Tracy Tully 2nd October 2020
“Too little too late, smoke and mirrors to muzzle the mob”, says former senior principal Tracy Tully, following the June announcement by Qld Education Minister Grace Grace. Responding to the national media’s bright spotlight on Australian school principal abuse she tweeted “Great to launch our strategy today with key stakeholders & virtual audience of state school principals’ from all corners of Qld” on her Twitter feed @gracextwo June 3rd 2020, clearly happy that another state education’s problem was ‘solved’ during her launch of the Queensland School Leaders Health and Wellbeing Strategy.
The Qld education department and labor party minister, wants principals to self-manage their stress, anxiety and suicidal thoughts, by using a few links and 1800 numbers. Grace’s disgraceful snub to the real issues at hand of principal abuse, ignored. The Qld education department notoriously fails on the Health and Well Being report card with a zero for achievement and a minus zero for effort with serious negligence and mismanagement of public-school principal’s health and safety.
The political labor machine was slow to move on delivering a practical and effective policy statement, when talks began in 2019 around the need for a review of Principal’s Health and Well-being with critical action left on the bench for over a year. The minister’s timing was no surprise; given the mounting media interest in principal abuse across the states and an impending Qld election in October. Interesting, but not interesting enough and certainly of no benefit to anyone, just another band-aid attempt to solve an impossible problem, another policy to be shelved in the dust. Principals are left yet again, to languish in schools run by a top-heavy organization in relentless decline and chaos.
Tracy Tully spoke with Gemma Bath, Senior News Writer, Mamamia May 13, 2020 in response to recently released research by Deakin University and the Australian Catholic University. The findings were not surprising – that one in three Australian principals have experienced physical violence and threats from parents and students. Add to that, intimidation from politicians, department executives and peers. “Political interference from the department took up a lot of the day-to-day work load, as did coaching and counselling students, staff and parents.”
Tracy has seen it all over 38 years and recognizes the corruption and power of the Australian ‘tall poppy syndrome,’ well and truly entrenched in the shamefully tagged ‘Qld smart state’. Labor’s deputy premier Tradd and regional director Hunt’s alleged principal recruitment affair, an example of common behaviours in the education department, doesn’t surprise her having witnessed many of these unethical scenarios during her career. Tracy tells Mamamia “Political interference from the department took up a lot of the day-to-day …it’s about time the education departments in our country start prioritizing staff wellbeing. In fact, there’s a lot that needs to change in our current “archaic” public education systems.” She cites the many long hours writing “Ministerials”, as a huge waste of precious work time, to save the necks of uneducated ministers.
Principals cannot speak out about corrupt and unethical behaviours they witness unless they chose to become a whistleblower. Those principals stood down on investigation, are ‘muzzled’ through the Bligh administration’s Public Service Act PSA with ‘cover ups’ to recruit ‘party friendly’ principals into schools prior to election as part of the normal culture. She knows, it happened to her. Appointment of these “acting principal schools” by sympathetic labor party principals, is well known within the ranks. Labor led department heads ‘stand on the necks’ of principals to ‘gag them’ preventing them from speaking out against senior and executive leadership perpetrators. A democracy with political management no different to China’s regime of leadership. It’s time to review the Qld Public Service Act and the state’s education policies and procedures. A leader is needed with a focused vision and strong enough to tackle that problem or the future fate of our schooling is condemned.