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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2012 Week 2 Hansard (22 February) . . Page.. 676..


Let us be very clear here. We have an independent school system that is potentially under threat. And it is under threat, and it needs to be defended. It needs to be defended on a par with the public system. I raised the concern to residents of the ACT that although you will hear sweet nothings—in fact, you will hear quite the opposite from Dr Bourke, in his attack on the Liberals—although you will hear these murmurings of platitudes, that everything will be all right and "we will support both sectors", when you read the policy it says something entirely different.

This is why we have heard questions in question time trying to get confirmation from the minister that he does support the independent sector, that we are not going to see reductions in funding in real terms, and the minister has refused to make those commitments. So I am appalled by some of the assertions made by Dr Bourke today, particularly on the back of the hypocrisy that we see when we actually know what Katy Gallagher, Simon Corbell and others of the left faction in the Labor Party want, and we know what the Greens' policy is, because it is here in black and white in their education policy on their website. I just warn the people of Canberra.

At approximately 6 pm, in accordance with standing order 34, the debate was interrupted. The motion for the adjournment of the Assembly having been put and negatived, the debate was resumed.

Sitting suspended from 5.58 to 7.30 pm.

MR DOSZPOT (Brindabella) (7.30): Minister Bourke's amendment is a very disappointing amendment in that it aims to negate two points in the original motion brought forward by us—two points in my motion that Minister Bourke actually spoke at length about supporting. Just to refresh your memory, Minister Bourke, we were calling on the ACT government to stand up for all ACT schools in their negotiations with their commonwealth government counterparts. You touched upon that in various forms throughout your speech.

The second part of the motion in (b) seeks to provide certainty to parents, students and schools in the non-government sector that they will not be worse off in real terms as a result of the proposed changes. I do not see what you would disagree with in that. That is sticking up for all sectors, including parents, students and schools in both the government and the non-government sector. I am not quite sure what it is that is so objectionable in (a) and (b) from your point of view. Then when we have a look at the amendment—"consider the needs of all ACT students in their negotiations with their commonwealth counterparts"—that also would add value to the motion that you have before you.

Minister Bourke, I think you have totally missed the essence, if you like, of my motion. I am asking for nothing more than assurances from the government that schools, both government and non-government, will not lose funding in real terms. If you have any objection to that, I would like to know what it is, Dr Bourke. You are claiming that funding under the Gonski review will be fairer, yet you have said that it is too early to make claims like that as there are a lot of negotiations to be done. Dr Bourke, you have not given any indication of the way forward.


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