Federal Opposition backs calls for national inquiry into education of children with disabilities after ACT cage incident

Original post from ABC

‘………By political reporter Susan McDonald


The Federal Opposition is pushing for a national inquiry into the education of children with a disability in schools following revelations a Canberra student with autism was held in a cage.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten described reports of mistreatment this week as “shocking and deeply disturbing”.

Mr Shorten has backed a call from the former Disability Discrimination Commissioner, Graeme Innes, for an inquiry.

The Federal Opposition is pushing for a national inquiry into the education of children with a disability in schools following revelations a Canberra student with autism was held in a cage.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten described reports of mistreatment this week as “shocking and deeply disturbing”.

Mr Shorten has backed a call from the former Disability Discrimination Commissioner, Graeme Innes, for an inquiry.

“We cannot assume this is a one-off case,” Mr Shorten said.

“We need to hear the voice of parents of children with disabilities as well as schools and teachers in such an inquiry.”

The Opposition has suggested the Human Rights Commission carry out an inquiry and that a dedicated Disability Discrimination Commissioner be reinstated.

Mr Innes said the ACT case in which a child with autism was put in a two-metre by two-metre cage-like structure made of pool fencing was not an isolated incident and a broader inquiry was needed.

“I think that the key issues here are both the lack of resourcing for schools and training for teachers, and just lack of awareness of teachers who could possibly think that such actions are appropriate,” Mr Innes said.

But a spokesperson for Education Minister Christopher Pyne said the operation of schools was a matter for state and territory governments.

“The Commonwealth doesn’t employ any teachers or have any role in managing students,” the spokesperson said.

The Minister also defended the level of federal funding to states and territories for students with a disability.

“The Commonwealth is also providing record funding … $1.2 billion in 2015 alone and $5.2 billion over the period 2014-17,” the spokesperson said.

“States and territories can spend this funding on additional teacher training or other support services for students with a disability. It is a matter for them.”

The Education Minister’s office has also pointed to the Federal Government recently accepting a recommendation for the national curriculum to better meet the needs of students with disabilities.

RELATED STORY: Cage for boy with autism at ACT school prompts call for national standard
RELATED STORY: Claims ACT cage incident not isolated, as more stories emerge on social media
MAP: Australia………..’

Special needs child allegedly put in cage-like ‘withdrawal space’ at Canberra school

Original post from ABC



An investigation has been launched after a special needs child was allegedly put in a two-metre by two-metre, cage-like structure made of pool fencing at a Canberra public school.

Education Minister Joy Burch said between March 10 and March 27 the child was placed in a “withdrawal space” inside the classroom.

It is understood the incident involved a 10-year-old boy with autism.

Words could not describe her disappointment and horror at the situation, Ms Burch said.

“This structure could not be deemed acceptable in any way shape or form, in any of our public education schools, hence it was withdrawn,” she said.

“I have initiated an absolute thorough investigation as to the why and where … this structure was allowed to be put in place.

“I have also made assurances through the school executive and through our support teams that the child and the family involved is given the utmost support over this time.”

The school principal has been stood aside, but the name of the school cannot be revealed for privacy reasons.

The issue emerged last week after a complaint was made to the Children and Young People’s Commissioner.

Parents with students at the school have been informed of the incident.

Ms Burch said the student remained at the school and two extra staff had since been assigned.

‘This is not how our students should be treated’

Diane Joseph from the ACT Education Directorate said it was an isolated example of very poor decision making.

“The space was basically a fenced-in structure inside a classroom,” she said.

“It was entirely inappropriate and unacceptable, and the structure has been removed.

“The decision to erect such a structure raises so many questions.

“This is not how our students should be treated.”

The withdrawal space was built for a particular student, but the directorate conceded it did not know if it had been used for other students.

The Minister said an investigation would be conducted in two streams with the first stage expected to be completed within weeks.

It would be led by someone independent of the ACT Education and Training Directorate.

Independent inquiry needed ‘without delay’

Hugh Boulter from the ACT public school Parents and Citizens Association said he was most alarmed at the news and has called for a speedy, independent inquiry.

Hugh Boulter from the ACT P and C Association was alarmed by news of a cage being used at a public school.

“At this stage on behalf of the P and C Council and ACT parents I would call for an independent inquiry to be conducted without delay,” he said.

“I would also ask that it is important not to speculate until the findings of the independent inquiry are handed down and fully evaluated to ensure natural justice.

“I’d also call for the directorate to make inquiries in to non-government schools as well, immediately, to remove any question of systemic performance in the ACT.”

Liberal ACT MLA Steve Doszpot was horrified by what he had heard so far about the case and said many questions remained unanswered.

“Have these sort of situations occurred before? And do we have any other structures like this in other schools? Why has it taken so long for the issue to be escalated?” he said.

“I understand that the Directorate knew about this last Thursday, and it is now a week later.

“So these are questions that remain to be answered and an inquiry is the very least that should happen.”

Meanwhile, the Federal Assistant Social Services Minister Mitch Fifield expressed his concern over the incident on ABC’s Radio National.

“It’s appalling what we’ve heard from the ACT,” he said.

“Regrettably, we do hear of instances around Australia in schools from time to time where there are inappropriate restrictive practices used.

“This is something that we need to look at, not just in schools, but also as we look to the roll out of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) nationwide.”

Senator Fifield said the roll-out of the NDIS would improve safeguards for people with disabilities, and help implement uniform national complaint practices.

Ms Burch has appealed for the media to consider the privacy of the family involved.  …….’

Wisdom from around the world


There is wisdom in all parts of the world. A lot of wisdom can be learnt from the proverbs and wise sayings of people in all parts of the world. In this post we draw wisdom from all the continents of the world.


