Queensland teachers to strike over asylum seekers
QUEENSLAND teachers plan to walk out of classrooms next week to attend an asylum seeker protest.
The walkout has sparked a slapdown from Federal Education Minister Dan Tehan, who said parents expected teachers who were paid to teach to "actually teach".
The Queensland Teachers Union will back any teachers who want to walk off the job next Tuesday to protest for the freedom of the remaining refugee children and their families on Nauru.
The Federal Government cannot take action against the action, as teachers are employed by the Queensland Government and are not covered by the Commonwealth Fair Work Act.
The planned "walk-off" will take place at 2.30pm "if the children and their families have not been released from Nauru".
It could cause chaos at schools, which will need to organise supervision for students or have parents pick up their children early.
The protest is despite suggestions all children will be off Nauru by the end of the year.
Mr Tehan questioned why a non-workplace issue was the subject of industrial action.
"What people do in their spare time is their own business, but parents and hardworking taxpayers expect that, when teachers are being paid to teach, they actually teach," he said.
"Partisan politics should be played outside of school time."
It is the latest overtly political action from the QTU not related to schooling, after it earlier this year backed the Eureka Stockade flag being put in schools in solidarity with the militant CFMMEU.
Queensland Education Minister Grace Grace is seeking advice from the department regarding the situation.
QTU boss Kevin Bates said protesters would work with the school's principal to ensure they had the capacity to deal with teacher absences.
"The Federal Education Minister doesn't employ any teachers. We're sick and tired of federal politicians thinking they have a right to intervene in education, which is a state issue," he said.
"I would emphasise that if the children come off Nauru there will be no action next Tuesday."
He said the total number of teachers participating and schools affected would be determined once ballots had been held by members at the end of the week.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison this week said there were less than 30 children remaining on Nauru.