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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: Week 9 Hansard (17 August) . . Page.. 3708..


MS GALLAGHER (continuing):

Training. It would be helpful to do that. I will take this question on notice. I will have to get back to you on the specific school. You have not even raised the school with me.

People raise issues with me in writing and I send them off for advice from the department. That usually comes back in the form of a brief, with a letter attached for me to sign. Sometimes I amend it if it is not satisfactory or I want something added. Usually the advice from the department is very comprehensive and a minister has to rely on that advice. If the advice that comes back details plans that are being put in place to manage a certain situation, a minister has to accept that it is being managed and that is the basis on which you correspond with a constituent.

You test that advice. Usually, if that advice or that situation does not satisfy a constituent, the constituent will write back to you and if another situation occurs at that school you will hear about it. I cannot remember-I will have to check, because I do not have the name of the school; I will review that letter-being written to in the last little while about any bullying teacher. There are about 4,000 teachers in the ACT government service. There are lots of teachers and we get lots of inquiries about teachers from parents, school communities and other teachers, so I will need to look at this situation. I will come back with whatever information I can get. Obviously, you have a bit more information on that matter from that constituent than has been given to my office.

MRS DUNNE: I have a supplementary question, Mr Speaker. I will be quite happy to provide the name of the school to the minister's staff. Minister, as the minister for eduction and industrial relations, why have you allowed this unsatisfactory and dangerous working environment to continue in ACT government high schools? Or is it just another symptom of your not caring about what is going on in departments for which you are responsible?

MS GALLAGHER: You have really got to work out your questions a bit better before you ask them so that they are not wrong and I can just say "no"in answer. This is ridiculous!

Mrs Dunne: You gave assurances to people that it would not happen again.

MS GALLAGHER: Yes, and I stand by that, as I do when I am given advice by my department about a rigorous process that is put in place. You are now telling me either that that rigorous process was not put in place or not followed or that there is another teacher affected by a similar situation who has gone on leave. I do not know about that. Someone has come to your office and told you that. I am not just accepting that that is the case. To say that I would knowingly allow a situation like that to occur, considering my portfolio responsibilities, is simply incorrect. It is simply incorrect. You have to get a bit smarter with your questions so that they are not actually wrong before you ask them. I will take further advice.

Visitors

MR SPEAKER: Order members! Before I go to Mrs Cross, I would like to welcome to the gallery a group of ACT teachers from government and non-government schools who are visiting us today-


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