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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 4 Hansard (23 March) . . Page.. 1286..


MR DOSZPOT: Yes, Mr Speaker. Minister, is this promise the same as Ms Gallagher's promise to not close schools before the 2004 election, a promise that subsequently blatantly was disregarded?

MR BARR: In responding to Mr Doszpot's question I would, of course, remind those opposite of their position in relation to these matters in the context of the debate that has been had in this chamber extensively over the last five years. Ms Gallagher indicated back in 2004, in August of that particular year, her position at that time and indicated that at that time there were no plans to close schools. But Ms Gallagher also stated in that speech to the Assembly, in response to a question from Ms Dundas, that she envisaged that this would be a matter that the next Assembly would have to consider and that it certainly would be a matter that the next minister for education would have to consider. It would be something that a future minister and a future Assembly—

Mr Seselja: Not in her lifetime, I believe—not in her lifetime.

MR BARR: That was not what Ms Gallagher said. You have just misrepresented what she said, Mr Seselja. That is a blatant misrepresentation of what she said.

Mr Seselja: No, it's in the paper. Haven't you read the Canberra Times?

MR BARR: I am referring to the Hansard in this place. The question was asked of Ms Gallagher at the time by Ms Dundas, the then Democrats crossbencher in this place. Ms Gallagher made it very clear that this was an issue that the Assembly would have to consider in the future, and that certainly future education ministers would have to consider. The shadow education spokesman at the time, Mr Pratt I believe, made a statement to the effect that future Assemblies would have to consider it. Future Assemblies certainly have.

MR SPEAKER: A supplementary, Mr Seselja?

MR SESELJA: Thank you, Mr Speaker. Minister, are you aware of the comments made by Ms Gallagher through a spokesman in the Canberra Times ruling out any school closures in the next term of government?

MR BARR: I am aware that there were comments attributed to a spokesperson of Ms Gallagher in the Canberra Times and that Ms Gallagher came back and clarified that matter in this place and also clarified that matter with the Canberra Times. It is all there on the public record. Ms Gallagher addressed this matter in numerous debates in this place all through the last Assembly. Again, I remind the Leader of the Opposition of the position put by his shadow education spokesperson at that time.

Canberra Hospital—alleged bullying

MR HANSON: My question is to the health minister. Since serious allegations were raised in the media about bullying and harassment within the obstetrics unit of the Canberra Hospital, and since a secret review has commenced to look into the allegations, a number of claims of bullying within other units and areas of ACT


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