Who We Are - Why Teach in the Northern Territory

We are the teachers who refuse to be victims of the Northern Territory Education Department, and refuse to break our promise to the Indigenous parents who asked us for help.

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Dr Robert Bartholomew (right), is a sociologist, author and school teacher.  His studies have appeared in dozens of science journals including the British Medical Journal, Medical Journal of Australia, and The Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health. He is the co-author of several critically acclaimed books including, Outbreak! The Encyclopedia of Extraordinary Social Behavior with British Historian Hilary Evans.

Who we are not:

"We are not crusaders, troublemakers or difficult people. We are two teachers who simply sought to uphold our duty of care obligations which are required of us by law, and to maintain basic standards of human health and safety - the same as we would have if we had been at a 'white' school."



The Bartholomew family: Wife Zalina, and children Emerson, Jacques and Jamilah Bartholomew, who were punished by the Education Department after raising embarassing issues of health and safety.

Indigenous teaching staff head Lucy Tanami (left) and Dorothy Dickson (right) of the Alekarenge School in Ali-Curung, Central Australia, hold hands with Dr Bartholomew as a show of support for his efforts to uncover the asbestos threat at the school (April 2008).

Standing in solidarity for answers on asbestos. Robert Bartholomew and his wife hold hands with the indigenous female teaching staff at Ali-Curung, and then Aboriginal Community Police Officer Gwen Brown.  

With Territory Opposition Leader Terry MillsTerritory Opposition Leader Terry Mills meets with us at Parliament in Darwin after calling for an investigation, which was to be a sham as DET didn’t even interview us or look at our evidence!  This is a slap in the face to democratic government. 

Question for Terry Mills:  "Why aren't you renewing your call for an investigation -- this time a transparent one? "

If you respond, we will post your response on this website.  We've put our careers on the line for this, we think it's the least you can do.

We now call for a transparent federal investigation into our blacklisting after raising health and safety issues at Alekarenge School and the sabotaging of our careers.  There is only one thing stopping this much-needed probe:  political will.  We also want the answer to this question:  Six days after sending an urgent request to then Education Minister Marion Scrymgour, who ordered Sheila Day to send a letter to Immigration stating that they would no longer offer my wife and I any teaching jobs?  How could this happen even before an investigation was undertaken and without our knowledge? 


Would you send your child to this school?

Does DET care about Indigenous students?  A picture tells a thousand words.  Below is a photo of one NT Homelands school as provided by Helen Hughes.

They don't show you this on the Teaching in the Territory website.

Mirrngatja Homeland Learning Centre 2008
Exterior photograph of a Homeland Learning Centre, taken in 2008

Would you send your kid to this Learning Centre?  So why do Indigenous students have to attend?

Former principals George and Robyn Hewittson took this photo of a Homeland Learning Centre and observe that the Homeland Centre Wikipedia entry for Northern Territory HLCs is blocked on the NT DET intranet site.  It simply says:  "blocked deemed to be of no educational value."  This picture - and DET's censorship of the site, speaks volumes. 



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