We believe that most DET employees are honest, hardworking Australians who believe in a fair go. Put yourself in our shoes and ask – ‘What would you have done differently?’ Our letters and phone calls were polite and respectful. We followed the proper chain of command, all the way up to the Education Minister – who was too busy to meet with us about serious issues of health, safety and blacklisting. What more could we have done?
In our 9 April 2008 letter to Marion Scrymgour, we wrote:
"We want an internal investigation to determine how this situation was allowed to occur. There are many good people in the Education Department. We want to maintain the good public image of the Department and we want this issue to be mutually resolved in a quiet and just manner."
At the time we contacted Marion Scrymgour, DET still had not sent an inspector to the school to check on the asbestos situation after promising to do so promptly. After waiting 63 days, an inspector was sent there just two days after our claims appeared in the media.
We believe that most DET employees care about the health, safety and educational outcomes of Territory children – be them black or white. The worrisome aspect of our blacklisting and the sabotaging of our careers, is that many DET employees are involved. We think they were dutifully following orders, believing what they were told was grounded in reality and supported in writing. If they can do this to us – anyone can be blacklisted for any reason: race, colour, creed, gender, looks. You now have the facts before you – and if they are not true – we challenge DET to sue us. If you believe what happened to us and the Indigenous people of Ali-Curung is a moral outrage and an affront to justice, we challenge you to support us. Is this the system you want? Unless you take a stand – you forfeit your right to criticise the system – for this is your opportunity to effect meaningful change.