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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 5 Hansard (14 May) . . Page.. 1211..


P and C Associations - Fundraising Information

MR STEFANIAK: I wish to reply to a question Ms McRae asked me on 18 April 1996. The question related to funds raised by P and C associations. Ms McRae suggested that I had misled the Assembly by not providing figures she sought on the amount of funds collected by P and C associations. She was under the impression - the mistaken impression, Mr Speaker - that such figures were made available to the Public Accounts Committee but not to her. I responded to her question by saying that I suspected that she was making comparisons between apples and oranges. Nevertheless, I undertook to investigate the situation and report on my findings.

The department's submission to the Public Accounts Committee inquiry into voluntary parental contributions pointed out that it dealt only with voluntary contributions collected directly by schools. Page 3 of that submission states that voluntary contributions collected by P and C associations on behalf of schools are specifically excluded. My answer to question on notice No. 164 about money collected by P and C associations is correct. P and C associations are separate legal entities and maintain separate financial records. Such funds do not become public moneys until they are passed to the schools as either donations or equipment. Contrary to Ms McRae's assertion in the debate of 18 April 1996, I did not mislead the Assembly.

Mr Speaker, I must take this opportunity to say that some of those on the opposite benches seem to have developed a rather nasty little habit of making reckless and unsubstantiated claims that Government members have misled the Assembly. Really, that is a habit that undermines the dignity and credibility of this place, and it should stop. Ms McRae's ill-informed accusation was compounded by some exposure she got in the local paper on 29 April. I think that also affects the dignity of this place. I suggest to the Leader of the Opposition that he bring some discipline to bear on his party colleagues in relation to this, in the interest of preserving their own dignity and of maintaining this Assembly as a serious place of important business. I request that my answer to the question in issue here be incorporated in Hansard, Mr Speaker.

Leave granted.

Document incorporated at Appendix 1.

PERSONAL EXPLANATION

MS FOLLETT: Mr Speaker, under standing order 46 I seek your leave to make a brief statement.

MR SPEAKER: Proceed.

MS FOLLETT: Mr Speaker, I refer to your ordering of the withdrawal of certain parts of a question I had placed on the notice paper. I accept without question that you had the authority to order that withdrawal. I do not accept, however, the reasons that you have so ordered. In your justification for your actions you mentioned the sub judice convention. You mentioned, for instance, that matters which may come up for debate in


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