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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 10 Hansard (21 September) . . Page.. 4204..


MR SPEAKER: There is no point of order. The question also asked about the protocols. The minister is elaborating on the protocols.

MR BARR: Thank you, Mr Speaker. There is in place now a series of protocols for all external presenters at ACT public schools, be they members of this place, the chamber of commerce, members of a range of other organisations that may from time to time present in ACT public schools for particular courses of study. There is an obligation on the schools, the school principal and the teachers who are inviting those external presenters, to review any material that is brought into the classroom in the context of an external presentation. This particular incident serves as a reminder to this Assembly, to members of the Assembly, ministers, party leaders, shadow ministers, backbenchers that they have a series of obligations when it comes to their attendance at ACT public schools.

In relation to this particular matter, the material that was distributed was indeed consistent with the particular extracurricular activity that was occurring—

Mr Coe: It wasn't extracurricular.

MR BARR: the particular curricular activity that was occurring at that time. It would have been equally appropriate for Mr Coe and Ms Hunter to have brought material representing their political parties. But what should have happened is that each piece of material that was presented, that was brought into that unit, should have been cleared by the teacher. That is the only expectation that I have in relation to civics courses, around discussions of political parties.

Let us be realistic about this. It was an invitation. There were representatives from each party in this place. It was not a recruitment exercise by the Australian Labor Party. It was a discussion on political parties and politics. So it is reasonable for material to have been brought in. Mr Coe and Ms Hunter should, equally, have been given the right to bring in material as well.

MR SPEAKER: Supplementary, Mr Doszpot?

MR DOSZPOT: Thank you, Mr Speaker. Minister, did Ms Burch or a member of her office contact you or a member of your office prior to the distribution of this material?

MR BARR: No.

MR COE: Supplementary question, Mr Speaker.

MR SPEAKER: Yes, Mr Coe.

MR COE: Minister, the organisation which you referred to which allegedly distributed information in public schools last year I believe was told that the organisation is responsible for the information which is distributed, yet in your circular a couple of weeks ago you said that it was the school that was responsible for the information which is distributed to students in that school. Which is true?


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