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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 13 Hansard (5 December) . . Page.. 4013..


DR FOSKEY (continuing):

I want to speak about this especially because, as a sole parent for most of the time, I believe I have been in partnership with the education system in this town. I was lucky—I did not believe so at the time—because when my daughter was aged two or three I was eligible for a house through the Association for Post-Secondary Student Accommodation. It is defunct now, because of the changes to community housing organisations. That is another story, and a sad one. I was allotted a house in Yarralumla, where I did not want to go. Nonetheless that was it; that was the house that was offered, and off we went.

It was fortunate that it was within walking distance of a preschool. My daughter attended the preschool, the local primary school and then Deakin high school. All of that was within walking distance until she finished primary school. Every morning we walked to school together, and that was a very important part of our day.

At that time I was studying for my PhD. That went on for years and years—for much longer than it should have. I am sure it made me an extremely boring person as far as being a parent was concerned, but I always gave time to the school. I was president of the P&C for a while, I taught drama there and I went in and made pizzas with the kids. I had the time to do that, and that is partly why I chose that way of living my life.

I watched my child blossom through that process, especially in the Narrabundah college environment, because I think the college system is a very important part of growing up that we offer our children. The range of subjects offered, the fact that they need to be mature and organised to do well, has paid off. My daughter will come out of it with a reasonable result. Along the way she has had help from myriad teachers, principals, canteen ladies and the people in the offices of all these schools. It has been quite special. It is part of the reason why I stand up and fight so hard for neighbourhood schools, because they are especially for people like me. I had no-one else to fall back on; I did not have an extended family in this town. I had friends, but friendships only go so far, I find, when it comes to issues with children. So it was the schools that filled that gap, and today I want to thank the ACT education department and, before that, the Schools Authority, because I had other children who went to school here. I came to Canberra for its education system. I could have gone to many places but I came to Canberra.

That is why I stand up and fight for education so much. It made the difference for me and my brothers. We grew up in a certain era when people of our income and social status could get scholarships and go to university. It has also made the difference for my daughter.

Valedictory

MRS BURKE (Molonglo) (6.17): I had intended to make some remarks to finish my year, because I will not be here tomorrow evening, and I have explained why. But I have to say that, once again, Ms MacDonald gets it wrong. How sad that she comes into this place, totally forgetting—

MR SPEAKER: Nice, remember.

MRS BURKE: Sorry?


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