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School CP - November 2001

masthead AAP General News (Australia), 7 November 2001

Latham defends call for return to caning

SYDNEY, Nov 7 AAP - Federal Labor backbencher Mark Latham refused to toe the party line today, reiterating his support for corporal punishment in schools.

In a mailout to his constituents, Mr Latham, a one-time education spokesman for Labor, said he wanted tough but fair policies for boys.

He called for a policy that "restores discipline in our high schools - bringing back the cane as a deterrent" and alternative forms of education such as farm work and apprenticeships for troubled boys.

Today Mr Latham told Sydney radio station 2GB that corporal punishment worked 15 years ago and should be reintroduced.

"As a last resort where every other form of discipline has failed, if there is a classroom teacher who feels that (caning) is going to work then give them that power," he said.

"When we did have the cane as a deterrent some 15 to 20 years ago, the system was much better.

"Schools had far better discipline and standards and I can't understand why something that worked so effectively in the past has been abandoned."

Mr Latham said discipline in his electorate, which takes in Bankstown and Campbelltown, was a big issues.

"It is my own view because there is a particular problem in my electorate ... it is the teenage capital of Australia," he said.

"These are big issues in the suburbs and I am saying let's be tough but fair."

His comments are in stark contrast to his leader's Knowledge Nation package unveiled in Sydney a week ago, and are likely to embarrass the ALP just days before the federal election.

Opposition leader Kim Beazley announced a $176 million package for an extra 680 teachers, some of whom would be specially trained in behaviour management to deal with problem children.

Teachers and civil libertarians also reacted angrily yesterday, accusing Mr Latham of having lost the plot.

Mr Latham holds the safe western Sydney seat of Werriwa and is a former adviser to Gough Whitlam and NSW Premier Bob Carr.

Catholic Weekly, Sydney, 11 November 2001

Court strips ex-student of $3m award

By Kathleen Carmody

The Catholic Education Office is "pleased" with the decision to order a new trial to determine damages in the case of Paul Hogan, who sued the Catholic Church over a strapping he received at school 17 years ago.

The NSW Supreme Court of Appeal stripped Mr Hogan of his almost $3 million payout and ordered that a new trial be held to set damages.

Mr Hogan had sued the school and a lay teacher in 1998, claiming damages for assault and battery and negligence over two sets of strappings he received as a 13-year-old student at St John's College, Lakemba, on March 16, 1984. He claimed he had suffered permanent damage to his hand as a result.

In February, the four-person jury ruled in his favour, finding that the school and teacher had breached their duty of care and were guilty of assault and negligence.

The court ordered the Church to pay $2,954,732.70, including $700,000 in general damages, $10,000 in exemplary damages, $212,728 for past economic loss, $1,583,891.70 for future economic loss, $754 for past out-of-pocket expenses and $21,720 for future medical expenses.

The Church appealed against the award, saying that it was beyond what could be regarded as "appropriate in the circumstances of the case".

The Court of Appeal found the award was "excessively high" and ordered the new trial on a date to be fixed.

blob Follow-up: 27 March 2003: Man awarded $1.2 million for strapping (damages award halved)

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