How about a review of the NT Dept of Education?

‘I was suicidal’: Staff speak out against ‘endemic’ bullying culture in Victorian health sector

ABC South West Vic By Bridget Judd Posted 22 Dec 2017, 12:08pm

Staff at a south-west Victorian hospital, at the centre of a damning review into workplace culture, say they were forced to seek psychiatric treatment and considered suicide at the height of “systemic” bullying allegations.

An internal report obtained by the ABC under Freedom of Information (FOI) laws has revealed a “toxic” and “demoralising” culture of bullying and mismanagement within a South West Healthcare department, based in Warrnambool. 

It identified serious issues relating to workplace structure and culture, including a lack of confidence in management to act “consistently and fairly”, and concerns accountability for patient care had been “compromised”.

One former employee, who has since obtained other work in the public health sector and has asked to remain anonymous, said they experienced “daily” bullying, prompting them to leave the organisation.

“If I knew they [employee] were going to be on for the day, my anxiety levels would peak. They fostered that culture, and ostracised anyone who didn’t fit with the culture of their friendship network,” they said.

“I just couldn’t walk into that facility. I got referred to a psychiatrist. At it’s peak, I was definitely suicidal.”

Staff allegedly ‘driven out’, ‘suffered PTSD’ from bullying

The employee said they had witnessed the “sustained” bullying of a fellow co-worker, who also later sought counselling.

“After 17 years in hospitals across Australia, in no other facility during my professional career have I noticed a culture of bullying and harassment as bad as this,” they said.

“It is a toxic, sick and cancerous problem.”

The workplace review report, undertaken in 2016 in response to allegations of “systemic and sustained” bullying, found ongoing issues within management, including personality clashes, a lack of accountability and a perceived failure to uphold agreed policy and procedures, created a culture that “struggled to support” staff.

The internal culture was described variously as ‘”toxic”, “fearful” and “punitive”, and staff reported they were made to feel inadequate or shamed if they expressed concerns.

Another former staff member told the ABC they were “ostracised” and “driven out” of the organisation after trying to report “endemic” bullying.

They said they felt their only option was to relocate, and that their time in the sector had left them with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), requiring ongoing counselling. 

Privately, current and former staff said they felt “vindicated” by the report’s release.

It is understood South West Healthcare advised staff of the ABC’s intention to publish the review, and made counselling services available.

The provider said it had developed an “immediate action plan” to address the report’s recommendations, and had appointed new executive and management teams to overhaul the department’s culture.


School is back, it’s business as usual and Jarvis is still a joke!

Union figures reveal almost half of members are concerned about bullying

JUDITH AISTHORPE, Education Reporter, NT News
January 23, 2018 3:50pm


A GRADUATE teacher was the victim of an alleged assault at the hands of the school’s principal in what education union officials fear is a worrying trend of internal staff bullying cases.
Education staffers made 24 complaints of bullying to the union in 2017, a figure
that is consistent with previous years.
An education union member survey last year revealed almost half of the 800
respondents felt that bullying and harassment was present at their workplace.
In one incident a graduate teacher was allegedly assaulted by the principal at
the school they were teaching at last year.
The NT Education Department confirmed the incident occurred in Term 1 of
last year at a remote school, however a police report was not filed.
An Education Department spokeswoman said the incident had been
“The Department of Education has conducted an independent investigation.
The report has been received and is currently being considered,” the
spokeswoman said.
It is understood the principal is still working at the school. The department
would not confirm if the graduate teacher had been awarded workers
A spokeswoman said bullying, harassment and violence of any form are not
condoned in Department of Education workplaces, including schools.
“The wellbeing and safety of all Department of Education staff is paramount
and we are committed to ensuring that workplace environments are free from
any form of bullying,” the spokeswoman said.
Australian Education Union president Jarvis Ryan said the union would not
comment on specific cases but believed bullying was far more rampant than
“While we don’t comment on any specific cases, last year the union assisted
members in about two dozen cases where bullying was alleged. We believe the
problem is far more prevalent, but very few employees make their
dissatisfaction known,” he said.
“In a survey of 800 members we conducted last year, 46 per cent of
respondents said that bullying and harassment was present in their workplace, compared to 36 per cent of respondents who said it was not a problem,” Mr
Ryan said.
“In our experience, many employees do not proceed with formal action to raise
the alarm on bullying because they are not confident that the process will be
handled fairly.”

Jarvis Ryan is a joke! He full well knows what takes place, but will never make waves and defend his members, because one day he will want to return to his position with DoE. Ask Mr. Pellizo how that works.

