Teachers in Tasmania, Australia are stopping work on Thursday in opposition to crippling cuts in schools budgets. The Australian Education Union (AEU) has issued a call to parents asking them to contact the state prime ministeer, Will Hodgman because, 'Many schools will lose two teachers and colleges four. Class sizes will be larger. Disadvantaged and spec­ial needs children will be worst affected. Programs such as music, literacy and numeracy support and foreign languages will be the first to go.'

The state government has used a common tactic used by administrations forcing through unpopular cuts. They have blamed the teachers for refusing to accept a pay freeze. However the AEU says that a freeze is not even an alternative to cuts, 80% of which would still be in place. In any case it begs the question why teachers and other public servants should pay the price for financial mismanagement and crisis which was none of their making and from which the rich are continuing to benefit.

Teachers are not striking for the whole day but rather attending stop work meetings along with health workers protesting cuts, until 10.30 am. After that school can proceed as normal. That is it would have done if the government had not decided, presumably in an attempt to turn parents and students against teachers, to close the schools for the whole day. However as a parent primary school chair speaking above shows, they will have their work cut out convincing them that these cuts are acceptable or that the teachers are wrong to fight. As she says at the end: 'We must stand up for the most vulnerable people in this equation, the children. And the premier must stop the cuts!'