Decision Maker

Daniel Tehan

  • Minister for Education

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Petitioning Daniel Tehan, Scott Morrison, Ken Wyatt, Tanya Plibersek, Anthony Albanese, Linda Burney

Educating our children for racial equality

Indigenous culture is not taught in Australian primary schools, and should form a part of the Australian National Curriculum. Racial inequality is systemic and begins early. To address it, and alter this, we need to teach all Australian children from a young age, the simple principles of Aboriginal culture and law alongside any other (inherent) belief systems taught. To be clear, this curriculum would not be categorised as history or anthropology. Aboriginal culture is alive, and can inform our ways of thinking positively when applied to a myriad of other disciplines. Especially with regard to sustainable systems and ways of living on the planet. We propose a place created in the Australian National Curriculum for Aboriginal Culture for the school year commencing 2021. Aboriginal educators have already created extensive learning resources for both young students and teachers, that would be easily adapted to this end.* The effect of doing this is two-fold; 1. Non-indigenous Australians have an intrinsic understanding of the indigenous worldview, beneficial to their own education as Australians. 2. Indigenous Australians are afforded the respect and acknowledgement of their worldview that they are entitled to as the First Nations People and custodians of this country. There are only positive ramifications for the future of a population that grows up with an intrinsic understanding of Australian indigenous culture. While there are other initiatives working to combat the worst of racial inequality in this country; incarceration and deaths in custody, this initiative addresses the issue from the outset. *This petition has the support of Indigenous educator Nola Turner-Jensen who runs the leading accredited online Aboriginal learning resource Crackerjack Education. Nola's experience and resources are integral to this initiative.   Black people have asked white people to use our privilege, at this time, to take action where we can. This is an action. Please be a part of it by signing this petition, and help create peaceful, systemic change that we'll all benefit from.

Sarah K
2,587 supporters
Petitioning Daniel Tehan, Department of education skills and employment

Make Indigenous studies a subject in the Australian Curriculum

On the 12th June 2020, education ministers agreed it was timely to review the Australian Curriculum. It is clearer than ever before that Australia’s First Nations’ History and Culture needs to be a core learning area of the Australian Curriculum, from Prep through to Year 10. It is insufficient for Indigenous and Torres Strait Islander Histories and Culture to be merely a non-compulsory, cross-curriculum Priority; our students need a well-rounded, holistic and in-depth instruction of First Nation Australians’ history and culture delivered via a dedicated learning area, by facilitators who have been similarly educated. The Australian Professional Standards for Teachers specifies that proficient teachers should ‘Provide opportunities for students to develop understanding of and respect for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories, cultures and languages.’ (APST 2.4). The most effective way to ensure consistency of this would be through permanently adding First Nations’ History and Culture to the Australian Curriculum, as a core learning area. Education is key to lasting change. If we want to see an end to historical and cultural ignorance in Australia, we need to act now in ensuring the review of the Australian Curriculum provides space so that all Australians receive the education they are entitled to – one that opens students up to the rich and complex First Nations’ societies before colonisation, the severe and devastating impact of colonisation, and the inspiring and impressive collective struggles for justice, land rights and reform that continue to this day. This petition calls for:- First Nations’ History and Culture to be added as a reportable learning area of the F-10 Australian Curriculum- The high-school history curriculum to be adjusted, and updated using the latest research by academics such as Bill Gammage AM, Prof. Lyndall Ryan and Bruce Pascoe, to include a mandatory unit on Ancient Australian Society as part of Year 7, make mandatory the unit on British invasion and its impact on Indigenous people in Year 9 and integrating Indigenous content into all of the depth studies in Year 10- Mandatory and regular training for all educators to equip and empower them to deliver the curriculum with historical accuracy and cultural sensitivity "I grew up only a couple of hours' drive away from some of the oldest human structures in the world (the fish traps in Brewarrina) and didn't even know they existed. The lack of awareness of the incredible sophistication of indigenous history and culture, enabled by our inadequate curriculum, is an injustice and an indictment of our education system.”Tim Arnot, Teacher, MacGregor State High School "Last year, I made the decision to introduce First Nations History and Culture as a part of my weekly timetable. I was humbled by the response of my Prep students. It fast became the highlight of our week and I can honestly say those little five years old students are more culturally aware and enlightened Australian citizens because of this."Emma Birtwistle, Teacher, MacGregor State School

