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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 7 Hansard (19 June) . . Page.. 1935..


MS McRAE (continuing):

The first step in that was with the sporting community. The second step was today with the parents. I do not think it is good for the education sector or for the community at large to have a Minister supporting one side over the other - for a Minister now to be calling for education bans to be lifted.

Mr Stefaniak: We are all sick of it, Roberta. The parents are sick of it, too, and I am sure that most teachers are. The teachers I have talked to certainly are.

MS McRAE: Whether the parents are sick of it or not, you are the Minister and you are responsible for the long-term good of this community. What is of the utmost importance here is that you now take the lead and talk about the issues that desperately matter. Why is it that the teachers have this amazing workload of voluntary hours? Why do we not have a better sorting out of what is and what is not appropriate? What is it that you are asking of teachers? What is it that parents are asking of teachers? Why can this dispute not be settled? Why can you not come up with an offer of good faith? Why can you not talk the issue through?

Mrs Carnell: Why can New South Wales, South Australia, Tasmania or the Northern Territory not do that?

MS McRAE: It is absolutely no use talking about anywhere else in Australia. One has to talk about what is happening here. One has to engage the entire community to find out what the community wants from its education sector, what the parents want, what the sporting communities want and what the teachers want. Setting one group against the other does no good either in solving the immediate dispute or in guaranteeing long-term harmony for the education sector in the ACT.

MR WOOD (4.38): Mr Speaker, when the report card for this year is written, it will show that the current Minister, Mr Stefaniak, has taught in a year that has been very bad for education in the Territory. I cannot think of any other year in my experience - and I first taught here in 1978 - when the education outcomes have been so poor. They will be poor because the full job has not been done, due to the industrial bans that this Government cannot fix. Those bans, in Mr Stefaniak's one-eyed mind, would appear to relate to sporting issues. I do not think he sees education as anything but sporting activity; but let me tell him the range of areas that are detrimentally affected by these bans.

It is not just sporting teams. That is only one thing. Think about the bands, the musical activity, the school presentations and the plays that are not proceeding because of this. I did not see Mr Stefaniak singling those out as also causing difficulty. What about the parent-teacher nights? What about the teachers who really do want to communicate with the parents and the parents who want to know how their children are going? What about curriculum development? School-based curriculum development, which has long been part of ACT education, is now faltering because of the bans. What about the Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme? That is an important part of what happens in our schools.


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