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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 4 Hansard (10 April) . . Page.. 917..


MR STANHOPE: Certainly I think the Commonwealth government can be in absolutely no doubt about my attitude or the attitude of this government to the actions it took in relation to the Falun Gong. I have been quite explicit about that. As far as I am concerned, there was absolutely no basis to justify the thwarting of peaceful, lawful protest.

The capacity of the Commonwealth to act did require the issuing of a certificate in order to provide the Australian Federal Police with a capacity to take the action they took. It is in that context that I have written and asked the Foreign Minister to explain to me why his government, the federal Liberal government, felt it necessary to interfere with this demonstration in the way they have. I would like a full explanation of the basis on which the federal government came to a decision that the holding of banners which, as far as I can tell, asked the world in general to act with peace and compassion is in some ways a threat to the dignity of the Chinese Embassy and, even if it were, why that is not a legitimate protest. That is the sort of answer I am hoping to receive from the Foreign Minister.

My inclination, Ms Tucker, is to await a response from the Foreign Minister. Having a response from him to the letter I have already sent, I will assess what further action it would be appropriate for me to take. But I am aware of your very strong interest in, and commitment to, the Falun Gong and the right to peaceful, lawful protest.

Remandees-mental health condition

MR SMYTH: Mr Speaker, my question is to Mr Quinlan in his capacity as minister for corrections. I will keep talking about corrections until the minister gets back to his seat because I think this is an issue that both sides of the chamber believe is very important. My question to the minister is: can you inform the Assembly of what percentage of Belconnen Remand Centre remandees over the past year have been identified as having some form of mental health condition? How many of them received treatment for this condition while they were in the BRC?

MR QUINLAN: Mr Speaker, I will take that on notice. I do not have those figures right now.

Review of ACT school funding

MR PRATT: My question is to Mr Corbell, the minister for education. Minister, on 20 March, you announced that you had commissioned an education inquiry to review ACT school funding. Can you assure the ACT community that no ACT school, whether private or public, will be worse off as a result of this review?

MR CORBELL: Mr Speaker, there is no intention to see a situation where schools receive less than they currently receive. In that context, I think the answer to Mr Pratt's question is yes.

What is important, though, about this inquiry-it was an interesting question from Mr Pratt-is that it is the first time he has asked a substantive question about the inquiry. It has taken nearly a month for the shadow minister for education to stand up and ask


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