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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 2 Hansard (17 February) . .

Page.. 397..


MS BURCH: Yes.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Mrs Jones.

MRS JONES: Minister, have you been given or have you read a copy of the chairman's report provided to the ORS on the matter?

MS BURCH: No.

Schools—safety

MR DOSZPOT: My question is to the Minister for Education and Training. Minister, I refer to the situation where a convicted criminal without a working with vulnerable people check visited ACT schools through a program facilitated by a community organisation. A number of school principals have stated they would not have allowed the individual to engage with children in their schools had they been aware of the individual's criminal history. In fact, it would seem to be illegal for them to have allowed this person to engage with students. Minister, can you explain who is responsible for ensuring school grounds are safe and visitors have working with vulnerable people checks when applicable?

MS BURCH: I am sure Mr Doszpot feels better for asking that question. A school has strong systems in place for organisations and volunteers that come into their grounds but, as I said in my statement, I have no hesitation in asking ETD to go back and review those, as I am sure other organisations across this city will be doing.

Again, I will stand here and make comment that Menslink is a good organisation that does good things. This narrative, this conversation, actually puts that reputation at risk. I ask you all just to think about and reflect on that. Again, you are taking the lowest, the cheapest and the nastiest political shot at me, through my son and through a good-standing community organisation. If that is the tenor of your leadership, Mr Hanson, well, let it rest on your shoulders, because the community I talk to are appalled by what you are doing.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Mr Doszpot.

MR DOSZPOT: Minister, is this a one-off situation or are you aware of any other circumstance where convicted criminals have attended ACT schools without having the necessary working with vulnerable people checks?

MS BURCH: I am not aware of any; nor can I account for the families of the 72,000-odd students that are in our schools across the ACT. If I hear one more word from the Canberra Liberals about supporting vulnerable people and seeking to restore troubled young men onto the road to the straight and narrow—what a bunch of hypocrites each one of you are.

MADAM SPEAKER: Withdraw. Minister Burch, withdraw.

MS BURCH: I will withdraw "hypocrite".


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