Val Kerrison email to Andrew Stoner Member for Oxley (Material also referenced in Kerrison Affidavits)
31 March 2003
Subject: Re Aboriginal Students
One of the areas of concern from this case has been the treatment of Aboriginal students at Kempsey College. Treatment apparently applied to Aboriginal students in the Djigay Centre of Excellence in Aboriginal Education and mainstream courses - but not to the non-indigenous students.
Attached are excerpts from the Hearing regarding this.
Through all these years the plight of the Aboriginal students has seemed to be ignored. Those who ignore it are seemingly looked after by the system; they keep their jobs, get promoted, are not scurrilously defamed. Dr Willmott was NCI TAFE Director from approx August 1994 through for some years including through the 'HealthQuesting' atrocity and since. Dr Willmott has now reached the height of Acting Managing Director TAFE, so this is still under his responsibilities.
Andrew, I hope you also are concerned for the Aboriginals. If so, would you make your own inquiries to Dr Willmott personally?
Do you wonder if it is still the practice to send letters to terminate the Aboriginal students from their class if they miss a few lessons?
For years TAFE have had in their possession letters written by Aboriginal students re their treatment . This includes one by Mr Michael Smith 27 November 1994 (Exhibit 3.15).
Don often sees Michael and Michael still comments that TAFE have never approached him!!
Andrew, Michael's letter is among the material I previously supplied to you.
Seemingly the Aboriginal students were just swept under the carpet, left without education, perhaps thinking they could not fit in with TAFE education.
Andrew, would you write/fax Dr Willmott about this? I have attached some of the transcripts for your information. Perhaps the following might fill in some gaps.
Dr Gary Willmott
Acting Director General
TAFE Education Services
Fax: 9561 8188
Re: Industrial Relations Commission Matter 3124/2000 Valda June Kerrison v NSW Technical and Further Education.
Regarding the evidence given by Mrs Kerrison in the Industrial Relations Commission, including that in the Court Transcripts at 171-173 and 347-350:
Was there in place a facility whereby TAFE could arbitrarily terminate Aboriginal students from their tuition if they missed some classes?
Did Dr Willmott ever inquire into Mrs Kerrison's reporting re Kempsey TAFE sending letters to Aboriginal students telling them they were no longer in their TAFE or Djigay course because they had missed some classes?
If Dr Willmott never made inquiries into this, would he please do so now, and confirm to you [Mr Stoner] that he is following this up?
If Kempsey TAFE did not ever summarily terminate Aboriginal students, when did Dr Willmott make those inquiries, and to whom?
If Kempsey TAFE did ever send such letters, does this still occur?
If it does still occur, should it cease?
If Kempsey TAFE did ever send such letters but stopped, when did this occur and how did it come about, and were the Aboriginal students contacted?