Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2022 Week 03 Hansard (Thursday, 7 April 2022) . . Page.. 926 ..
MRS KIKKERT: My question is to the Minister for Education and Youth Affairs. Minister, yesterday you said that incidents like Calwell were very rare and that you take them very seriously. Unions are saying the opposite. Parents are stating the opposite. WorkSafe is saying the opposite and has now closed a school because of the risk of imminent harm. Worse still, the union has warned that this situation is not confined to one school but is across the system. Minister, how can the community possibly have faith in you when it is now proven that these incidents are not rare, that you have ignored warnings from teachers and the unions, and that the real problem was not revealed in your letter to parents?
MS BERRY: I will say again that the incident that we have been talking about in this place is a rare occurrence. You cannot compare all of the incidents that have been reported on RiskMan to this single incident. A physical assault is very different from the kind of yelling or swearing or bullying behaviour that we might experience here on a day-to-day basis. It is important to understand that there are differences in the reports that are made to RiskMan. All issues are required to be reported in RiskMan. We have encouraged a positive reporting culture within our schools, to understand the issues within our schools and whether there are systemic issues of physical violence or critical incidents like the one that we have been discussing this week. That is the purpose of RiskMan, so that the Education Directorate can support schools.
MRS KIKKERT: Minister, how do you respond to the unions, parents and WorkSafe, who are all saying the opposite to your assertions in this chamber and in public?
MS BERRY: That is not the case. I have not suggested that there are not incidents in our schools. I have suggested that this particular incident is rare in our schools. This kind of critical incident of significant physical assault is rare in our schools.
Mr Hanson: You didn’t mention “critical incident”. Now you’re saying that. That is not what you were saying.
MR ACTING SPEAKER: Mr Hanson, that’s enough.
MS BERRY: What I am saying is that all incidents are reported to RiskMan so that the Education Directorate can support schools. To suggest that I am saying something otherwise is unhelpful and it is not the case.
MR HANSON: Minister, with regard to fire extinguishers, communication with parents and the extent of violence in our schools, are you not across the reality of what is happening in schools or have you been lying to parents, to us and to the community?
Mr Gentleman: A point of order. You cannot call people liars across the chamber. It is unparliamentary.