Page 788 - Week 03 - Wednesday, 6 April 2022
Mr Acting Speaker, this minister must go. The Chief Minister knows it. The Labor Party know it. The Greens know it. This minister must go. Whilst I do not hold any high hopes, I implore the Greens today: you have put your political alliance with the Labor Party above the community time and again. If you do not vote for this motion, you are responsible. You are responsible for endorsing this minister’s failures, her atrocious failures, to keep our students, our teachers and our school communities safe. It would be an appalling decision, an unconscionable decision, not to support this motion. How many other students, how many other teachers, how many other school staff need to be injured, hurt, abused, humiliated and assaulted before the Greens will stand up to their Labor colleagues, and stand with us to say this is unacceptable?
Each day this minister continues to be left in charge of the education portfolio is a day that compromises the safety of our students. Each day this minister continues to be left in charge of the education portfolio is a day that puts our teachers at risk. The minister has failed to ensure that we have enough teachers and the right school infrastructure to support our growing population. The systemic violence and an unsafe working environment in our schools has been the reality under this minister for five years.
If the horrific incidents that are described in the WorkSafe prohibition notice were happening in any other workplace, under the watch of any other person responsible, there would be some serious consequences. The person responsible would be held accountable and the full weight of the law and the full weight of the community outrage and disgust would come down on them. The minister must be held to no lower a standard and she must be held accountable.
The Labor and the Greens members in this chamber must draw a line right here, right now. Is the government that you are a part of going to stand there and accept systemic violence and unsafe working conditions in our schools as a reality? Is the government that you are a part of going to stand there and not take any action whilst we have teachers abused and assaulted in their workplace? Is the government you are a part of going to stand there whilst students are told not to come to school because it is not safe? Or will you stand and send a strong message to our community that this is deplorable, that this is unacceptable, and take action to stop it? If you do not take a stand, you are failing every single Canberran that has given us the privilege of being in this place to be their voice, for those who need it, when they need it most.
The minister must resign. If she does not, the Chief Minister must demand her resignation. As a society we cannot stand to one side and do nothing. We cannot unsee what we have seen and we cannot unhear what we have heard. What we have seen and what we have heard has no place in our community. I commend my motion to the Assembly.
MS BERRY (Ginninderra—Deputy Chief Minister, Minister for Early Childhood Development, Minister for Education and Youth Affairs, Minister for Housing and Suburban Development, Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence, Minister for Sport and Recreation and Minister for Women) (10.16): I might go through some of the work that has been happening in our ACT schools under my