave, in the first instance, it will be those from the remote and rural regions. It will affect the very schools in which recruitment is already the most difficult in terms of attracting suitably experienced and appropriate people. This is politically less of a problem for the government because no political pressure will arise, in the first instance, from Aboriginal communities as a protest about what is occurring. If the dispute is allowed to drag on in the fashion that it has, sooner or later we will see the same drift begin to occur in urban situations where a great deal of political pressure will be brought to bear by parents and school councils who will make their concerns widely known. As teachers begin to drift away, the problem of retention will be complicated by the need for replacement. If our teachers leave because they become sick and tired of a government that will not listen to their demands, a government that calls them Nazis, a government that calls them terrorists, and a government that refuses to grant them professional recognition, who will w an t... Mr Hatton inteijecting. Mr STIRLING: You know as well as I do. Dont try to tell me I misrepresent the teachers. You said the teachers have invaded Poland. What does that mean? The teachers have just invaded Poland. I will tell you what they said it meant to them. It does not matter what you meant by those words, but what they perceived them to mean. They reckon you called them Nazis and that is good enough for me. It is what they believe. When teachers become absolutely sick and tired of this government, as they are beginning to be, who will want to teach in their place when they go? If we are in the situation where the salary relativities leave us languishing near the bottom of the table, who will want to come to the Northern Territory to teach? There is one group who probably would and that is those teachers who are not good enough to get a job anywhere else in Australia. We will have substandard teachers. We will lose the teachers of excellence, the teachers of quality, and we will pick up those teachers who are unemployable in any other jurisdiction. Our task to recruit teachers of excellence and teachers of quality with a national shortage of teachers looming from next year will be made all the more difficult. On the question of salary relativities, the final package has to be considered. It can be considered only in the context of living costs, particularly in remote areas where the costs can be 20% to 30% higher than in Darwin. Darwin is already the most expensive capital in 6999

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