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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 3 Hansard (2 April) . . Page.. 867..

Mrs Dunne: Mr Speaker, on the point of order—

MR SPEAKER: I have ruled on it.

MR STANHOPE: The facts speak for themselves. The ACT education system is the best education system in Australia—by far. We produce, year on year, the best educational outcomes of any place in Australia. And in producing the best educational outcomes of any place in Australia, when removed from Australian averages, it puts the ACT as the only jurisdiction in Australia in the top five educational jurisdictions in the world.

We here in the ACT compete favourably in literacy and numeracy, across all age groups, with the best in the world. We are the only place in Australia that, in terms of educational outcomes, can hold its head with Singapore, Japan, South Korea and Finland—with the great achieving nations of the world. And guess who is in there with them? Guess who is there in the top five educational places in the world. The ACT.

We have this puerile nonsense: "Chief Minister, could you explain why your policies have failed?"—when we are only the fifth best in the world! Only the fifth best in the world! And this is a sign of failure! We have an educational system with educational outcomes that the rest of Australia and the rest of the world would cry for or die for. Such is the strength and the quality of education here in the ACT.

Certainly there are issues. There are always issues. Everybody can always do better. We are in the top five. In the last round, we came in fifth. Yes, it would be wonderful if we were first, but we are fifth. And we are to be condemned by this puerile, childish, continuing nonsense about a failure of educational outcomes or excellence. The ACT stands supreme in the production of educational outcomes or standards that are the envy of not just the rest of Australia but the rest of the world.

When I go to ministerial council meetings, when I go to COAG, and we discuss performance across the jurisdictions, the premiers look away and say, "We won't count the ACT in that, because they are different."Why won't they count the ACT when they are comparing educational outcomes across jurisdictions? Because we show in stark relief the effort in other places within Australia and across the world.

We have a superb education system. It is to the eternal discredit of the Liberal Party in this place that they do not have the integrity or the grace to stand beside public education in the ACT. They continually create this perception that it is a second-class system, that you are better off if you send your kids to the non-government sector. It is the underlying message. It is the perception you continue to create—the questions you ask about violence and bullying within the schoolyard: this great serial question that Mr Pratt and Mr Smyth have been asking for two years now, to their great shame. They have been counselled by their previous leader and the previous shadow for education. I recall the speech in this place by Mrs Dunne when she essentially implored you to leave the issue alone because of the damage—

Mr Smyth: Your memory loss is still affecting you.

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