Andrews accused of hypocrisy and bullying over weight joke

andrew katis mpDaniel Andrews has been accused of hypocritical and bullying behaviour after appearing to joke about an MP’s weight.

Andrew Katos, the Liberal MP who represents the electorate of South Barwon, has also accused the premier of mocking Opposition Leader Matthew Guy over his height.

A day after Labor front bencher Wade Noonan returned to work after battling a mental health issue, Mr Katos said he had struggled with weight issues his whole life, and Mr Andrews’ comment had made him feel “awful”.

“I know I’m a big guy, and I’ve had problems with my weight,” Mr Katos told Fairfax Media. “I’ve had that all my life. It is something that has always played on my mind and at times has got me down in the dumps.”

Mr Katos claims to have asked a serious question about crime in his electorate, to which Labor MPs were heard to interject: “We didn’t see that coming”.

At this point, Mr Katos said Mr Andrews chipped in and said: “First time anyone has said they didn’t see him coming”.

Mr Andrews’ office offered no response to the claims before deadline.

Mr Guy said anti-bullying programs in schools to teach kids to respect everyone were important but were undermined when the premier himself makes personal comments about another MP’s weight.

Parliament can be a robust environment, but generally personalised attacks are seen as out of line.

Mr Guy himself drew fire this week for sarcastically saying members of Melbourne’s Apex gang would be “quaking” following the appointment of Lisa Neville as Police Minister.

Labor MPs were quick to accuse Mr Guy of misogyny, while Mr Andrews said the opposition leader’s  comments did him no credit.

Mr Katos said Mr Guy has also been the butt of Mr Andrews’ personal attacks, claiming the premier repeatedly referred to him as a “you little man”.

“That’s the sort of thing you expect from a school yard bully not the premier,” he said.  “You don’t expect that from the leader of the state. He is the premier of this state who is preaching about tolerance and equality and all manner of things in that vein, and yet he comes out and says comments like that.” To read more click here.

Students become film-makers to share bullying stories

Using interactive ways to share bullying stories is a good way for peers to learn from one other.

With the use of film making technology, children have a creative and fun way to express their feelings, ideas, words and stories as a platform to be heard.

Film making is a great medium for children who are perhaps too shy to speak publicly about their bullying experience, but they can film their story or interpretation of bullying in their own time and space and with the right support.

Katie Barry from The BULLY Project has been visiting schools on what is known as ‘Adobe Days’ so students can learn how to use video software and make videos about bullying to be shared on the Bully Project Mural.

The BULLY project is the social action campaign inspired by the award-winning film BULLY. To read more about the project click here. Below is a video by students at Tuggerah Lakes Secondary College, NSW.

A particular concern at the recent No 2 Bullying Conference on the Gold Coast was cyber bullying which has also become a real issue for students.

Cyber bullying is often less noticeable than physical bullying but the effects can often be more damaging to mental health.

At Interrelate, to raise awareness of the issue of cyberbullying and to assist schools in identifying and addressing these bullying behaviours, they are running a Youth Symposium – Festival of Films Competition for High Schools.

Right now students can enter a film about cyber bullying into the film competition being offered by Interrelate.

Interrelate is a non-profit organisation passionate about tackling bullying and giving young people a voice.

Building on the success of their Anti-bullying Poster Competition for NSW Primary Schools, they have expanded their community education program to include High Schools through the medium of film.

The aim of the competition is to raise awareness of the issue of cyberbullying and to give young people an opportunity to share their ideas. CLICK HERE to read more about the cyber bullying film competition. The film competition closes on 27th May.

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A showcase of talent at the STAAR Awards Dinner

STAAR Award Winners of Cyber Smart Award Karla Sanders and Kerryn Tubbs with Conference Chair Sharlene Chadwick

STAAR Award Winners of Cyber Smart Award Karla Sanders and Kerryn Tubbs with Conference Chair Sharlene Chadwick

The STAAR awards dinner held on Monday night as part of the No 2 Bullying Conference was a showcase of talent by the winners who presenting their Bullying Prevention and Management programs that landed them the awards.