“If you close your eyes because of your enemies, you will not be able to see your friends” (African Proverb).

“The fall of a dry leaf is a warning to the green one” (African Proverb).

“A cockroach can only rule in the land of fowls if it employs a fox as its bodyguard.” (African proverb).


“A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.”

“A rolling stone gathers no moss.”

“Birds of a feather flock together.”


“A poor excuse is better than non at all.”

“A friend to everyone is a friend to nobody.”

“A man who marries twice is a two-time…

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My mother stayed with my abusive father for 22 years. That’s a lot of bruises

The following post states a situation that no one should be in and have to endure and although, in this instance, it is in Australia, could it not be anywhere. No one should be subjected to any form of abuse, but if they are, the so called ‘respected authorities’ should be there to help and save them from this continued abuse.

Original post from The Guardian

‘My mother stayed because there was nowhere to go. By 2015, I imagined domestic violence victims would have more options but it seems we’re going backwards

domestic violence
‘Why did she stay? As a teenager, I spat at her weakness: I would never allow a man to treat me like this. I would never. Why did she stay? And each time, she gave this answer: there was nowhere to go.’ Photograph: Rich Pedroncelli/AP

On my first day of kindergarten in the early 1970s I stood outside the little wooden school building with my satchel over my back and a desperate desire to get into the classroom where there were books, and maths puzzles, and an orange story chair. Outside, a boy with red hair clung, sobbing, to a pillar, while his mother tried to peel him off. Puzzled, I watched him. Why would anyone be frightened of school? What could be more frightening than home?

Home was the dark shadow of my father, the thud of his punches, or him throwing my mother across the room. Home was my teenage sisters, shouting out their defence against him, or sobbing in their room. Home was my brother, not yet out of infants school, clinging to my mother’s leg, trying to protect her while my father peeled him off, flicking him across the kitchen with a single kick. And home was the desperate desire to be the one to make him laugh, to have his attention turned to me, to be his favourite, his one.

Like many violent men, he was a charmer, my father.

My mother stayed with my father for 22 years. For 20 of those years he repeatedly hit, kicked, pushed and pummelled her. Two of my bright and capable sisters didn’t see out high school. Desperate to escape, they left home as soon as they were legally able.

Why did she stay? As a teenager, I spat at her weakness: I would never allow a man to treat me like this. I would never. Why did she stay?

And each time, she gave this answer: there was nowhere to go.

Before the 1975 Family Law Act, divorce could be granted for adultery but not for violence. Before the Supporting Mothers Benefit of 1973, women with young children could not be guaranteed of a means to live once they left their husbands. And before Elsie – the first women’s shelter – was established in 1974, women like my mother had nowhere to go.

In recent months, the beleaguered Abbott government has made many disastrous decisions. Among them, the decision to cut funding to women’s shelters. Withtwo women a week being killed by male partners and ex-partners, I can’t believe I have to spell it out, but it seems I do: women need somewhere safe to go when they leave.

In a period of decreasing homicides generally, the number of women killed by male partners or ex-partners has increased. In the last six weeks alone, 13 women have been killed by their male partners. Last week Q&A hosted a discussion on male violence against women, making the mistake of overloading the panel with male speakers. The conversation about male violence, though, is not just about who speaks. It’s about who should listen.

But it’s also about asking the right questions. The question my teenage self repeatedly posed to my mother – why did you stay? – was the wrong question, to the wrong person. I never, once, asked my father why he was violent or if he wanted to change. No one did.

When British novelist Jill Dawson wrote a piece in the Guardian about her own experience of her partner’s violence, she said that it was the other people’s response that allowed her to see the violence for what it was. Peer pressure, she said, in particular condemnation by other men, as well legal repercussions, has been shown to create a change in the perpetrator’s behaviour. Rosie Batty echoed this on Q&A, speaking about the importance of “men holding other men accountable.”

According to No To Violence, the male family violence prevention association, recent studies have shown that male behaviour change programs (MBCP) are highly effective. In these programs, it’s clear who does the listening.

My father was a policeman. When my mother went to the police, she was told they could do nothing. When she went to family friends, she was told to keep quiet. When she went to the church, she was told to stay in her marriage.

In that first year of my escape into the world of school, my mother escaped into the world of work. As an enrolled nurse she found that perhaps she wasn’t as useless as she had come to believe; she found a community of women who laughed loudly, who listened and did not say “stay”. And she often treated other women, who came to Casualty with broken bones, or bloodied jaws, or battered backs. The world changed: by the mid-70s divorce rates were up. The conversation had changed, women felt able to leave. At the end of my first year of school, we pulled down the Christmas tree and loaded up a moving van. I spent three weeks sobbing for my father: he of the power and the charm and the wit.

As as an 80s’ teenager, I held tight to the line from L.P. Hartley’s The Go-Between:

The past is another country, they do things differently there.

It was incomprehensible to me then that the country of the past meant that my mother had no place to go, no one to listen, no means of support. Five children, 22 years. That’s a lot of bruises. I was certain that for girls and women of my generation it would be different.

But that dark country of the past now feels not so far away. That country where women had nowhere to go is here, now. I can feel it creeping up again; can hear the voices telling us to hush up, to settle down, to get back in our boxes. But we won’t. We won’t stop talking. We can’t go back.’

A new treatment for some Cancers, may be.

Scientists discover cancer fighting berry on tree that only grows in far North Queensland from the blog of Global Newsstand

On the face of it this could be good news for treating the specified cancers, but until human trials have been undertaken no one can say for sure.

Lets hope QBiotics start these trials soon and that the results are meaningful and produce clear indications that will provide evidence for for EBC-46 to be made into a treatment for use on persons with these cancers.