One of the few pleasing by-products of the COVID-19 pandemic was the cancellation of the annual NAPLAN examinations across Australia. Lockdown measures and school closures ensured the test would not go ahead. But why did it require a public health crisis for politicians to consider abandoning the sacred cow that is NAPLAN testing?
Queensland public servants have had their wages frozen for 18 months as part of the government’s efforts to force them to pay for the looming economic crisis.
Most of the world is closing schools to limit the spread of COVID-19. Scott Morrison has banned indoor gatherings of more than 100, and state governments and medical experts are calling for extreme social distancing to limit the spread of the disease. Yet Australia’s schools remain open, bringing together hundreds, if not thousands, of students as well as tens and hundreds of teachers for six hours a day.
Rank and file members of the Queensland Teachers’ Union have been engaged in a month-long campaign against an inadequate government pay offer.
In late June, Queensland teachers received their first offer from the government as part of negotiations for a new agreement. A week earlier, a record-breaking 94 percent of Queensland Teachers’ Union members had voted in favour of industrial action if their key demands – a reduction in workloads, a pay rise to achieve parity with interstate pay rates, provisions to address the gender pay gap and pay rises for heads of department and school administration staff – were not met.
Two reports released this month indicate widespread neglect and denial of basic human rights of refugees and people seeking asylum.