The Healthier Workplace Award went to Dr Annmaree Wilson, Senior Clinical Psychologist, Cranaplus Bush Support Services for a Remote Health Workplace Bullying App.

The App provides the latest information on bullying is easy to use and offers a direct link to help and support and is packed with useful strategies.

Annmaree invested many hours of research and professional external consultation in the early development stages.

The App created such a buzz at the event it was even being downloaded amongst peers around the dinner table to be used in a variety of workplaces.

Karla Sanders, Project Facilitator and Kerryn Tubbs from Sticks ‘n’ Stones presented their project which encourages young people to take the lead in taking positive action online.

The School Action Groups they are running to reduce cyber bullying landed them as the well-deserved winner of the Cyber Smart Award.

They have five local schools each with school action groups in place enabling students to be a part of creating a more positive cyber climate and have successfully piloted two Year 8 ambassador programmes.

The programmes enable Primary Schools to focus on preventative work around ‘Digital Citizenship’ and learn positive assertive responses to conflict or bullying as well as un understanding of the impacts bullying has.

At just 17, founding member of Sticks ’n Stones Kerryn Tubbs is also a Youth Member of Parliament and has worked with the Ministry Of Justice as well as Facebook and Google where her maturity and creativity have been positively recognised.

The Stop School Bullying Award went to Jenny Johnson, Founder of Brainstorm Productions for their creative and fun educational theatre programs which give children strategies to cope with aggressive behaviour and resolving conflict.

The theatre performances help children to learn practical strategies to achieve emotional balance and make positive connections at school and online and deliver an interactive way to address resilience and emotional wellbeing.

Conference Chair Sharlene Chadwick presented the winners with a trophy and a certificate of recognition.

No 2 Bullying Conference ended on a ‘high note’

no2bullying awards dinnerThe No 2 Bullying Conference ended on a high with keynote speaker Keith Parry from Western Sydney University who spoke on kicking out racism and discrimination in sport and discussed why bullying in sport has become so normalised.

He said; “Maltreatment of sports persons can impact self-esteem and performance and lead to dis-engagement from social media and even retirement from public life.

It’s not enough to just not boo” said Keith.

The conference was attended by a positive blend of 135 academics, researchers, authors, psychologists, consultants and support workers who shared a common goal to seek changes and tools to make a difference in the realm of bullying in schools, workplaces and cyberspace.

The general consensus is that we need to be ever changing on the issue of bullying. While we will never be able to eradicate it, we can always manage it more effectively. The nature of bullying will keep shifting and so the solutions will need to change along with it.

As Einstein once said; “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them”. Continuing to have discussions and changing the way we think about bullying will always evolve as will the research we do around it.

There was a shared view of “Co-creation and evaluation” as mentioned by Associate Professor Jane Burns, Young and Well CRC. One example is involving students and workers in the creation of programs with a shared outcome in mind and then a shared evaluation of the program to help ensure it is effective.

Teaching emotional resilience and creating a generation of upstanders will help those who are bullied to ride the waves of adversity rather than being pulled under by the torrent.

There is also an evident need to return to a “sense of cilvilness” as mentioned by Children’s eSafety Commissioner Alistair MacGibbon. We somehow seemed to have lost this along the way particularly with the transition from the schoolyard and workplace to the online environment.

Bringing back this sense of civility will help us determine what is right from wrong, what is acceptable and unacceptable behaviour in a variety of situations.

Everyone who attended the conference contributed towards the platform of discussion on bullying. Feedback from delegates and speakers was positive and practical tools and programs were taken away to be put in place.

“It’s mostly about respect” said one of the delegates.

No 2 Bullying Conference off to a flying start

Alistair McGibbonThe No 2 Bullying Conference was off to a flying start with Children’s eSafety Commissioner Alistair MacGibbon who spoke on protecting children from cyber bullying: new legislation, current trends and the latest in online safety education.

Alistair said “If we view the Internet as a public place, or a series of public places there are acceptable standards of behaviour for how one behaves in each place”.

“We see the Internet as no different and children should be offered the same level of protection than a public place. There is a rule of civil society and law” said Alistair.

Associate Professor Jane Burns from the Young and Well Cooperative spoke on digital resilience and taking a ‘co-creation’ and ‘evaluation’ approach and how getting young people involved is important for the research and development of new tools.

