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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 6 Hansard (8 June) . . Page.. 1934..

MR BARR (continuing):

models; linking preschools with primary schools; and then also some particular dedicated early childhood models across the territory. It presents some interesting options for how we might see our education system operate into the future, but it is a proposal.

There is an obvious need, as the government has identified, to see rationalisation of the number of campuses across the territory. That is something I said in my very first speech in this place-that that would need to happen. However, this is a consultation process and, if there are other ideas that the community has and other ideas that other members of the Assembly or other members of the community might wish to bring forward as to how we might better provide public education in the territory into the years ahead, then I welcome those ideas being brought forward. I am very happy to consider a whole variety of options.

My objective in this process is to see that we address the drift of enrolment in public education and that we ensure that public education does not become a minority safety net provider of education for those people who cannot afford the private system. That would be an unacceptable outcome. That is something that I as minister will not accept. That is why we are interjecting $90 million, the largest single investment in our schools in the history of self-government; that is why there is $67 million for new schools in this budget; and that is why there is $20 million for infrastructure investment. Dr Foskey, in answering your question, yes, I am open to a variety of proposals-

It being 3.00 pm, questions were interrupted pursuant to the order of the Assembly.

Appropriation Bill 2006-2007

Debate resumed from 6 June 2006, on motion by Mr Stanhope:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

MR STEFANIAK (Ginninderra-Leader of the Opposition) (3.00): In George Orwell's famous novel about a fictitious totalitarian society, he coined the term "blackwhite"to describe the ability to accept whatever "truth"the party put out, no matter how absurd it was. Orwell described it as a "loyal willingness to say black is white when party discipline demands this". It also means "the ability to actually believe that black is white or, more, to know that black is white and forget that one has ever believed the contrary". Why is George Orwell relevant to what the opposition has to say about the Stanhope government's budget? It is quite simply because this is a government that requires us to believe that black is white. It is also a government that requires us to think in what George Orwell called doublethink, defined as "entertaining two contrary ideas at the same time". Here, I would remind the Assembly that George Orwell was from the left but became so disillusioned that he spoke out. It is only the Labor Party that continues with doublethink or doublespeak.

The Canberra Times nailed this nicely in its coverage of the budget yesterday, when it pointed out that, in the course of no fewer than five budget media releases from the government on schools and despite the fact that the government proposes to close 39 schools, the word "closure"does not appear. Similarly, the Small Business Commission is not being abolished; it is being rationalised. Then there is the way the government introduces a whole raft of new taxes and increases in taxes and charges in

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