Emma Birtwistle and Tim Arnot
1,079 supporters
Petitioning Scott Morrison, Daniel Tehan

COVID-19 crisis: Lower fees and rental support for International Students in Australia

The COVID-19 crisis is having a devastating effect on Australians as well as international students. Many universities, TAFEs and high schools are already delivering classes online while many international students + international post graduates are losing their jobs due to business closures. We at Study Abroad Insider believe that if an international student has had their income affected by this crisis, the Government must commit to support them at the same urgency as Australian citizens. We are urging PM Scott Morrison and Minister for Education Daniel Tehan to mandate lower tuition fees and rental support for international students during this pandemic. Reduction in tuition fees is a fundamental response given that most classes are delivered online. Online classes are not worth the full fees students initially paid for. Rental support would relieve the financial pressure of international students + international post graduates who rely on their income to pay rent and cover basic living expenses such as health insurance & food. Many are facing the risk of homelessness if they can't pay rent for the upcoming months. The Government must also consider amending VISA conditions & requirements to all international students + international post graduates whose study progress or future visa applications are affected by this pandemic. Despite paying much higher tuition fees and being residents for tax purpose, international students are not getting ANY benefits for residents under the new stimulus package by the Government. With the pandemic being a global issue, their families at home also struggle to help. The current situation has had a very negative impact not only on their educational experiences but also mental health. This is the opportunity for Australian Government & Education Department to reaffirm your reputation as top international education provider. Your action now will show how well you look after international students and will go a long way in making Australia the go-to destination for future students.

Loan K
844 supporters
Petitioning Scott Morrison, Ken Wyatt, Michael McCormack, David Littleproud, Josh Frydenberg, Mathias Cormann, Bridget McKenzie, Marise Payne, Simon Birmingham, Christian Porter, Greg Hunt, Peter Dutton, Danie...