Assistant Commissioner Luke Cornelius said although the VEOHRC report revealed 50% had experienced bullying or harassment within the Victorian Police work force, only 11% came forward to report an incident.

He said “Changing the reporting process for harassment and bullying is what we need to do so more victims will come forward with their complaints”.

Sophie Henshaw of Henshaw Consulting presented on ‘seven mindfulness methods’ and offered a personal perspective taking delegates through a seven point process on how a person can manage them self by adopting a positive thought process to work through a situation of bullying or harassment.

“Where thoughts go, energy flows” said Sophie.

Rob Nairn said “The negative behaviour in schools is growing but whilst it is decreasing in the school yard, it is increasing rapidly online”.

“We need more creative ways and new pro-active ways to manage bullying today”.

He said “Schools, parents, government and the community need to work together”.

The 4th National No 2 Bullying Conference; Creating a generational change towards bullying: principle and practice examines bullying in schools, workplaces and cyberspace continues tomorrow.

The conference is held at the Mantra on View Hotel, Gold Coast. There is still a chance to register for the conference as a day delegate, to register for the conference CLICK HERE.

Hosted by The Australia and New Zealand Mental Health Association the theme ‘Creating a generational change towards bullying: principle and practice’ will highlight the importance and impact of learning life skills in younger years to effectively deal with, and combat bullying, and to enable the application of these skills into future working life .

CLICK HERE to view the conference program.

Using Facebook to name and shame bullies could jeopardise a criminal investigation

no 2 bullying

When a bystander or family friend gets involved to stand up against a victim of bullying it can help the bully be identified and dealt with.

However, if that friend posts pictures of the bullies on Facebook or other social media platforms to help find them, police have warned it could jeopardise a criminal investigation.

In Christ Church police are appealing for caution when using social media after two teenagers were named and shamed for bullying a 13 year old girl. The girls glasses had been broken and an earing ripped from her ear. She had also had her pony tail cut off by one boy in class.

In a news report by Emily Murphy, Crime Manager Detective Superintendent Tim Anderson said;

“We are aware that more members of the public are turning to those channels [social media] to help identify offenders, solve crimes and gain information”,

However, “social posts could also jeopardise a criminal investigation and any subsequent court process that may take place”.

The family friend who shared the post said she had “no regrets” about posting the photos of her alleged attackers, which were shared 800 times, and received over 1000 likes.

She was phoned by a police officer in Blenheim to remove the post, after the father of one of the alleged bullies approached the station with his concerns.

“He didn’t want to press charges but he wanted the photo removed”, said the friend, who complied with the police request. To read more click here.

School bullying will be discussed next week at the 4th National No 2 Bullying Conference; Creating a generational change towards bullying: principle and practice.

The conference examines bullying in schools, workplaces and cyberspace and will be held on 18 – 19 April 2016 at the Mantra on View Hotel, Gold Coast. To register for the conference CLICK HERE.

Hosted by The Australia and New Zealand Mental Health Association the theme ‘Creating a generational change towards bullying: principle and practice’ will highlight the importance and impact of learning life skills in younger years to effectively deal with, and combat bullying, and to enable the application of these skills into future working life.

To view the conference program CLICK HERE.

Geelong Mayor accused of bullying or is he just an autocrat?

no to bullying darryn lyons mayorIn a recent inquiry into Geelong Council this week it has found the mayor Darryn Lyons has been accused of bullying and the report has exposed a culture of bullying and harassment within Geelong Council.

In a news report by 7 News, the mayor says he’s been unfairly singled out in a damning report and has defended his behaviour by insisting: “I’m bullish – I am not a bully.” He said his approach was robust and forthright and that is one of the reasons he was democratically elected.

He said there had been a culture of bullying throughout the organisation dating back 20 years – well before he became mayor three years ago. To read more at The Age click here.

Evidently his style of managing staff is autocratic which raises the question of whether an autocratic style of management is used as an excuse to be a bully.

Usually when it comes to management styles it’s up to the manager to decide what approach to use as they were recruited for their ability to get results.

