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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 10 Hansard (15 September) . .

Page.. 3003..


Mr Hanson: On a point of order.

MADAM SPEAKER: A point of order, Mr Hanson.

Mr Hanson: The question, as Mr Coe outlined on relevance, remains, Madam Speaker. The question is whether the staff visited, and the minister is refusing to answer that question. She is refusing to be relevant, and I ask that she be directly relevant. It is a simple yes or no, Madam Speaker.

MADAM SPEAKER: I asked the minister to be directly relevant. She repeated herself, but I do not know that she was directly relevant. I cannot hold her down and make her answer the question in the way Mr Hanson or Mr Wall might like. Have you finished your answer to the question, minister?

MS BURCH: Yes, I have.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Mr Wall.

MR WALL: Minister, did any specialist staff member visit a classroom which adjoins the room in which the cage was placed between 10 March and 27 March this year?

MS BURCH: I really am not trying to be evasive, although I know you will go into a chorus of laughing over there. There were members of an NSET team that visit schools. There were also teachers at that school, clearly, that sighted that structure and did not respond accordingly. If you want to refer to them as specialist teachers, you may. Clearly, the principal alone made the decision. There were others within that school—and this remains a very sad point for me—that did not respond accordingly. That is a failure of their behaviour and they will be dealt with.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Mr Doszpot.

MR DOSZPOT: Minister, did the school in question request specialist staff support for the student prior to the construction of the cage?

MS BURCH: As I understand it, there was conversation between the school and the NSET team but in the end the principal did not exhaust and seek the level of advice that they ought to have in determining to put this structure in the place. Why that is so, I do not know. I fail to understand how you would not access the resources there.

The investigation found that the principal themselves made that decision and did not escalate this to the point that—the unanswered question is: how would an experienced principal put this into place? That is the unanswered question. The principal themselves have said that they made that decision.

MADAM SPEAKER: Supplementary question, Mr Doszpot.

MR DOSZPOT: Minister, do any specialist staff routinely visit the classroom in which the cage was in place?


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