Action for health issues in Indigenous Australian communities

This Invasion Day marks 250 years since discrimination against our First Nation's people began. The first fleet brought violence and disease, decimating Indigenous Australian populations. Indigenous Australians now only make up 2.4% of the Australian population. There are many factors that have lead to this and these are explained in depth bellow, but we want to focus on the solutions needed to bridge the health gap for our Indigenous Australian communities:1. Better psychosocial servicesParticularly in remote Australia to combat the significantly higher rates of mental illness seen in Indigenous Australians2. More funding and researchSpecifically into diseases that impact Indigenous Australians such as HTLV-1 a disease similar to HIV which has a prevalence of up to 45% in central Australian communities.3. Treatments for diseasesDiseases such as strongyloidiasis effect up to 60% of people in Indigenous communities. We have readily available and cost effective treatments for this disease, and yet it hasn't been administered to the communities that need it. This Invasion Day give back to our First Nation's people and help us close the health gap for Indigenous Australian Communities.  #scienceforfirstnations   As scientists we couldn't help but give you all the facts, so keep on reading to bellow for the full break down. Health concerns in Indigenous Australian communitiesResearched by Haylo Roberts, PhD Candidate La TrobeArt: Charlotte Allingham Australia has been occupied by humans for at least 50000 years, during this time over 500 nations of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander’s peoples were established, hereby referred to as Indigenous Australians. Many of these indigenous nations had distinctive cultures, languages, and beliefs. Since the invasion and colonization of Australia by the British only 250 years ago, Indigenous Australian populations have been decimated with an estimated 90% population reduction occurring in the decade following the arrival of the first fleet [1]. The populations that were not destroyed by introduced disease or colonizer violence had either moved inland towards central Australia or already had been settled there. Today, Indigenous Australians make up just 2.4% of the Australian population – however, the burden of disease is heaviest on these Indigenous populations. Indigenous Australians have a life expectancy at birth approximately ten years lower than nonindigenous Australians [2].  This gap is indicative of Australia’s First Peoples being left behind by health initiatives, as well as causative social, environmental and economic factors contributing to poor health outcomes [3]. The World Health Organisation outlined that social policies designed to alleviate the unequal distribution of power, income, goods and services will result in more evenly dispersed outcomes [4]. Health concerns of Indigenous Australians is a multifaceted issue, and to solve we will need impactful policies, targeted research, and data collection for monitoring efforts and reevaluation. Education retention rates are lower for Indigenous Australians, with 55.1% of Indigenous Australian students being retained into year 12 in comparison with 82.9% non-Indigenous Australians [2]. In 2012-13 the unemployment rate for Indigenous Australians was 21%, 4.2 times that of non-Indigenous Australians,  with an overall ratio of Indigenous to non-Indigenous average income of 0.7 [2]. As off the 2011 nationwide census survey, 12.9% of Indigenous Australian households are considered overcrowded in comparison to 3.4% of non-Indigenous households [2]. These inequities are identifiable determinants of health outcomes that need to be addressed as prophylactic measure. Down the line from these social determinants we see higher rates of morbidity and mortality for several diseases. Indigenous Australian adults have a higher rate of cardiovascular disease than non-Indigenous Australians (27% and 21% respectively) and Indigenous Australians have a 50% higher risk of cardiovascular disease mortality compared to non-Indigenous Australians [5, 6]. Indigenous Australians are also 1.1 times more likely to be diagnosed with cancer than non-Indigenous Australians, with a 1.4 times higher mortality rate than non-Indigenous Australians [7].  Comorbidity is also more common in Indigenous Australians, in 2011-2013, 38% of Indigenous adults with cardiovascular disease, diabetes or chronic kidney disease had 2 or more conditions – compared with 26% of non-Indigenous adults [5]. It is worth noting that these stats are for both Indigenous Australians living both remotely and non-remotely, however, the frequency of morbidity and mortality of various diseases is higher in Indigenous Australians living remotely. There is a higher proportion of Indigenous Australians living in remote areas – 21% - compared to non-Indigenous Australians – 2% [2]. In addition to higher frequencies of common diseases in Australia, Indigenous Australians are also afflicted with high rates of neglected diseases that are relatively rare in non-Indigenous Australians. Human T-Lymphotropic Virus Type 1 (HTLV-1) is an oncogenic retrovirus which is implicated in respiratory pathologies, adult T-cell lymphoma, and myelopathy [8]. HTLV-1 is considered the most carcinogenic microorganism to infect humans known, and strikingly some Indigenous Australian communities in central Australia have prevalence of HTLV-1 seropositivity up to 45% [9, 10]. HTLV-1 is transmitted through infected bodily fluids, via breastfeeding, intercourse, sharing of needles, and transfusions / transplants [11]. HTLV-1 infection in central Australia was highly associated with bronchiectasis, for which prevalence rates in Indigenous adults in central Australia are the highest worldwide [12]. Co-endemicity of HTLV-1 and Strongyloides stercoralis, the etiological agent causing strongyloidiasis, is also of concern, as this co-infection can impede treatment efforts for strongyloidiasis and result in higher rates of complicated strongyloidiasis [13, 14]. S. stercoralis is an intestinal nematode uniquely able to complete its life cycle and proliferate within a host, termed autoinfection [14]. Autoinfection occurs continuously however in immunocompromised individuals – such as those coinfected with HTLV-1 – autoinfection is enhanced, resulting in higher larval loads disseminating and more frequent inflammatory responses [14]. Some Indigenous Australian communities have shown S. stercoralis seropositivity rates of up to 60%, well over the threshold for hyperendemicity [15]. In places where HTLV-1 and S. stercoralis are both endemic, such as central Australia, HTLV-1 infection is implicated in a higher prevalence in S. stercoralis infection [13]. In comparison to HTLV-1 there is a readily available treatment for S. stercoralis infection which can be implemented. Ivermectin is an antihelmintic drug used for treatment of several parasitic infections including scabies, onchocerciasis and lymphatic filariasis. Just one dose of ivermectin has been shown to reduce 75% of seropositivity of S. stercoralis in a community [16]. Ivermectin treatment is used worldwide for mass drug administration of neglected tropical diseases, is relatively lost cost, and could serve as a control measure for S. stercoralis in Indigenous communities while the core factors behind the striking frequency of S. stercoralis infection are addressed – namely, overcrowded housing and a lack of functioning toilets [13]. Strongyloidiasis is ultimately a disease of poverty that reflects the inequities and poor socioeconomic situation of Indigenous Australians. HTLV-1 is a neglected disease despite the vast similarities the disease has with HIV, and implementable strategies that could be adapted from long running HIV strategies. 26th of January 2020 marks 250 years since Australia was invaded. As scientists we need to ensure the implementation of policies with Indigenous Australian health at its core and it’s time we start researching and finding ways to improve quality of life for Indigenous Australians.  References 1.         Konishi, S.J.A.H.J., Aboriginal History Journal: Volume 38. 38.2.         AIHW, The health and welfare of Australia's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples 2015, A.I.o.H.a. Welfare, Editor. 2015: Canberra, Australia.3.         Donato, R. and L.J.A.H.R. Segal, Does Australia have the appropriate health reform agenda to close the gap in Indigenous health? 2013. 37(2): p. 232-238.4.         Organization, W.H., Closing the gap in a generation: Health equity through action on the social determinants of health. 2008: World Health Organization.5.         AIHW, Cardiovascular Disease, Diabetes and Chronic Kidney Disease–Australian Facts: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People. 2015, Australian Institute of Health and Welfare Canberra: Canberra, Melbourne6.         Diaz, A., et al., Nexus of Cancer and cardiovascular disease for Australia’s First Peoples. 2020. 6: p. 115-119.7.         Roder, D. and D.J.A.P.J.C.P. Currow, Cancer in aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people of Australia. 2009. 10(5): p. 729-733.8.         Einsiedel, L., et al., Human T-Lymphotropic Virus type 1c subtype proviral loads, chronic lung disease and survival in a prospective cohort of Indigenous Australians. 2018. 12(3): p. e0006281.9.         Einsiedel, L., et al., Human T-Lymphotropic Virus type 1 infection in an Indigenous Australian population: epidemiological insights from a hospital-based cohort study. 2016. 16(1): p. 787.10.       Tagaya, Y. and R.C.J.F.i.m. Gallo, The exceptional oncogenicity of HTLV-1. 2017. 8: p. 1425.11.       Martin, F., Y. Tagaya, and R.J.T.L. Gallo, Time to eradicate HTLV-1: an open letter to WHO. 2018. 391(10133): p. 1893-1894.12.       Einsiedel, L., et al., Bronchiectasis is associated with human T-lymphotropic virus 1 infection in an Indigenous Australian population. 2012. 54(1): p. 43-50.13.       Einsiedel, L. and L.J.I.m.j. Fernandes, Strongyloides stercoralis: a cause of morbidity and mortality for indigenous people in Central Australia. 2008. 38(9): p. 697-703.14.       Carvalho, E. and A.J.P.i. Da Fonseca Porto, Epidemiological and clinical interaction between HTLV‐1 and Strongyloides stercoralis. 2004. 26(11‐12): p. 487-497.15.       Page, W. and R.J.A.f.p. Speare, Chronic strongyloidiasis-Don't look and you won't find. 2016. 45(1/2): p. 40.16.       Kearns, T.M., et al., Strongyloides seroprevalence before and after an ivermectin mass drug administration in a remote Australian Aboriginal community. 2017. 11(5): p. e0005607.

