Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 13 Hansard (18 November) . . Page.. 5675..
MR SPEAKER: Just delete the preamble, Mr Doszpot.
MR DOSZPOT: The parents were very concerned to meet with you, Minister Barr. Have you since then, or do you intend from now on to have that meeting that the parents really want to have with you, not with the department?
MR BARR: Thank you, Mr Speaker. I did meet with representatives of that parent group, which represents, as I understand it, around 20 or 30 families. I acknowledge their desire to have closer conversations with government in relation to particular aspects of disability education. I will, of course, continue to meet with parent and community bodies in relation to education. I met with the parents and citizens council only a matter of a week ago.
There are, of course, 30 or 40,000-odd students in the ACT education system—so one would presume somewhere between 60 and, say, 80,000 parents, all of whom have an interest in the education of their children. There are a number of peak bodies that represent parents. I continue to meet regularly with parents, parent associations and particular advocates for particular groups of students as part of my role as Minister for Education and Training.
MR SPEAKER: Before I come to you, Mr Hargreaves, I would like to acknowledge the members of the University of the Third Age who have joined us in the public gallery today, and I welcome them to the Legislative Assembly.
Questions without notice
MR HARGREAVES: Mr Speaker, my question is to you. On 16 November, you wrote to all members and you said:
I am writing to all MLAs about the importance of demonstrating appropriate behaviour during activities and visits organised as part of the Assembly's parliamentary education program.
You also said:
Recently, it has come to my attention that there have been several instances in which MLAs have used education activities to prosecute various party political agendas.
You said that the education program is aimed at school and community groups and you also said that these organisations and minors—you did not say "minors"; that is my word—were not to be put in a position where they are a captive audience for partisan speechmaking. You said that such conduct has the potential to cause discomfort to members of the audience—and I take that to mean schoolchildren as well. You said: