Home' The Chronicle : Canberra Chronicle 16-02-16 Contents 7 - Tuesday, February 16, 2016
26 - 28 February 2016
Teachers back bid to keep refugees
ACT school teachers take part in the national #LetThemStay campaign calling for 267 refugees at risk of being
returned to Nauru to remain in Australia.
Photo: Jay Cronan
Churches have offered sanctuary to the
267 refugees at risk of being returned
to Nauru due to a failed High Court
challenge and now Australia s teachers
are adding their voices to the political
Groups of teacher across the ACT
took part in a nationwide peaceful
protest by rallying together and
sharing online group photos with
signs saying #LetThemStay,
#standforsanctuary and #educationnot
The first group of ACT educators to
take a stand were from the ANU
Sociology Department, posting
images to Facebook on Wednesday,
and in the afternoon a group of ACT
high school teachers followed suit,
gathering at the foot of Mount Ainslie.
Many of those protesting were
unwilling to identify themselves or the
school where they work.
In a statement an ACT Education
Directorate spokesman reiterated the
duties of teachers to ensure there was
no reasonable perception of conflict
of interest between their private
political opinions/activities and their
ACT public school teachers have a
duty to maintain parliamentary and
public confidence in the integrity,
impartiality and political neutrality of
the ACT Public Service, the
However, teachers are free to
exercise their democratic right to
political expression during their own
time (ie, lunch break) to participate in
an online campaign such as the
AEU ACT spokesman Tom
Greenwell said he was aware of
teachers from high schools, primary
schools and colleges who felt
compelled to take action.
As a profession we have a mission
to advance the welfare of young
people, he said.
It s a spontaneous social media
action that has taken off this
week. We feel it is essential to
make our voice heard and be part of
the massive community conversation
that is taking place.
Mr Greenwell felt navigating the
perception of political partiality in this
case was a non-issue .
Teachers know they have a right,
like everybody else, to express their
opinions but obviously there is a clear
firewall between the political opinions
they express and what they do with
students, he said.
I think it s a good example of
people being able to organise and take
small but meaningful action on an
issue which is of concern to so many.
Major grant for
Nestled on the side of Black Mountain
are the iconic Australian National
When I was younger my parents
would often take our family to the
gardens. I now occasionally take my
children there. Certainly on a hot
summer day the gardens, and in
particular the rainforest walks, are one
of the nicest ways to spend the day.
Last year a master plan for the
gardens was revealed which will
provide the framework for the
gardens visitor experiences,
horticulture and research capabilities
over the next 20 years.
As part of that master plan the
Australian National Botanic Gardens
put forward a proposal to build a
National Conservatory to house some
of the rarest plants species from
around our country.
Last week I was honoured to be part
of an announcement by The Ian Potter
Foundation which will provide the
gardens with a major grant of
$1.5 million, matching Federal
government funds, to help build the
With more than 400,000 people
already visiting the gardens each year
there is no doubt many more will come
to see the rare plants from Australia s
Top End and remote islands.
The grant from the Ian Potter
Foundation is the largest in the
garden s 40-year history and the
foundation should be proud of the
contribution it has made to our
environment and tourism in Canberra.
Botanic Gardens abuzz over new bee hotel
Dr Remko Leijs, Aidan Bavinton, 8, of Maribyrnong Primary School, and
ABC TVs Dirt Girl check out the Australian Native Bee Hotel at the
Australian National Botanic Gardens.
Photo: Jamila Toderas
Canberra already has more than its fair
share of buzzing hotels, but the latest
offering is for much smaller guests --
bees and is likely to be filled with
The timber bee hotel, unveiled at the
Australian National Botanic Gardens
last Thursday, will provide a home for
native bees, allow visitors to see the
insects hard at work and learn more
about their role in the ecosystem.
South Australian Museum
researcher Remko Leijs said Australia
was home to 1650 known species of
bee, many of which can be found in the
Not a lot of people realise that,
everyone knows the honey bee . . . and
there s another 800 estimated
unknown [native] species that need to
be discovered, he said.
Dr Leijs and University of Adelaide
researcher Katja Hogendoorn lent
their expertise to help choose the best
site for the hotel in the garden, in a
shady spot close to lots of flowers.
To attract myriad bee species the
hotel features many different room
decors, including hardwood logs
and mud bricks drilled with holes,
plant stems, fern fronds, and hotel
rooms made from cardboard tubes
packed tight with paper drinking
straws -- the perfect size for a native
bee nest. After choosing a nest the
female will lay eggs and seal them off
into individual brood cells with
leaves, wax, mud or resin, depending
on the species, before closing the nest
entrance and leaving the eggs to
develop and hatch into larvae ready to
eat the pollen and nectar inside.
Other insects are also expected to
check in, including wasps, which as
meat-eaters will keep caterpillars and
spiders at bay, but may also eat their
fellow guests, Dr Hogendoorn said.
When there are bees nesting [the
wasps] will put their larvae in there
and they will eat the bee and the food
of the bee and become an adult, she
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