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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2004 Week 4 Hansard (30 March) . . Page.. 1336..


MR STEFANIAK (8.10): As Mr Smyth says, I am sure Mr Pratt can speak for himself. I am sure that, if for some reason this does not apply to the non-government sector, he would be more than happy to ensure it does, because that is quite important. Let us look at the amendment itself. I think it is fairly basic that criminal offences should be reported to the police. The police have very considerable discretions. They are more than capable, Ms Gallagher, of deciding whether in fact to prosecute or not to prosecute. Even if they decide it is worth prosecuting, the DPP has the ultimate say in terms of whether it gets to a court or not. And they too are more than capable of exercising a discretion as to whether or not a matter is serious enough. I can see why Mr Pratt has this in his amendment. And, yes, I can understand a reluctance by schools to take certain incidents further, even if they are criminal. But there are a number of instances where it is important-and right and proper-to ensure that matters are reported to the police. As I have already indicated, the police themselves do have a discretion.

I must say there were a couple of times when I was somewhat concerned that offences were occurring in schools-not just government schools, Ms Gallagher; non-government ones as well-that should have been reported to the police but were not. I think it is very sensible having something like this because it just brings home the need for criminal actions or the contravention of laws to be reported. I do not think anyone is going to be remotely concerned about parking offences or anything like that. We are talking criminal actions, which are somewhat more serious than just basic traffic incidents. Traffic infringements are quite separate from criminal acts, and the types of things we are dealing with effectively would be drug offences and maybe the more serious assaults. Those are the types of things that do, unfortunately, crop up from time to time. Those things, in one form or another, have probably cropped up from time to time since we have had schools in Australia. An amendment like this is quite sensible and I am sure my colleague Mr Pratt has no problems whatsoever if it applies right across the board to the whole sector, government and non-government.

MR PRATT (8.12): There is no way in the world that we would require one sector to abide by the law and the other sector not to. We have said all day in this debate that the principles written into the bill under the government school sector will apply to the non-government school sector. In terms of the way the non-government sector is established to administer itself, where those instruments do not apply, where they do not happen, we expect the ACT education system to get those flowing in.

Ms Gallagher: How do we do that if we do not do it tonight?

MR PRATT: If we need to extend this instrument to formalise that, then that is something that we will perhaps need to look at. But we are going to make sure that there is conformity. We have said all day and all night that we expect conformity of standards across the entire ACT education system.

Ms Gallagher: What you are saying and what you are doing are two completely different things.

MR PRATT: No, no. What I am saying is what we intend to see enshrined in the ACT education system. Minister, it is no good you seeking to divert the debate here tonight and to characterise it as class warfare: one sector versus another sector. Do not get up


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