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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 3 Hansard (17 March) . . Page.. 1068..

MR COE (continuing):

In my electorate of Ginninderra, including all the suburbs in Belconnen, Nicholls and Hall, there are eight Catholic schools. They are: Holy Spirit primary, St Francis Xavier college, St John the Apostle primary, St Matthew's primary, St Michael's primary, St Monica's primary, St Thomas Aquinas primary and St Vincent's primary. Each of the schools I just mentioned deliver high-quality education to the people of Ginninderra and beyond. I have been privileged to have visited a number of these schools since being elected and I have witnessed the wonderful culture, the superb learning environment, the dedicated teachers, the appreciative students, the careful and diligent management and the supportive broader communities.

This morning, I attended St Michael's primary school in Kaleen to partake in the celebrations there. I joined the Leader of the Opposition, Zed Seselja, the shadow minister for education, Steve Doszpot, and other Assembly colleagues. Whilst there, we heard from David Austin, the principal. We heard from Father Peter from the parish, Dan O'Meara, the community council chairperson, and others. The school has 226 students from 159 families and they receive a great education in a caring community for all concerned. I congratulate them on the event they hosted this morning and for all the good work they do.

In addition to being good places to educate children, Catholic schools are also very active in their communities beyond the school grounds. Whether it be through charity work, on the sporting field, partaking in interschool activities or directly getting involved in the debate about the future of our society, Catholic schools are an integral part of the fabric of Canberra. Catholic schools have been a part of the Australian society for approximately 200 years and they continue to go from strength to strength. I look forward to continuing to support Catholic schools in Canberra this week and beyond.

Baha'i community in Iran

MS BRESNAN (Brindabella) (6:35): I would like to talk about the political persecution of the Baha'i community in Iran and the unjust arrest and detainment of Baha'i leaders and members. And this is a subject I have spoken about previously in the Assembly.

In 2008, the leadership of the Baha'i community were arrested and have been detained ever since without proper access to their lawyers and international monitoring organisations. The arrest and detainment of about 80 Baha'i members and the arrest and charges brought against certain Baha'i leaders has gained a great deal of international media attention and has been condemned by a number of Australia politicians.

Since the initial arrests, there have been growing numbers of Baha'i detained for their religious beliefs, with more than 60 individuals imprisoned. The detention of the leadership and individual community members is in contravention of international law, and particularly Iran's commitments under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

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