Ask Jarvis about his support of the appointment of Eva Lawler as Minister for Education and how that has helped his members who are and have been bullied by senior executives and  those poor stressed principals. It’s OK, Eva is going to give them $600 to help!!!

Maybe that remote school principal was just too stressed and made a mistake in judgement when she hit that young teacher, just like Mr. Parker did at Kalkarindji when he made a mistake in judgement and threatened a young child with an electric cattle prod, except there were other mistakes in judgement before that weren’t there Marion Guppy. Hitting the furniture to scare transition students into behaving, yelling at young students to scare them into behaving, and don’t forget before these mistakes in judgement he also made a previous mistake of taping a young girl to her desk. It’s funny how no one wants to discuss the photo of that student taped to her desk!!!!

Don’t worry though just like this latest incident DoE have investigated the incident, unfortunately we will never find out the result just like the “Harris report” at Kalkarindji.

We can only hope that when the NT Government gets around to setting up its ICAC, that these matters will be finally investigated and the executives of the Department of Education can be called to answer why they cover up for these people and bully those staff who report these incidents. Jarvis you are a joke, but remember teachers the NT AEU does not want to be a union who confronts these matters for its members does it?

Blamed the teachers then the children now lets try the parents!

What do NT’s politicians and education bureaucrats do when the data on Indigenous student school attendance is still not improving?

How do they deflect some of the light being shone on them?

Well it seems they have reached the point where they can’t keep claiming they have to get better teachers or continue blaming the children for being the problem. That’s what the NT government did with the Don Dale scandal, remember!

It seems that rather than examine the real reasons why many Indigenous children have difficulty engaging with their local school, the department of Education is now going to blame the parents.

So now it seems that taking parents to court is going to be another method of improving attendance!

What of the young boy at Kalkarindji School in 2015, who was threatened with a cattle prod by his principal to actually leave the school and go home on his own?

A young child threatened with a weapon and made to walk home on his own. Come on people!!!!!

Yes there were witnesses.

Mrs. Lawler’s statement “We want all children to attend school every day so they can get a great education” would ring hollow to those who know about the actions of Mr. Parker and the response of senior executives of the department of Education and two Chief Ministers and two Ministers of Education in both the Giles and Gunner governments.

What did the Department of Education do when they received reports of this incident?

Did they remove the principal? Finally six months later after repeated questioning by journalists, and just in time to ensure he was not present when National media were present in the community of Kalkarindji and Dagaragu to cover the 50th anniversary celebrations of the Walk Off.

That would have been just too dangerous for the senior education executives who were present and who were trying to deflect media attention with a slick public relations exercise.

Why is this organization so prepared to take parents to court over student attendance, yet it covers up inappropriate behavior by one of it’s principals?

Maybe it is easier to have Indigenous parents fined in court because they have no power to fight back! Maybe it is a case of well it will cost us to much to admit he did the wrong thing so lets just move him. For some of us that sounds just like what the Catholic Church are being examined for.

No inspiration here!

So the NT News thinks these people rank among the top 120 most powerful people in the Northern Territory!

Both the Cambridge and Collins dictionary define a powerful person as one who is able to control and influence people and events.

Some of us would have experienced the positive aspect of being involved with a person with more power than ourselves. You know those people who inspire and lead others to great things, like Brigadier Arnold Potts, a country farmer from Western Australia who led the Australian 21st Infantry Brigade on the Kokoda Track in 1942.

Unfortunately many have experienced the exact opposite of this. They have been on the receiving end of adverse action by people with more power than themselves, and who often have another agenda that will have adverse effect on others.

There is a growing understanding in society that such actions are really just a form of bullying to get the result they feel is necessary or will achieve their own personal goals.

People like Harvey Weinstein use a particular form of bullying, but there are many forms of bullying used to control and influence others. In Arnold Potts situation it seems that General Sir Thomas Blamey bullied this hero in an effort to cover his own arse and keep face with General MaCarthur.

What happens when your employer wants to make changes against your will or cover their own arse? Do they inspire you to accept the challenge or do they just force it on you?

The Northern Territory Department of Education does not have a good track record managing staff and incidents that reflect poorly on the organisation, and just like Blamey did to Arnold Potts, they also take adverse action against good people to cover their own arse and the arse of the organisation.

HR Mangers who set up fake Facebook pages in teachers names, Regional Directors who send e-mails to each other denigrating other staff, Principals who assault women in public places, teachers who assault students and Principals who act inappropriately by threatening children with cattle prods or taping them to desks to restrain them.

