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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 5 Hansard (31 May) . . Page.. 1354..


Amendments agreed to.

Remainder of bill, as a whole, as amended, agreed to.

Bill, as amended, agreed to.

Adjournment

Motion (by Mr Corbell ) proposed:

That the Assembly do now adjourn.

Schools—bullying

MRS BURKE (Molonglo) (6.19): I just wanted to mention an article that was in the Canberra Times on Wednesday, 30 May. It was written by Emma Macdonald, the education reporter. I think it has some significance to one of the issues that has been talked about in this place this week, and that is the issue of bullying. I want to commend the federal government and the federal education minister Julie Bishop for the implementation of $90 million being spent on chaplaincy services in schools.

The headline says "15 government schools sign up for Howard's 'God Squad'". Actually, it is very clear Mrs Bishop has stipulated that the chaplains, according to the article, "would have to sign a code of conduct that banned proselytising and discouraged the use of theological language or the assumption that people had the same beliefs".

I really commend the government on this move. Obviously what we have been doing so far to try to address bullying is not working or it is not having the desired effect. I think we have to try anything in terms of a different approach. If you want something different you have to do something different. I think clearly that this is a different approach.

I was very pleased to see that 15 government schools across the ACT applied for a chaplain under the Howard government's controversial school chaplaincy proposal and I actually know of two young guys in Mr Smyth's territory—in the electorate of Brindabella—who are going to be the chaplaincy to, I think, three of the schools down there; so that is very positive.

I think chaplaincy in government schools is almost seen as a bit of a luxury. The assumption is that private schools have these facilities, which is good and positive. I know that Clive Haggar from the education union was a little concerned and would have preferred the $90 million being spent on—and I again quote from the article—"professional counselling services in schools".

In fact, I would have to say that many of these chaplains are actually trained professionals in what they do. They are not picked just because she or he is nice and positive. These persons, and particularly the two young gentlemen I know, are very well-trained and very highly skilled. I think they will deliver an excellent service to the schools to which they are attached.


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