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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 7 Hansard (15 August) . . Page.. 2114..


MR STANHOPE (continuing):

the territory and, most significantly, the issue of the quality of public education, the sustainability of the system of public education, and our capacity to ensure that our children and our grandchildren have the same opportunities to access unparalleled quality public education as we have had. That is what we wish to debate. That is what is at stake.

It is a debate that members opposite generated back in 1990 and 1991 but which they could not sustain because they did not have the political will, the strength or the courage to sustain the debate. It is interesting to go back to members of the task force in 1990 and 1991 and talk about cabinet solidarity.

Mr Smyth: On a point of order: I am not sure how a 1991 task force is relevant to this debate and his supposed political courage. Perhaps he could come back to the motion.

MR SPEAKER: Mr Smyth, nothing can be more relevant than a vote of no confidence in the ministers who are involved in an education matter.

Mrs Dunne: It is not about education, Mr Speaker.

MR STANHOPE: It is not about education because the opposition cannot afford for it to be about education. The opposition has no position in relation to education. It has no desire to discuss education. It wants to do whatever it can around the edge of the debate to ensure that we do not focus on education, that we do not focus on the budget position and that we do not focus on sustainable quality education of the future. So we will move silly stunt motions. We will move a motion calling on 40 per cent of the cabinet to resign because then we do not have to discuss the import of the issue of education and its rationalisation. Then we do not have to acknowledge our own failings. We can simply gloss over Mr Stefaniak's cabinet submission of 1995-96 in relation to the closure of Charnwood high school and Stirling college.

We can gloss over the approach the Liberal Party took in government. We can gloss over the very things that Mr Stefaniak said to his cabinet in 1995-96-which we are saying. We can gloss over the fact that in his private utterances and communications to his cabinet, Mr Stefaniak agrees entirely with what we are seeking to achieve today. We do not have to go back to the position in 1991, when Mr Humphries, now Senator Humphries, was put in charge of implementing a cabinet position in relation to school rationalisation in relation to which he wobbled, then fell over and could not carry though because he did not have the support of his cabinet, and he failed.

What members opposite tried previously we are doing now, but they did not have the bottle, the courage or the will. They do not have the capacity and they are embarrassed by their duplicity and double standards, so they move ridiculous, derisory motions calling on two incredibly fine ministers to resign. That is what they are doing: asking them to resign. This is a serious matter which members opposite refuse to take seriously.

We are taking up the time of the Assembly, the parliament-which has important business on its notice paper-with a motion, essentially, about the internal party mechanics of the Labor Party, our annual conference, to which we invite the media. We pay this sort of political price because we are open and transparent and the Labor Party is prepared to display to the world its democratic processes-unlike the Liberal Party, of


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