Ask these powerful people how they reacted when informed about the cattle prod incident. Did they inspire others or did they cover their arses?

Yes these people may have power over others and organisations, but are they real leaders inspiring others or are they just bureaucrats doing the bidding of their masters or in fact acting to protect their own arses?

Workers are right to be wary of HR.

Human resources is the first place that employees look to for support and assistance in cases of sexual harassment and assault at work. A good HR department should be capable of initiating the investigation necessitated by such allegations while also supporting and protecting employees. A good HR department should be able to balance the interests of the organization with the real needs of employees – and that of justice. But as we’ve seen at Uber, Tesla, and the Weinstein Company, not all human resources departments are interested in helping humans, aside from those at the very top. Some HR departments are complicit in toxic workplace cultures, working to sweep allegations under the rug and even sabotage investigations. And some HR personnel are themselves predators, using their positions of power to harass and even assault employees.            Megan Purdy – Workology


Ruth Cornish, an independent HR consultant and member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), says workers are right to be wary of HR. “As a department, it is purely there to support senior management,” she says. “I have seen cases where HR staff, deemed to be too employee-focused, are actually got rid of.  I’ve been in HR for most of my career and while we were very much there to help initially, that has evolved to the other extreme.” Mark King – The Guardian


You need to constantly balance a number of elements: your professional and ethical responsibilities; the organisation to help it achieve its strategic goals; the need to broker solutions and not raise problems,” she says. “But above all, you must explain the rules to your clients and make it clear when they are in danger of breaking them.” In the case of workplace laws, any individuals involved in facilitating a breach of the law can be held personally liable as an accessory. Provisions extending workplace liability for contraventions of the law to people ‘involved’ have been in place for more than a decade. Fair Work Ombudsman Natalie James


The Northern Territory Department of Education Human Resource Directorate has an abominable record of dealing with employee complaints of bullying and unethical behaviour by Principals and executive staff.

Not too long ago the Manager of this Directorate was sacked as a result of a very public disclosure. This manager illegally set up a false Facebook page in the name of a teacher who was trying to have this Directorate deal with bullying and harassment by the teacher’s Principal and Regional Director, everyone would remember Hylton Hayes!!!!


For those involved in the Kalkarindji Cattle Prod scandal, the answer is a big NO! Again the offender is moved and the person making the complaint is victimised.

Vicki Baylis advises staff to read chapter 16 of the Royal Commission’s report.

Vicki Baylis advises staff to read chapter 16 of the Royal Commission’s report. Yes this report contains much good advice for teachers of Indigenous children to digest and absorb into their teaching practise.

Although it is very ironic that she states,

The report emphasises the importance of our priority to support every Territory child’s successful journey to adulthood, and education is key to that.“

Why is it ironic? Of all people Vicki Baylis would be well aware of what took place at Kalkarindji school under Mr. Parker’s management, and that one particular child was not shown this ‘important priority’ by Mr. Parker. In fact the department of Education has refused to reveal the Special Investigators report into these matters, and some believe that this department has quietly settled the matter with the child’s family to avoid further adverse media reports and scrutiny.

We would point out the following excerpts from the Commissions report which have a direct relevance to what had been taking place at Kalkarindji School.

In a counter-productive approach, children and young people were excluded from the classroom arbitrarily without assistance to help them to improve their behaviours and stay in the classroom learning.”

This was a common practise at Kalkarindji school by young inexperienced teachers who could not cope with students who had difficulty settling and managing their behaviour.

Within the classroom, the discretion to exclude or suspend students for disciplinary reasons was overused, and at times staff members did not appreciate the needs of their students.”

The most glaring example of this practise at Kalkarindji school was one young male teacher having 132 suspensions for his year ¾ class in the 2015 school year.

The Commission also reported that,

While data on the health status of students in the Northern Territory is not aggregated, it is uncontroversial that students in youth detention in the Northern Territory often present with diagnosed or undiagnosed cognitive impairments, as well as complex psychological, health and social issues. These can include Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD), Attention De cit (Hyperactivity) Disorder (ADHD or ADD), Oppositional De ance Disorder, Autism Spectrum Disorder, neglect, trauma, substance or alcohol misuse or abuse, and speech, vision and/or hearing impairments. In addition, some students in youth detention in the Northern Territory speak a first language or languages other than English.”

The child Mr. Parker threatened with his cattle prod is believed to have suffered from one of these conditions. In an urban school this child would have received appropriate support that would not include his mother having to sit with him in class.

