Bad Apple Bullies

Bad Apple Bully school principals and departmental officers can bully Australian teachers into ill health - and out of work!

The Queensland Teachers Union - if you are bullied at work, will they support you?

The Queensland Teachers Union ( QTU ) have known since at least July 2002 that Queensland classroom teachers are being bullied out of work.


How long are the QTU going to allow this situation to continue?

When will the QTU take some action to protect their members?


When will the Queensland Teachers Union launch a class action against the Queensland Government, for their failure to -

  • take reasonable care for the health and safety of Queensland classroom teachers,
  • and to provide and maintain a safe working environment?


"The QTU are seeing more and more members, who are the victims of bullying and harassment, retiring on the grounds of ill-health, unable to comprehend what has happened to them."

The Webmaster of Bad Apple Bullies sat down with the (then) Minister of Education -  Anna Bligh on 23 June 2002 and told her that , when Queensland teachers were bullied, the Queensland Teachers Union's only advice was to "accept the things you cannot change" because-

  • the Education Queensland Grievance process did not work.

  • they had never known a teacher's Grievance to be upheld.

  • people who "fought it" became mentally and physically ill.

  • there was no hope of justice.

One month later, on 25 July, 2002 the Queensland Teachers' Union admitted that "more and more" Queensland teachers were being bullied out of work - 

"... With the average age of the teacher workforce now into the late forties, the union is seeing more and more members, who are the victim of bullying and harassment, retiring on the grounds of ill-health out of the workforce, unable to comprehend what has happened to them.

Some of those members had exhausted all avenues open to them to no avail. ..."


  • Bullying - Beyond a joke, Leah Mertens, officer responsible for WH&S issues, p.13, Queensland Teachers' Journal, 25 July 2002. 

Ask your Local Queensland Teachers Union organiser-

What have the Queensland Teachers Union done about workplace bullying in Queensland schools since 23 June 2002?

Are fewer Queensland teachers being driven out of work in 2015?

Dr Dan Riley and Professor Deidre Duncan : workplace bullying is 'rife' in Queensland schools.

In 2007, five years later, Dr Dan Riley of the University of New England and Professor Deidre Duncan from the Australian Catholic University surveyed more than 800 teachers in government, Catholic and independent schools.

They found that workplace bullying was 'rife' in schools in Queensland.

The most serious findings were

99.8% of teachers reported that they had been bullied at school by fellow teachers, principals or parents.

More than 90% of teachers reported that they had been bullied by colleagues.

83% of teachers said their concerns about unfair treatment, bullying and harassment had been dismissed.

91% of teachers said their mental or physical health had suffered.

A growing number of experts believe bullying is now more common between staff in schools than it is between students. 

According to survey responses the bullies - in order - are -

  • school executive staff,
  • colleagues,
  • principals
  • parents

Survey boss Dan Riley of the University of New England described the results as "frightening"-

We didn't expect to find what we did - we have a problem - teachers are not happy and we believe this is very serious."

"Government schools are not very attentive to bullying."

"Claims made (by bullied teachers) often take a long time to be investigated or are ignored altogether," Dan Riley said.



Ask your Queensland Teachers Union  organiser -

What have the QTU been doing about workplace bullying in Queensland schools since this research was released in November 2007?

Are fewer Queensland teachers being driven out of work in 2015?


Steve Ryan, QTU President, was quoted by the ABC on Saturday June 21, 2008 -

"As an employer, Education Queensland has a responsibility under the Workplace Health and Safety Act, and if any of those responsibilities are being breached then the department certainly does run the risk of being sued for liability."

Steve said that the Education Department should ensure that QTU members and Queensland students are safe at schools.


The Bad Apple Bullies Webmaster comments :

OK, Steve, if Education Queensland runs the risk of being sued for liability when it is in breach of its responsibilities under the Workplace Health and Safety Act, tell us how many of the 99.8% of Queensland teachers who reported that they had been bullied at school by fellow teachers, principals or parents were given QTU legal advice and support?

Let's have the figures.

Or are bullied teachers all just told that their case is "complex" and that the QTU does not feel sure that they are being bullied?

And how many of those 99.8% of Queensland teachers are being driven to breakdown and into ill health retirement?



Former Queensland union boss and now Member for Brisbane Central Grace Grace said that the 2008 Labour Day march in Brisbane was "all about celebration."

"We have much to be proud of,'' said Queensland premier Anna Bligh.

"This year it's a celebration of a new government and a new era of workers." said Steve Mason, the president of the Queensland Branch of the Comunication Workers Union,

"Today we're a lot less angry than last year.

"We're showing the warm and fuzzy side of the union movement this year."


Actually, Mr Mason,  the Bad Apple Bullies webmaster is still feeling pretty fed up.

