ADELAIDE — The South Australian Institute of Teachers is planning a rally for September 3 and has proposed a series of strikes and school stoppages to protest the state Liberal government's cuts to public education.
SAIT president, Claire McCarty, is maintaining that "it is not too late for the government to see the light and keep its election promises". Education minister, Rob Lucas, has criticised the planned industrial action as pointless. Secondary Students Against Cuts will demonstrate outside the Education Department on August 18 at 4.45pm to demand a free, equal education for all. For more information ring 231 6982.
BRISBANE — Some 40,000 refugees who suffered high levels of torture in their homelands now live in Australia, according to a report prepared by the Women's Health Centre and release in June. A further 60,000 refugees experienced medium to low levels of torture before they arrived in Australia.
The report detailed the problems of 108 Brisbane victims from a variety of ethnic communities. It also noted victim's dissatisfaction with existing health services including language barriers, unprofessional staff, a lack of confidentiality, over or inappropriate medication and a lack of assistance with emotional problems. It recommended the establishment of a non-government, community-based centre to assist the survivors.
HOBART — In an effort to keep the pressure on the state and federal governments to repeal Tasmania's anti-gay laws, the recently formed Lesbian and Gay Human Rights Coalition (LAGHRC) is organising a march, rally and festival on August 27. The theme of the day will be "Lesbian and Gay Rights are Human Rights".
The long-awaited Human Rights Bill 1994, a response to the recent UN ruling on Tasmania's anti-gay laws, is due to be debated by federal parliament. Whether this happens, remains to be seen as the bill must first get past a cabinet discussion, delayed three times already. LAGHRC meets on Thursday nights. For more information call Jen on 346 397 or the Tasmanian Gay and Lesbian Rights Group on 243 556.
MELBOURNE — The Emergency Nurses Association of Victoria has given the state government one more week to address the crisis in emergency departments. Industrial action will be discussed if additional funding is not found by then.
Because beds in the general wards are full and the emergency departments are also. In addition, there are no emergency psychiatric nurses. There are concerns that nurses without emergency training are being called on to fill the gaps. The nurses' demands include: one psychiatric nurse for every shift; more emergency beds; funding and training for more emergency nurses.
MELBOURNE — The Victorian Supreme Court ruled on August 3 that the Equal Opportunity Board (EOB) reconsider its remedy for discrimination suffered by two former students after Northlands Secondary College was closed in 1992. The EOB found that Aboriginal students suffered a particular disadvantage in gaining access to the state public school system after the school was closed, and ordered the college to be reopened in 1994. The Victorian government appealed to the Supreme Court in January 1994. The court set aside orders requiring the government to reopen Northland and dismissed the claim of discrimination.
The court's decision recognises the earlier EOB findings that a special education program for Aborigines must continue if Aboriginal children are to have equal access to education. The question now is whether the program will be run at Northlands.
PERTH — Youth, legal and welfare groups met on July 28 to demand that the state government abandon its proposed controversial boot camps and the Young Offenders Act.
James McDougall of the Youth Legal Service said that the government failed to talk to the youth, legal and welfare agencies about the act. Many speakers also condemned the previous Labor government for its Repeat Offenders Act.
The proposed act abuses the rights of youth and ignores Australia's international human rights obligations; young people will be denied statutory rights.