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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2012 Week 5 Hansard (3 May) . . Page.. 1955..

whether or not the two match up. Therefore, it is highly relevant for him to answer whether or not that particular policy, which was voted for by the Chief Minister, forms part of their excellence and enterprise policy.

Mr Hargreaves: On the point of order, Mr Speaker.

MR SPEAKER: Yes, Mr Hargreaves.

Mr Hargreaves: The preamble may have addressed that but the actual question said, "Did the minister vote a certain way at an ALP conference?"It was quite specific.

MR SPEAKER: Thank you, members. On the point of order, I think there is a well recognised form in this place that ministers are not required to answer questions about their party matters and House of Representatives Practice is quite clear about that as well. Mr Coe, I would invite you to reframe your question. You are clearly able to ask about the excellence framework.

MR COE: Sure. Minister, does the government's excellence and enterprise policy encompass a view that the growth of private education has facilitated the fragmentation of Australia's children along ethnic, cultural and particularly religious lines?

DR BOURKE: The answer to this question is that it is our policy to encourage choice—choice by Canberra parents—and to facilitate that. That is what we do. There has been quite a bit of talk around here about the support that this government has been providing to Catholic and independent schools. Let me say that this comes off an historical low that was enforced by the previous Liberal government. We have progressively sustained increases beyond CPI over the last 10 years from just on $30 million to now just over $51 million of support for Catholic and independent schools in the ACT.

Mr Coe interjecting—

Mr Doszpot interjecting—

MR SPEAKER: Mr Coe! One moment. Stop the clock, thank you. I think the sort of comments that I am hearing across the chamber, like, "What are you on?"and "What did you have for breakfast?"are entirely unnecessary. I have given my views in this place before that personal derogatory comments are not okay. Mr Doszpot, you have a warning for those sorts of comments and, Mr Coe, you have a supplementary in a moment and you should not be interjecting. Dr Bourke, you have the floor.

DR BOURKE: They are clearly not interested in my answer, Mr Speaker.

MR SPEAKER: Mr Coe, you have a supplementary now.

MR COE: Minister, given those comments in respect of choice, why does the government fund ACT non-government schools at the lowest rate of all state and territory governments in the country?

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