A common preference of a management style among workers might be democratic or bureaucratic or even laissez-faire which may give employees a sense of empowerment and fulfilment and encourage creativity and innovation but these styles do not suit everyone.

So is the old fashioned autocratic style appropriate or just an excuse to be a bully?

This dictatorial management style used by Hitler and Stalin goes back many years and was a style that in the past was acceptable and people either thrived or survived working under strict authority and under close scrutiny.

The autocratic style is still commonly used today but is there a fine line between autocratic and being abusive towards staff?

Another example is Alex Ferguson, previous manager of Manchester United Football team dubbed as one of the greatest and most successful soccer managers of all time. In a past interview with the Guardian he admitted to being aggressive and said “If anyone steps out of my control, that’s them dead” but most people accepted that that was the way he managed his team and the team thrived under his control.

The late Apple chief executive Steve Jobs said this style of leadership is essential for achieving results.

Work place bullying will be discussed next week at the 4th National No 2 Bullying Conference; Creating a generational change towards bullying: principle and practice.

The conference examines bullying in schools, workplaces and cyberspace and will be held on 18 – 19 April 2016 at the Mantra on View Hotel, Gold Coast. There is still time to register for the conference CLICK HERE.

Keynote speaker announcement: Deputy President Ingrid Asbury, Fair Work Commission on resolving work place disputes

Ingrid AsburyBeing bullied at work doesn’t necessarily end there. Sometimes the intimidation, bullying and harassment can go as far as being fired for no good reason.

If a worker loses their job and the dismissal has nothing to do with their conduct or performance then ultimately they have been a victim of unfair dismissal.

We are pleased to announce Deputy President Ingrid Asbury, Fair Work Commission as a keynote speaker at the 4th National No 2 Bullying Conference; Creating a generational change towards bullying: principle and practice which will be held next week on 18 – 19 April 2016 at the Mantra on View Hotel, Gold Coast.

Deputy President Ingrid Asbury will speak on ‘Resolving disputes in the Fair Work Commission’.

The Fair Work Commission is Australia’s national workplace relations tribunal responsible for maintaining a safety net of minimum wages and employment conditions, as well as a range of other workplace functions and regulation.

It is a place where employees and employers can go, to resolve a matter of bullying or unfair dismissal.

Their initiatives work towards improving: fairness and access to justice, accountability, innovation and timeliness, and supporting workplace productivity through engagement with industry.

Deputy President Ingrid Asbury holds Presidential appointments to the Fair Work Commission and the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal, and is Chairperson of the Northern Territory Police Arbitral Tribunal.

The Deputy President currently has responsibility for the Meat, Coal and Mining, Sugar and Electrical Power industries in Queensland. The Deputy President is admitted as a Legal Practitioner of the Supreme Court of Queensland and holds the degrees of Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Laws.

Prior to her appointment to the Fair Work Commission, Deputy President Asbury was a Commissioner of the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission, National Industry Group Manager, Senior Industrial Officer and Industrial Officer of the Australian Industry Group and Metal Trades Industry Association.

The conference examines bullying in schools, workplaces and cyberspace and will be held on 18 – 19 April 2016 at the Mantra on View Hotel, Gold Coast. To register for the conference CLICK HERE.

Hosted by The Australia and New Zealand Mental Health Association the theme ‘Creating a generational change towards bullying: principle and practice’ will highlight the importance and impact of learning life skills in younger years to effectively deal with, and combat bullying, and to enable the application of these skills into future working life.

To view the conference program CLICK HERE.

Melbourne school takes action after parents bully teachers online

cyberbullying1You often hear news about children being bullied at school but not usually teachers being cyber bullied by parents.

Parents have been flagged and pulled up on their inappropriate comments and behaviour on social media sites in a Melbourne school.

In a news article by the Herald Sun, Ellissa Doherty reports on how schools have had teachers defamed on Facebook and offensive and obscene language used against them.

Cyber safety expert Susan McLean said one primary school has taken action by sending a letter home to parents letting them know it is not acceptable to make defamatory remarks on social media.

“They were talking about the quality of teaching, defaming people, using obscene language,” she said.

“The principal rang one of the parents to tell them to stop, and they turned around and told them to ‘f’ off.

