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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 5 Hansard (30 May) . . Page.. 1184..


MR SMYTH (continuing):

That is the problem. You cannot deliver good governance and more services unless you control your spending and your economy. Let us look at one of the ministers. It is a pity Mr Barr is not here. He is the Andrew Scissorhands of the ACT government. What has he done since he came to office? Cut, cut, cut, cut and cut.

Debate interrupted in accordance with standing order 74 and the resumption of the debate made an order of the day for a later hour.

Sitting suspended from 12.25 to 2.30 pm.

Distinguished visitor

MR SPEAKER: Before I proceed to questions without notice, I acknowledge the presence in the chamber of the Hon Mike Reynolds AM, Speaker of the Queensland parliament. Welcome, Mr Speaker.

Questions without notice

Schools—bullying

MR STEFANIAK: My question is to the Minister for Education and Training. Minister, there have been a number of attacks of violence perpetrated—

Mr Stanhope: Law and order, not education.

MR STEFANIAK: Why don't you just listen, Chief Minister? You might learn something. A number of attacks of violence have been perpetrated on school grounds and have come to light through the media recently. It is stated education department policy that violent incidents by any individuals over the age of 10 should be reported to police. Can you assure us that school principals are uniformly and consistently reporting to the police all bullying and violent attacks?

MR BARR: I thank Mr Stefaniak for raising this important issue. It has been unfortunate that in 2007 a number of incidents have occurred at ACT schools. Some of these issues have extended beyond what we would traditionally call bullying. In fact, they have simply been assaults that have occurred on school grounds.

I need to state categorically that the ACT government has a zero tolerance policy as far as bullying in schools is concerned. Any assault that occurs on a school ground should—and they have been—be appropriately reported to police. The seriousness of some of the instances that have occurred this year is such that it has elevated to police involvement.

The ACT government, through the Department of Education and Training, has some very clear protocols in place in relation to how these matters need to be dealt with at a school level. I have had some concerns that, with our school-based management system, the overarching departmental policy has not been adhered to as well as I would have liked. Following a couple of these issues being brought to my attention, I have asked the chief executive of the Department of Education and Training to conduct a number of key stakeholder meetings. I know that Dr Bruniges has also convened a meeting of all school principals to address just this issue.


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