Naomi Koh Belic
637 supporters
Petitioning Daniel Tehan

Extend absence days for families in Victoria lock down suburbs

Federal Education Minister Dan Tehan said centres would be able to waive the gap fee – the difference between the Child Care Subsidy the government pays to a service and the remaining fee owed by the family – from July 13.  The rest of industry extended Job Keeper until March. However Child Care Services has been cut off the job keeper from 20/07/2020 This means Child Care Centres waived the gaps fees for families (free for families) who choose not to attend the Child Care Centres during lock down periods. Child Care Centres still get the Subsidy from the government to remain the Child Care Centres open. However, each child only have 42 absences days. These absences days including the public holidays, holidays or any days they required to be absence. Absence days will update every financial year, now it’s just the beginning of a new financial year.  More and more families concerned about their absence days will be used up. They would love to support Child Care Centres financially but they are worried about their absences days used up then they are not entitle to get CCS anymore. Some families are consider to pull their children out from the enrollment system.  It’s been two weeks since Melbourne lock down. We have been contact different authorities but there is still no outcome regarding to this issue.  Melbourne Child Care Centres are facing challenge. Children’s absence days need to be waived during lock down period. We need a outcome from government urgently. This is something has to be done.  Please sign this petition and support families and Child Care Centres in Victoria.   

