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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 1 Hansard (13 February) . . Page.. 78..


very flattering of the government and I would not like to say what she said about the opposition.

Mr Hargreaves: Was this at a meeting?

MR HUMPHRIES: Mr Deputy Speaker, could I again please ask for a chance to be able to speak.

MR DEPUTY SPEAKER: Mr Humphries, I would support you strongly but please address the chair.

MR HUMPHRIES: Thank you, Mr Deputy Speaker. She commented on how much more responsibility there is on the shoulders of ACT public servants. This is true. It is a significant factor that I think we need to take account of when we talk about the pressures on public servants and when we criticise them because undoubtedly, as a result of the work of governments on both sides of this chamber, the lesser number of public servants in recent years have had a great many more responsibilities placed on their shoulders.

I want to emphatically put on the record that the statement I have made today is in no sense whatsoever an exercise in public service bashing. Quite the contrary, it is an exercise in reinforcing and adding value to a public service which has been much criticised in a range of quarters in recent years.

I hope that in all the things we say in the course of the campaign this year about each other, our policies, the state of the territory and so on, we do not decide to include the public service in the scattergun fire that we tend to deliver. I do not think that the public servants deserve it. I think they have done a very good job for governments of both sides of the chamber and if anything comes of this it should be a sense of renewal and reinforcement of their role as servants of the ACT community.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Government schools

Discussion of matter of public importance

MR DEPUTY SPEAKER: Mr Speaker has received a letter from Mr Berry proposing that a matter of public importance be submitted to the Assembly for discussion, namely:

The need for the ACT Government to ensure that our government schools set the benchmark for quality education.

MR BERRY (4.56): Mr Deputy Speaker, there is nothing that strikes the contrast between Labor and the Liberals more than the commitment to public education. If there is anything that has been emphasised by the last six years of this Liberal government it is the difference in approach to education. The recent panic-stricken announcement to reduce class sizes borne out of the shame of recent announcements will not, in an election year, convince anyone that this conservative government opposite has any commitment to public schooling.


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