The NSW Department of Education must be held accountable

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Here I thought the Covid madness was finally over, but Wow I should have known not to imagine that bureaucrats would let all that power go so easily.

The NSW government has made it clear that the public health order requiring all staff and volunteers at schools in NSW to be double-vaccinated will not be extended beyond its May 13 expiry date. .

Last week was supposed to be the end of a discriminatory vaccination mandate that has damaged the education system, leading to teacher shortages and students whose learning is disrupted.

The NSW Department of Education has other ideas.

Before tearing them up, as readers of my previous Spectator Australia articles know, I have been a volunteer Scripture teacher at my local public elementary school for the past four years.

I’ve made time every week doing something I love – something that brings me hope and joy – that has helped ease the anxiety and mental health issues I’ve had. been confronted. Every week, volunteers like me spend half an hour teaching students about the Christian faith. This enriches the lives of students and volunteers. It is one of the greatest privileges I have had the pleasure of being a part of.

Towards the end of 2021, I was told that a vaccination mandate had been imposed on everyone in the education system, including volunteers. We had to be fully vaccinated before we could resume teaching.

People like me who made the decision not to take a Covid vaccine due to what we personally consider to be an unacceptable health risk from an insufficiently tested product have been cast out like lepers and unable to return to our jobs. It doesn’t matter that the scientific evidence is mounting to support the logic of our caution, or that the original arguments for mandatory vaccination have crumbled (namely transmission and lasting efficacy).

At the end of last year, the NSW government finally decided to lift vaccination mandates on most industries. The only mandates that remained intact were those of the health, elderly care and education sectors. Earlier this year it was announced that parents and visitors would once again be allowed to enter schools regardless of their vaccination status, but that staff and volunteers would still need to be fully vaccinated.

It was obviously unscientific nonsense, but I waited patiently. Then, just as the education mandate was due to expire in March, they again extended it for another two months.

By this time, Australians were beginning to see that government decisions on health seemed to lack logic or any semblance of reason. Parents and visitors could enter schools for as long as they wanted without being vaccinated, but volunteers could not enter 30 minutes a week…? Given that the manufacturers now report that the vaccine only provides significant protection for about three months – and the warrant was only for the initial two doses – there was reason to keep the warrant in place. Those who received a double shot would have the same level of immunity as those who were not vaccinated. And, of course, vaccinated and unvaccinated can contract and spread the virus. The proof is in fully vaccinated workplaces across Australia riddled with Covid.

Hoping that we were nearing the end of the madness, I continued to wait.

Finally, Friday, May 13 was confirmed as the final end of the mandate. Schools would be able to carry out a risk assessment and make their own decisions regarding Covid vaccination policy. Everything seemed ready for unvaccinated volunteers like me to return to teaching.

Sadly, the New South Wales Department of Education has become one of the most shameful organizations I have ever had the displeasure of dealing with.

Days before the public health order expired, the secretary of the Department of Education let public schools know that she believed the education vaccine mandate would continue until new discussions have taken place. The department’s website states:

“The NSW Department of Education currently has a secretary’s determination to ensure that all staff in the department are doubly vaccinated against Covid. This will be in place until the department decides its policy position based on an occupational health and safety risk assessment.

They say this will be enforced by a ‘ministerial directive on health and safety policy’.

Subjecting volunteers to the determination of a secretary for “department staff” is questionable at best. Volunteers like me are not employees of the Department of Education. Besides, we are not employed by anyone. We are guests, as are unvaccinated parents and authorized visitors on school grounds.

The New South Wales government has made it clear that the unvaccinated must remain discriminated against, despite Prime Minister Scott Morrison insisting there is no vaccination mandate.

Bureaucracy strikes again.

Enraged by the loss of my job, I contacted the Ministry of Education to ask to speak to someone about it and challenge the legality of such a decision, given that it was acting outside of the public health order.

The official I spoke with was unable to give me any further details except for an email address I could contact. When I attempted to send an email expressing my concerns about this, it bounced. Typical of a ministry.

Conveniently, officials cannot be contacted. The Department’s secretary, Georgina Harrisson, does not have contact information available on the Department’s website. These people are supposed to be public servants who are paid at taxpayer expense, but they cannot bother to speak with the people who pay their salaries.

Oh, and I try my best with the Fair Work Ombudsman, they won’t answer questions about the legality of warrants. Fair working conditions? Not their problem.

The NSW Department of Education is a mess. It is high time it was emptied and cleaned. Instead of legitimately ending a term that created a teacher shortage, the Department is prolonging that shortage and likely making it worse. Meanwhile, New South Wales Education Minister Sarah Mitchell, the Department of Education and the New South Wales Government are dreaming up ridiculous policies such as ‘child-based’ childcare. subscription” before and after school.

Pursuing vaccine mandates is an unscientific position. Is it legal? This is a question being asked in courts across Australia. The only way these mandates have been “legally” imposed is under a public health order. With the health order gone, the Department of Education, Secretary and Minister must answer questions about the legality and rationality of their continued policy of discrimination.

New South Wales Premier Dominic Perrottet could settle this bureaucratic madness, but he is a weak man, much like his federal counterpart Scott Morrison.

Stop voting for absolutely nonsensical major parties and start voting for “Freedom Friendly” minor parties that actually care about your rights and freedoms.

It’s time to shake things up and level the playing field.

And at the NSW Department of Education, they must be held accountable.

Joel Agius is a freelance writer. If you would like to read more of his work, you can do so at JJ’s outlook or discover his new podcast Agius hour.

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