Bring back the cane: revisiting patriarchy

Galloway, Kate (2014) Bring back the cane: revisiting patriarchy. Curl: Property law, women and law, contemporary legal issues, 16 July 2014.

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Abstract

[Extract] The head of the government's curriculum review, Kevin Donnelly, said yesterday that corporal punishment in schools was an effective way of disciplining children. The conversation continued, leading to the implication that Donnelly is not averse to reintroducing corporal punishment into Australian schools.

Australia is a signatory to the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Australia therefore has obligations to protect children from violence or abuse, by their parents or anyone caring for them (article 19); and discipline in schools should respect children's human dignity (article 28). There is no overarching statute however that implements the provisions of this Convention and regulation of schools and criminal laws that may apply, are left to the states.

A number of news outlets have conveniently summarised the legal framework on corporal punishment in schools - see eg Crikey's explainer. There seem to be examples in both West Australia and Queensland where corporal punishment is integral to some schools' program - including in one reported case, the requirement for parents to accept corrective punishment as a condition of enrolling their child.

For a government appointee ostensibly holding expertise in education and charged with advising government on matters of education, these comments and their implication are concerning. This is so despite Minister Pyne's rejection of the idea. What these views really tell us about the state of play in Australia at the moment is the resurgence of patriarchal views and patriarchal control. These views are apparent, for example, in the government's discourse around 'lifting and leaning'. Donnelly's views play into this discourse.

I'm interested in this post to explore the way in which this patriarchal attitude underpins support for corporal punishment in schools, and the lack of logic in Donnelly's ideas.

Item ID: 37112
Item Type: Article (Commentary)
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Curl: Property law, women and law, contemporary legal issues is the blog of Kate Galloway and is available at http://katgallow.blogspot.com.au/ (15 April 2015)

Date Deposited: 15 Apr 2015 06:31
FoR Codes: 18 LAW AND LEGAL STUDIES > 1801 Law > 180114 Human Rights Law @ 50%
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