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An Open Letter to Ray Hadley of Radio 2GB

Dear Mr Hadley,

Today I came across a recording of a conversation you had with Cheryl, a primary school teacher who called in to defend NSW teachers’ decision to strike for better pay and conditions.

I’m not a huge fan of industrial action myself, but the point of this letter is not to argue the merits or otherwise of such action. Politics and democracy gives us the opportunity to have differing points of view and avenues to discuss them openly and maturely.

Rather I take issue with your abhorrent attitude towards Cheryl, who you decided you could treat with little or no respect because, “It’s my show!”

You also state that such disregard for teachers, as opposed to say the police, or nurses, is just, “A fact of life.”

The bulk of your tirade (if I may call it that) against Cheryl and the teaching profession seemed to be formed around three key points: hours worked, salary (obviously) and the nature of the job.

I’ll address each in turn.

1. Hours worked – No doubt you trump the teachers here Mr Hadley! You say that you work from 5am – 7pm, six days a week! An incredible effort. But what I find even more incredible is that for a man who obviously puts in so many hours of research, time and again you are picked up by ABC’s Media Watch for being a little frugal with the truth.Obviously comparing a teachers workload to yours only serves to highlight how little they do! Everyone knows teachers only work 9am – 3pm, five days a week – and only 40 weeks of the year!

2. Salary – Assuming a classroom teacher has been in their job for eight years, they can expect to earn a salary of around $85000. That equates to approximately $70/hour. Not bad I’m sure you’ll agree. But surely you feel a little disingenuous talking about how much people are worth when you earn $100000 alone for your “blink and you’ll miss ’em” spots on Channel 9. Let’s not forget the salary from 2GB which is reportedly anywhere between $2 million – $5 million! A little maths demonstrates that if you work as hard as you say, you’re raking in approximately $460 per hour.  Obviously I’m assuming you’re only earning $2 million 😉

3. But of course the disparity in our pay packets is justified when you attack Cheryl and every other teacher in the country by effectively saying anyone could teach. As a teacher myself, I’m a realist, I know there are good and bad teachers, just as there are bad and very bad shock jocks… but you know what? I’d bet (only if there was pre-commitment legislation of course!) that you wouldn’t last a week in the classroom, let alone a term!

But what really made me laugh was when you alluded to the fact that no-one else could do your job! (It was actually at this point I thought this may have been a prank call!)

I hear plenty of people who bully, vilify and harass others as you do. I see plenty of people who lie, promote homophobia, racism and who are just plain wrong on many things. Yes, these people do speak for some Australians, and yes, occasionally, the law of averages suggest they may make a valid point. But ALL these people are usually propping up a bar late at night somewhere and doing it for free!

Let’s be clear Mr Hadley, the reason you have been so vitriolic towards teachers is because they have challenged Barry O’Farrell and his Liberal Government. They have had the temerity to suggest that capping a wage increase at 2.5% may not actually be particularly fair given that inflation is running at 3.5%. I reckon your maths teacher could explain why.

And while your teacher’s explaining that, get them to show you that having a 20% share of the listening audience means that 80% AREN’T listening to you.

Having said that, just because you’re not as popular as you think you are doesn’t mean I was going to let this through to the keeper.

Should you be prepared to have a more mature conversation than the one you had with Cheryl, please feel free to contact me through http://danhaesler.com.

I should be able to squeeze you in… I have a few free periods.

Your sincerely

Dan Haesler