The Teachers Are Blowing Their Whistles!


Your school principal may have a secret file on you!

If you ask the Queensland Teachers' Union about this, they will assure you that "such a file on you should not exist".

And this is true.

The file should not exist.

But it may.

And the file may be filled with the principal's imaginary conversations with other people concerning you.

And with complaints that have been made about teachers in general, other teachers, casual teachers, Religious Education teachers, etc.

All placed on your file to create the false impression that these are complaints about YOU!


And decisions concerning you may be based on the contents of this file.

Or on gossip about the contents of this file.

You may even be told that an agreement has been made to put you on Managing Unsatisfactory Performance ( MUP )!

And there will be no stage in this MUP decision-making process during which you will have the opportunity to know about or to respond to the allegations on this secret file.


No, this "shouldn't" happen.

But it does.

$141,653.54 awarded to a Queensland teacher who discovered secret allegations on their Education Department Ethical Standards Unit file.

During the five years to July 2013, WorkCover Queensland have accepted at least one claim for psychological injury to a Queensland teacher who applied for their full Ethical Standards Unit file and discovered that secret allegations had been made against him / her.

The teacher was awarded $141,653.54 in compensation. 


Teacher stress costs millions, Tanya Chilcott, Page 6, The Courier-Mail, 15 July, 2013

Schools excel in mental anguish, Tanya Chilcott, Page 9, The Courier-Mail, 16 July 2013.

Gary Barnes says that all Australian states have secret 'dirt files' on blacklisted teachers.

Gary Barnes Dip T, BEd. worked for the Queensland Department of Education and the Arts as Acting Assistant Director-General Strategic Policy and Education Futures.

Then he was appointed DEA Assistant Director-General Learning.

And in March 2005 he was appointed DEA Assistant Director-General Strategic Human Resources and Learning

So Gary Barnes should know what is really going on in the Queensland Education Department.

Gary was then appointed Deputy Chief Executive of the Queensland Public Service Commission.

And in May 2009 Gary Barnes was appointed to the Northern Territory as Chief Executive of the Department of Education and Training.

In 2009 the Northern Territory Department of Education did not have a teachers' 'Blacklist'.

But on 1 June 2010 the Northern Territory Teachers' 'Blacklist' came into effect.


Gary Barnes told reporters that 'all other jurisdictions - I presume that Gary includes Queensland - have similar practices'.


The NT Blacklist is called 'Teachers Unsuitable For Further Employment' and the file includes 'relevant details' about each person , including why they are considered to be unsuitable.

The new NT Teacher Blacklist policy allows NT teachers to access their secret file.

And it gives NT teachers the right to respond to the allegations on their dirt file!

Dr Robert Bartholomew says that he and his wife were blacklisted by the NT Department of Education because they asked questions about the asbestos problem at their school - Ali Curung.

Secret NT teacher 'blacklist' revealed, Alyssa Betts, NT News : 16 July 2010

There is a long history of these secret files in Queensland.

The Queensland Police Special Branch were a small but secretive part of the Queensland police force from the 1940's to the 1980's.

The Special Branch kept an eye on state-based industrial and political activists.

Peter Beattie was one of many to attract the Special Branch's attention, having joined fiery protests against the 1971 tour of the Springboks rugby team to Australia amid anger over South Africa's apartheid policy.

Officers would turn up at street rallies and protest meetings to take photographs, record attendees and transcribe speeches.

This information was forwarded to the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation ( ASIO ).


Barry Krosch, who worked in the Special Branch for nine years from 1978 to 1987, before being seconded to help with the landmark Fitzgerald Inquiry, talked frankly about the unit's activites during a recent public lecture organised by the Queensland Police Museum.

Mr Krosch says that he and his colleagues "really believed in what they were doing".

They believed they were performing an important role in keeping the state safe.


Queensland's Special Bureau, as it was then called, began work in Brisbane in July 1940.

Barry Krosch points to a 1942 Queensland Police Department annual report which shows the bureau was worried about "study circles organised in private homes, under the guise of card evenings, where open discussion on world's politics is freely indulged in".



Isn't open discussion of politics normal?

I used to discuss politics in the school staff room at lunchtime.

I thought that this was totally normal behaviour.

But not, it seems, in Queensland.


In the 1970's and 1980's Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen's conservative government tried to stop street marches and quell dissent.

Lawyer Terry O'Gorman says the Special Branch was a "thoroughly insidious organisation" that kept files on some students who never committed any violence, hindering their public sector job prospects.

The Special Branch "was not a police unit that in fact looked at the prospect of political violence; rather it was used to ruin the careers of young students who did nothing worse than protest against many of the policies of the then Bjelke-Petersen government."


In 1989 -


 - two years after I arrived in Queensland, totally innocent of the political situation but immediately aware that there were very high levels of fear among Queensland teachers -


- the tumultuous year when the Fitzgerald report was handed down and the Goss Government swept to power, the Special Branch was disbanded in line with an inquiry recommendation.

Griffith University-based historian Mark Finnane bemoans the fact the files kept by the Special Branch were shredded.


There still seems to be a lot of this "deal-with-the-problem-by-shredding-it" going on in Queensland.


"As historians we thought it important in 1989 that this controversial part of the state's history should be preserved," he says.

"The kind of records that police and other intelligence agencies produce are themselves important sources for what happened in the past."

Barry Krosch agrees.

"How can we learn from our mistakes of the past if we don't have the history, if we don't have the record?"


I would suggest that this is a key question in Queensland - the shredding state.

How will things ever improve in Queensland if public servants deal with every problem by agreeing not to read / agreeing not to "know' / losing / shredding the evidence that there is a problem?


Mark Finnane says it is critical the Queensland Crime and Misconduct Commission ( CMC ) monitor the Queensland police service to ensure it doesn't slip back into its old "oppressive" ways.


Would Queensland classroom teachers be safer at work if the CMC also monitored the Department of Education to ensure that Queensland school principals are not allowed / trained / encouraged to adopt these same "oppressive ways"?


Inside Queensland's spy unit, Daniel Hurst, The Brisbane Times, 7 April 2010.


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