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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 3 Hansard (2 April) . . Page.. 865..


MR BARR (continuing):

We have sought to work collaboratively with key stakeholders to develop the new code of conduct that I launched last week—12 months worth of work into this new code of conduct and a code of conduct that has been endorsed by the key stakeholders. What does that code of conduct do? It makes it crystal clear to everyone—to staff, to students, to visitors, to anyone who is on ACT public school grounds—what their responsibilities are and what their rights are, but also what sanctions are available if they breach the code.

MR SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Mr Pratt.

MR PRATT: My supplementary question is this: minister, given the history and the ongoing situation, why have you not been able to address the issues of violence and bullying in ACT schools that we know have been ignored for a number of years, including the case of a serious violent assault in an ACT high school that came to light on 18 May 2006, about which you did nothing?

MR BARR: That, Mr Speaker, is one of the more outrageous allegations we have heard in this place. All of the issues that Mr Pratt and his partner in crime, Mr Smyth, on this issue sought to peddle outside of this place have been utterly rejected by not only the police investigation but by the investigation at the school itself. That does not stop these two from spreading muck. Again, it goes to a consistent theme about what this lot are about. It goes to a consistent theme of what the parliamentary Liberal Party is about—that is, behind-the-scenes muck raking and tearing down the public education system.

Mr Pratt: Tell us what steps you took, then. Tell us all the steps you have taken.

MR SPEAKER: Mr Pratt, I warn you. Cease interjecting or I will name you.

MR BARR: Thank you, Mr Speaker, there was an extensive police investigation and an extensive internal investigation within the Department of Education and Training. I was fully briefed throughout those processes, as was, I understand, the police minister in relation to the police investigation. I will pay credit to Mrs Dunne in this instance, because she at least had the good grace and good will to not only seek private briefings but to try and get her colleagues to desist from the campaign they were running. I remember, in fact, having to take it to the then Leader of the Opposition, Mr Stefaniak, to almost referee in the dispute between Mrs Dunne and Mr Pratt and Mr Smyth over this issue.

Every time it was raised in the media that the student concerned was self-harming, they did not care about that. They wanted to pursue a political point. That, Mr Speaker, is the lowest of the low. I am so, so sorry that this is continually raised and that this poor individual who suffered considerably through this process has to go through this again and again. No, Mr Pratt will not give up on it, and it is to his amazing discredit that he will not give up on this issue.

I need to say fundamentally that this government has engaged with all of the key stakeholders on this issue. We have sought to bring everyone to the table to find a


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