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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 05 Hansard (Wednesday, 23 August 1995) . . Page.. 1326 ..


the legislation that an appropriate process has to be followed, which was not followed at Canberra Grammar School three years ago and which was not followed at Canberra Girls Grammar just recently.

It is the right of anybody in our society to have a reasonable appeal mechanism. Mr Stefaniak drew attention to the fact that the Catholic schools have reworked their appeal mechanisms since I originally introduced this legislation, and I believe that was an entirely appropriate system. If through the tabling of this piece of legislation the independent schools also have a reasonable appeals mechanism, then I will have achieved what I set out to do, even if this legislation fails. As some people say, there is more than one way to skin a cat.

It seems to me that natural justice is the most important issue being dealt with by this legislation, and it is access to natural justice through a cheap and accessible mechanism. That is what this legislation can provide, and I must say that I am very disappointed that members have not supported it. If the independent schools do not rapidly move to set up a reasonable appeal mechanism, then I shall be introducing this legislation yet again, and I will continue to do so until there is such community outrage at young people’s futures being ruined by an arbitrary decision - a decision that cannot be challenged - that members see the need for the legislation. I hope that situation does not occur, because, if it does occur, it means that some young people have suffered and their future has suffered. Going into the work force or on to further study and then into the work force, having been expelled from a private school, particularly in Year 11 or Year 12, is not something a person can wear easily. It is not a minor issue, and when the situation has been dealt with arbitrarily, as was done at Canberra Grammar just over three years ago, then it is appropriate that the appeal mechanisms be accessible. They are not accessible for ordinary people through the Supreme Court. If the appeal mechanisms are put in place, then, although I will have lost this legislation, I will have achieved what I set out to do.

Question put:

That this Bill be agreed to in principle.

The Assembly voted -

AYES, 1

NOES, 15

Mr Moore

Mr Berry

Mr Kaine

Mrs Carnell

Ms McRae

Mr Connolly

Mr Osborne

Mr Cornwell

Mr Stefaniak

Mr De Domenico

Ms Tucker

Ms Follett

Mr Whitecross

Mr Hird

Mr Wood

Ms Horodny

Question so resolved in the negative.


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