“We are seeing more and more of totally inappropriate, disrespectful behaviour online. People think it’s harmless fun but it can ruin a teacher’s life, and what kind of message is it sending to their children?”

She said the issue started with students criticising school staff on the Rate My Teacher website but had mushroomed in the past couple of years, with parents even bullying students.

Parents were setting up Facebook sites with the school’s names and using them as venting forums, which could go too far.

“They are taking their issues to Facebook rather than the principal,” she said.

Another Melbourne school has even resorted to firing off legal letters.

Victorian Association of State Secondary Principals Judy Crowe said teachers did not feel they could defend themselves online due to professional standards and had to cop the attacks, unless it was serious defamation or threats.

“It’s not fair and does mean you have to be incredibly thick-skinned so you don’t get demoralised. Often people feel comfortable on social media saying something they wouldn’t be prepared to say to someone directly, and it may be untrue.” To read more click here.

Cyber bullying will be discussed in depth next week at the 4th National No 2 Bullying Conference; Creating a generational change towards bullying: principle and practice to be held on 18 – 19 April 2016 at the Mantra on View Hotel, Gold Coast.

With some amazing keynote speakers there is still time to be involved in this important event addressing Bullying Policy, Prevention and Management Strategies in schools, workplaces and cyberspace.

To register for the conference CLICK HERE.

Bullying and harrassment inquiry into NSW Fire and Rescue to be kept private

harassment and bullying NSW fire and rescueA recent independent inquiry into bullying and harassment within Fire and Rescue NSW has been completed but it’s been reported that the outcome will be kept from public. The question we ask is why?

Can the findings be any worse than the VEOHRC Review into sex discrimination and sexual harassment in the Victorian Police force?

How does it compare to the history of reported abuse, harassment and other unsavoury incidents within the ranks of the Australian Defence Force?

Why won’t the Bullying and harassment report within Fire and Rescue NSW be made public and on what basis are they keeping the information confidential?

It also poses the question as to how long the outcome of the inquiry will remain hush hush a secret and details unknown. How can lessons be learnt?

Here is an excerpt from an article by Cydonee Mardon, published on the Illawarra Mercury website this morning which says;-

Emergency Services Minister David Elliott said letters were being prepared to all complainants – including Illawarra firefighters – to advise them of the outcome of the review.

The investigation was launched in October last year after firefighters from the Illawarra and across NSW contacted the Mercury with signed statutory declarations detailing their allegations.

They ranged from allegations of discrimination and intimidation to sexual harassment and bullying.

While Mr Elliott refused to conduct a full parliamentary inquiry, he agreed to the independent investigation.

Shellharbour MP Anna Watson announced in Parliament that Commissioner Greg Mullins had agreed to the fresh probe. She described it at the time as a breakthrough for more than a dozen men and women whose ‘’disturbing allegations’’ had fallen on deaf ears.

This week Mr Elliott told the Mercury: “Given the report contains confidential and sensitive information about the complainants and FRNSW staff members, I do not consider it appropriate to release the report.”

Ms Watson said she hoped the review would draw a line under ‘’some very disturbing allegations of bullying and harassment claims within Fire &Rescue NSW’’.

“I understand that some of the individuals whose cases have been reviewed will be satisfied with the outcome, while others may not be,’’ she said.

“The bottom line is that every employee in the private and public sector are entitled to work free from any bullying and harassment”. To read more click here.

Assistant Commissioner Luke Cornelius who leads the Victorian Police response to the VEOHRC Review into sex discrimination and sexual harassment among Victorian Police personnel and Rob Cornall AO who is Chair of the Defence Abuse Response Taskforce are both keynote speakers at the 4th National No 2 Bullying Conference; Creating a generational change towards bullying: principle and practice.

The conference examines bullying in schools, workplaces and cyberspace and will be held on 18 – 19 April 2016 at the Mantra on View Hotel, Gold Coast. To register for the conference CLICK HERE.

Hosted by The Australia and New Zealand Mental Health Association the theme highlights the importance and impact of learning life skills in younger years to effectively deal with, and combat bullying, and to enable the application of these skills into future working life.