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Greens express extreme disappointment over union support for segregated education

Tuesday, 5th November 2019

Australian Greens Senator Jordon Steele-John said he was extremely disappointed at evidence given by the Queensland Teachers' Union President, Kevin Bates, during this morning’s Disability Royal Commission hearing.

“I was absolutely shocked to hear Mr Bates confirm that the Queensland Teachers Union support the segregation of disabled children into ‘special schools’ and would be supportive of building new segregated schools in Queensland, contrary to the inclusive education policy of the Queensland Government,” Steele-John said.

“ I was equally shocked to hear Mr Bates describe the segregation of disabled children into special education settings - separated from their non-disabled peers - as an ‘unfortunate compromise’ required by ‘economic rationalism’.

“Let’s be really clear, there is zero academic evidence to support the suggestion that segregated ‘special schools’ are appropriate learning environments for disabled kids.

“Just yesterday, the Commission heard examples of the horrendous abuse that occurs in these settings with experts making it clear that the future of education must be inclusive of all children.

“The human rights of disabled kids are violated by these institutions. Families are forced, everyday, to place their children in these settings because of discriminatory practices and a lack of resourcing.

“In Australia, and indeed around the world, the union movement has played a critical role in ending segregationist policies based on race and gender. IOt is so disappointing to see the QTU depart from this history when it comes to the rights of disabled kids.

“Disabled kids deserve their human rights, and supporting these rights is union business. The Queensland Teachers’ Union’s position is a barrier to ending the violence, abuse, exploitation and neglect of children in Queensland’s education system.

I will urgently be seeking a meeting with the Queensland Teachers' Union to discuss these concerns.

Media contact:

Tim Oliver - 0448 316 387

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