She, too, used to march proudly on May Day.

Till she was bullied at work.

And the Queensland Teachers' Union just told her to "accept the things you cannot change".

And the ACTU told her that workplace bullying was endemic in Australia and that unions could not afford to support the numbers of union members who were being bullied.


You have to wonder what there is for Australian union members to celebrate.

What is the point of being in a union if that union passively facilitates workplace bullying?

The union have become part of the problem.

This is the reality for Queensland's teachers.

The Webmaster of Bad Apple Bullies is  a Queensland teacher who has been Dealing With The Mob for more than seven years -

When I was bullied in November 2000, the immediate advice of the Queensland Teachers' Union was that I should "accept the things you cannot change".

The QTU organiser told me that there was no hope of justice because the Education Queensland Grievance process did not work, and the organiser had never known a teacher's Grievance to be upheld.

Several other QTU officers later agreed that this was good advice, based on their own long experience with the department.

I could not believe that this was true.

I had spent many, many hours in the local community, lobbying on behalf of the Labor party. 

I had always been an active member of the Queensland Teachers' Union.

I believed in Education Queensland and in the Queensland Government.

I simply could not believe what I was being told about the Labor Party, the Queensland Teachers' Union, the Department of Education and the Queensland Government.

I believed that I could get justice.

But, seven and a half years later, I realise that the QTU organiser was telling me the truth.

My hope now is that, by exposing the strategies used by Bad Apple Education Queensland administrators and Queensland public servants to bully and mob Queensland teachers, I may be able to shame the Queensland Government into taking action to deal with the problem of workplace bullying in Queensland schools. 

To this date, 13 July 2015, I have seen no evidence of any change in the culture.

The documents that I have found under Freedom Of Information (FOI) demonstrate that the Education Queensland Bad Apples who attacked me have developed no insight into their bullying.

They have shown no remorse.

They have made no committment to change.

I am particularly disgusted by the fact that members and supporters of my local branches of the Labor party did this to me, knowing that it would be very difficult for me, a Labor party activist, to complain about their behaviour- because their attack on me took place during the "run up" to the February 2001 state election.

The people who bullied me are also members of my own union - the Queensland Teachers' Union.

And members of other unions - mainly, I presume, the Queensland Public Sector Union (QPSU) - have either actively participated in the mobbing or passively allowed the mobbing to continue.


So these union members earn their living by (actively or passively) facilitating the abuse of their fellow union members.

I have struggled for many years to believe this situation.

This is not what I was expecting of the Labor party or the Union movement.


Your rights at work are worth fighting for.

You just do not expect to have to fight your union.

How teacher and academic unions "let down bullied union members".

Bullied Academics have published an interesting cartoon that explains the double-whammy way in which teacher and academic unions "let down bullied union members":

1) When you are bullied you are refused help because the union tell you that it is a "member versus member issue" and the union will not help union members who are "in dispute with" (being bullied by) other union members.

2) But when your complaint about the workplace bullying is eventually investigated, the union help the bully.

Because the bully has been accused of official misconduct.

And the union will help members who have been accused of official misconduct.

To see the cartoon in full:

The Queensland Crime and Misconduct Commission ( CMC ) are critical of some Queensland public service unions.

20 October 2009


In their recent submission to Anna Bligh's Green Paper on Integrity, the Queensland Crime and Misconduct Commission ( CMC ) made several comments concerning Queensland public service unions.


The CMC said that some unions which have coverage over government employees do not generally have codes of conduct or other ethical frameworks which govern their actions or set standards for their behaviour or provide them with guidance when ethical dilemmas arise.

The CMC said that -

while the members of these unions are bound by the relevant agency Code of Conduct, paid officials of the unions are not.


And the CMC said that -

"it would be "advantageous to the relationship between these bodies and the government and its agencies that the unions should voluntarily develop ethical frameworks".


And that voluntary codes or ethical frameworks could provide useful assistance and guidelines for union organisers,

especially in dealing with grievances, disputes and disciplinary matters where the interests of one union member may be in conflict with the interests of another,

or with the interests of the majority of members in the workplace or in general.

And that -

the union's duty to support and protect a member accused of misconduct should not lead it to sacrifice the interests of other members affected by the alleged misconduct.

And that -

while support should certainly be provided to union members as a right -

partisan, energetic and vocal defence of members who are proven to be dishonest or unethical can severely damage the public perception of the ethical conduct of all members.

So, when you next speak to a Queensland Teachers' Union Organiser, you might want to ask them -

  • Does the Queensland Teachers Union have a Code of Conduct for QTU organisers?
  • If not, what do QTU organisers do when a principal bullies a classroom teacher?
  • Who do QTU organisers help, the bully principal or the bullied classroom teacher?
  • Why?
  • Who will help me if I am bullied at work?


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