The Commission report stated that,

Research also suggests that mental health issues and cognitive impairments are commonly interrelated with educational disabilities, such as ‘receptive’ and ‘expressive’ language difficulties. If unrecognised and untreated, these interrelated characteristics can result in children and young people displaying inappropriate behaviours in the classroom and achieving poor rates of literacy.”

A very pertinent point that the teacher of this child should have been aware of and Mr. Parker should have organised and provided specialised assistance for.

The Commission found that,

At times, students at the Tivendale school were excluded from the classroom by disproportionate responses that prioritised the collective over individual education rights and did not seek to help individual students improve their behaviour so they could remain in the classroom learning.”

This is a particularly pertinent point that teachers in remote schools struggle with on a daily basis and this boys teacher has prioritised the collective over the individual needs of this student, but instead of dealing with the matter appropriately he took unethical actions and excluded this boy from the classroom, effectively further marginalising this boy from an effective education and the Commissions following finding is a perfect example of this.

At Tivendale School, at times some students were punished disproportionately by imposing a suspension or exclusion from school without adequate regard to alternative means of behaviour management and planning to ensure their continued engagement with education.”

Locking a young student out of the classroom to wander the school on his own is not an effective behaviour management strategy, neither is instructing him to go home on his own because he is having difficulty managing his behaviour. When he objected and started throwing rocks at the school Mr. Parker’s decision to use his cattle prod to persuade the boy to leave the school grounds would offend any reasonable person.

What is more offensive is that this Principal was removed from this school and community only after numerous media reports and was later promoted to another Principal position and the young teacher was promoted as a Teaching Principal in another remote community.





Mrs. Lawler, when is the penny going to drop for you??

We can tell you why mature aged males are either leaving your schools or are not rushing to apply for positions in NT schools.

The word is well and truly out now.

It’s not about being accused by children or their families of being a pedophile, most mature males have families and have been well and truly checked by the Police before they enter this profession.

Its your department and the people they hire as Principals that are the problem.

Appointing teachers who may be good with their paperwork does not translate into them being a good manager, and employing teachers who have never worked outside of the school system means you have principals who are micro-managers and cannot cope with another adult disagreeing with them. Apparently disagreeing with someone is considered as not being a professional or team player!

Mature aged males have life experience, and if they decide to take up teaching as a career later in their lives, they are highly unlikely to put up with the behaviors your principals demonstrate, and your departments history of handling disputes like this is abominable.

Lets have a look at some of those principals and other staff of DOE over the last few years.

Daryl Bullen – bullied teachers at Ramingining before being goaled for assaulting a women in Darwin.

Hylton Hayes – bullied staff for years, sued by a teacher, but still nominated for awards by the Deputy Chief Executive Marion Guppy. (What criteria did she use for this nomination?)

Phil Brennan – head of Human Resources, illegally set up a false facebook page in an a teachers name and made false posts on that facebook page. Result sacked from Education and started work in NT Health the next day.

Jeff Parker- investigated by Police for threatening a child with a cattle prod, and restraining a girl by taping her to her desk to stop her going to the toilet. Moved from community, but promoted to another principals position six months later. Seems to have resorted to claiming mental health issues contributed to his inappropriate actions.

Ann Tonkin – ran away after secretly using CCTV to record another teacher and students.

Jenny Sherrington seems to have left Milingimbi in a hurry after slapping a new graduate teacher.

Robert Preswell – denied complaints of inappropriate behavior by one of his teachers for years until the teacher was before the courts, when he then up and retired/ran away but not before a big send off by the Minister of Education Eva Lawler, check her facebook page.

James Bryant – targeted for rapid principal advancement, and promoted to principal at Lajamanu, but sacked for inappropriate communication with another principal after a personal relationship soured.

Max Agnew – bullied 16 staff to leave in two years and bullied one female teacher to a nervous breakdown, moved to another school and did it all again before retiring.

Anthony Knights – a young inexperienced teacher targeted for rapid advancement, despite having 132 suspensions in one year and having been reported by other staff for inappropriately putting a bin over a student who was misbehaving, and regularly locking young students out of his classroom. Result promoted to a teaching principals position by his regional manager Mr Laurie Andrew.

Any mature fair minded bloke looking to teach in the NT should do his homework before deciding to take up a position with this mob. You will not like what you see these people do and how they behave towards each other or the students they are supposed to care for. Don’t expect senior staff or staff of Human Resources to support you, they are there to support these people and ensure you are got rid of. Ask yourself, why are blogs like cardfightback, teachers with integrity and bad apples spreading this information?