Shiqi Wang
494 supporters
Petitioning Daniel Tehan, Andrew Williamson, Brad Hazzard, NSW Health

Postpone School Starting Date

The Coronavirus outbreak has (by conservative estimates) already killed more than 60 people in a very short time. According to reports aired by Channel 9 News on 26/01/2020, the number of confirmed cases to date, has risen to over 90,000 in China alone. Despite the most stringent precautions and preventative measures taken not only by Chinese authorities, but by the international community (it has been labeled a Level ONE emergency in Hong Kong), the Coronavirus has spread to as far as the USA, Canada, Europe as well as Australia where there have so far been 5 confirmed cases. According to some authorities in this subject, because of the incubation period of this virus, it is already too late to stop its spread globally. Furthermore, the Chinese government itself has warned that the virus’ ability to spread is getting stronger. Obviously, the situation is becoming more worrying as schools are commencing this week, and more and more people are returning from their overseas trips, particularly from Asian countries such as Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore and China. 52 direct flights arrived in Australia from China alone on Australia Day, with many more scheduled to arrive daily till further notice. I could not help but keep watching the CWPS app most vigilantly for updates/directions as to what measures the school will be taking to limit any risk of harm to our children. After all, our school is composed of an overwhelmingly large number of Asian students, Chinese in particular. Well, here is part of update on CWPS on 26/01/2020: “..., we request that only those who are close contacts (eg: live in the same household) of confirmed cases of Novel Coronavirus infection should be excluded from school for a period of 14 days since last contact with the case.“ I am glad that the Principal is concerned with what is concerning us, has taken his time sharing his concerns and updates. In the meantime though, I think more caution should be taken: there is enough strong evidence showing that the virus even more contagious than the deadly SARS virus, due to its incubation period (roughly 0-14 days)! In other words, people may feel well on returning to school and may not know that they have been infected and then pass the virus on to people around them. Therefore, the action suggested by Carlingford West Public School, Mr. Williamson, however well intentioned, is insufficient: one does not need to be living with a person with a confirmed case of Novel Coronavirus in order to have been infected- just being near an infected person, breathing their sneezed / coughed out air, touching the same hand rails (as in any airport, airport bus shuttle, etc) is enough to cause infection. As a parent, I cannot bear to even imagine the consequences should such a thing happen to my children! Hence, if it is unlikely for the children returning from overseas (well or unwell) to stay at home for 2 weeks before attending school, I strongly urge the school to delay the commencement date by 2 weeks for ALL children. Regards Year 1 parents Xiaona (Sheona) and Saeid Khayam

Sheona Khayam
301 supporters
Petitioning Daniel Tehan, Michaelia Cash, Greg Hunt, Stuart Robert, Anne Ruston

Time to bring Autism Spectrum Disorder out of the Shadows

My aim is to increase awareness especially Autism Spectrum Disorder in schools and the workplace. I would like to see disability education and more acceptance, within employers and schools Nationwide across Australia. 1 in 70 Australians are on the Autism Spectrum, 40% on the Autism Spectrum are unemployed as of 2018. These figures are alarming yet little is being done to change this. With this knowledge more education within schools and the workplace and society as a whole is required. We acknowledge many disabilities such as blindness, we assist with guide dogs, canes, braille, signalised pedestrian crossings, numerous avenues. Those with hearing impairments, we have hearing aids, bionic ear, sign language, we talk directly to them enabling them to lip read. Those wheelchair bound, we have ramps, lifts, disable toliets to assist them. We have advanced with our knowledge about diabetes, epilepsy, PTSD, Mental Health issues especially suicide and depression, annorexia/bulimia we have successful programs also advanced in many other areas of disabilities or impairments, however autism is still in the shadows, unspoken about. With numbers as high as 1 in 70 Australians, 40% unemployed, these figures show it's time to bring autism out of the shadows and educate about autism spectrum and how it affects those having to live every day in society, what can we as individuals do, in terms of assistance, acceptance, understanding and without judgement. We talk about equal rights, where is the equality for autism and other disorders similar. Many with disabilities are able to function within society with different levels of assistance, but many battle internally, from everyday judgement, having to conform with a normal society, thats not really accepting of everyone. Maybe its time society fits in with the autism spectrum and other disabilities, with acceptance and more knowledge of what we can do assist those not just through funding but by understanding through education through schools, through the workforce and throughout society in general. Lets bring Autism Spectrum Disorder out of the shadows and have some education on all disabilities within society so the judgement stops. Thank you for your support

anne dignam
245 supporters