The Teachers Are Blowing Their Whistles!


Robina Cosser : my submission to the federal government's Parliamentary Inquiry into Workplace Bullying.

The workplace culture of the Queensland Department of Education facilitates the abuse of classroom teachers.

A submission to the Parliamentary Inquiry into Workplace Bullying.

By Robina Cosser.

29 June 2012


Queensland Principals are able to bully classroom teachers because of the systemic problems -

a) The Queensland Education Department promotion system is not working.

Principals are being selected for dubious reasons. They become nervous because they can't do their job properly - and then they attack the teachers.

b) Principals are poorly trained.

c) Many Queensland school principals seem to lack intelligence and / or  literacy skills.

d) Falsification the official records seems to be common practice.

e) Bullied teachers are given poor and even harmful advice.

f) Conflicts of Interest may affect investigations.

g) The CMC / Department of Education "Devolution Policy" has failed. The CMC / Ethical Standards investigation process can be corrupt.

h) Education Queensland seems to be an oral culture. Abusive principals don't read the official policies. They just seem to 'phone a friend' in the district office and make up their own policies.

i) Principals and public servants who bully teachers, or who facilitate the abuse of teachers, seem to be celebrated and to be given promotions and awards.


(In my submission I describe the experience of workplace abuse that led me to the above conclusions.

The details of my submission have been made confidential, at my request because one person involved in the bullying is still working and I did not want to humiliate her in front of her family.

I have some sympathy for her because she was not really a bully, she was just dim and easily manipulated by the psychopath who masterminded the bullying that I experienced.)


My message to Julia Gillard, Bill Shorten and the members of the National Inquiry into Workplace Bullying is that listening to the stories of suffering workers, hugging people and being sympathetic, is not enough.

We, the bullied workers, need real action to be taken to protect us from workplace abuse.

Recommendations -

There is a need to establish the minimum OP standard that must be achieved before a student is accepted into any Australian teacher-training program.

If a student cannot pass Grade 7 exams, he or she is not ready for university study.

Queensland teachers need to be tested on their capacity to read, comprehend and to apply departmental policies to their own behaviour before they are promoted or appointed to 'acting' positions.

Having demonstrated understanding of the official policies, Queensland principals then need to be held responsible for complying with the official policies.

Queensland classroom teachers need printed information on how to protect themselves from abuse of the DWP / MUP process.

Teachers need printed information on their right to make a WorkCover complaint.

Teachers need free access to the MUP policy, the Grievance policy and all other official Education Department policies

The Department of Education must demonstrate that their Grievance process is working - data must be collected and published.

Queensland teachers must be given written copies of all allegations concerning them.

Teachers must be allowed to respond to all allegations in writing.

All investigation reports / Briefings for the Minister, etc. must include a statement by the person writing the report / briefing that they have no conflict of interest in the situation.

All investigation reports/ briefings must have a bibliography listing all of the documents that were used in writing the report / briefing.

This will -

a) Raise the professional standard of these briefings / reports 

b) Facilitate the Right to Information process.

c) Significantly reduce RTI costs.

The Education Department must stop wasting public funds on investigations that have been 'set up' to fail.

Devolution is not working.

All Queensland public service 'Ethical Conduct Departments' should be closed.

All Ethical Conduct staff should work under the direct control of the Crime and Misconduct Commission.

And the Queensland Crime and Misconduct Commission needs to 'lift their game'.

For example -

It is much too easy for a CMC officer to -

 - claim to have doubts about the credibility of the person making a disclosure,

 - reduce the CMC record of the disclosure to gibberish,

 - find the (gibberish version of the ) disclosure 'unsubstantiated',

 - declare the case 'closed',

and then refuse to have any further communication with the complainant.


I would draw your attention to the website of Robert E. Bartholomew, PhD, whose experience of workplace abuse in a Northern Territory school was very similar to my own experience in Queensland :


Robina Cosser M.Ed

Editor : The Teachers Are Blowing Their Whistles

Editor: Whistleblowing Women

Submission 110  :

A Public Interest Disclosure to John-Paul Langbroek, Queensland's Minister for Education, Training and Employment - by Robina Cosser.

On 11 September 2012 I made a Public Interest Disclosure to John-Paul Langbroek, Queensland's Minister of Education.

The Public Interest Disclosure concerned the submission that I had made to the Parliamentary Inquiry into Workplace Bullying.

There is a big workplace bullying problem in Queensland schools.

It is important that John-Paul Langbroek is allowed to know this, and that he is allowed to deal with this problem.

The Queensland Labor government did not deal with the problem.

In 2012 we have a new LNP government - but the Education Queensland senior public servants who 'turned a blind eye' to workplace bullying complaints are still in place.

And some public servants were given inappropriate promotions by the Labor Government - promotions that will allow them to become 'gatekeepers', and to block all access to the truth.

Mr Langbroek, will your senior public servants allow you to read my Public Interest Disclosure?

Will they allow you to know the truth about the workplace bullying in Queensland schools?

Mr Langbroek, ask your new Director-General : Does the Queensland Department of Education regularly survey Queensland's teachers to find out if they are being bullied at work?

The Australian Public Service Commission describe, in their submission to the Parliamentary Inquiry into Workplace Bullying,  Australian Public Service Commission (APSC) (PDF 7,736KB) , their practice of monitoring the incidence of workplace harassment and bullying by surveying employees, service-wide, about their perceptions and the incidence of workplace harassment and bullying.

Mr Langbroek, ask your new Director-General of Education if Queensland's teachers are regularly surveyed in this manner.

In 2007 the UNE researchers found that 97 per cent (the reported figure varies but it is always over 95 per cent) of teachers Australia-wide had experienced bullying at work.

They reported that workplace bullying seemed to be "rife" in Queensland schools.

Have the working conditions of Queensland's teachers improved since 2007?

A regular survey would provide you with this information.

And it would identify the problem workplaces.

You need this information, Mr Langbroek!


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