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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 05 Hansard (Wednesday, 23 August 1995) . . Page.. 1349 ..


MR STEFANIAK: I would not think, Ms McRae, that situations like this would arise very frequently. Normally, with secondary studies the process goes very smoothly. It has been running for a long time and there are rarely appeals and, if there are, they are dealt with in the normal course of events. However, there are occasionally exceptional circumstances and exceptional cases, as there was apparently in January when a matter was heard directly by the Board of Senior Secondary Studies rather than through the normal college appeal system. I am never going to intervene - no Minister, I do not think, can intervene - in the substance of an assessment appeal, but occasionally procedural problems can arise and the department may give very strong advice that the normal processes may not be entirely applicable.

As I said yesterday, the interests of the child, the interests of the school and, I suppose, the interests of the system occasionally mean that some situations require a slightly different approach. There are precedents. It has occurred in the past. I certainly do not think there will be too many in the future; but, as a result of very good advice and discussions with the department, as I said yesterday, I took a certain course of action following departmental advice. That does not in any way affect the substance of any appeal process or anything like that; but I think it was essential that fairness to everyone, fairness to the system and the child particularly, be indeed paramount.

MS McRAE: I ask a supplementary question, Mr Speaker. Mr Stefaniak, would you please table the advice that you acted on and the evidence of the previous occurrences in which a Minister intervened and on what basis those previous Ministers intervened? It is in the interest of every child to score 10 As at Year 12. It is in the interest of every child to come out of the assessment process feeling good. Those are not reasons for a Minister to intervene. We must be informed objectively and openly why a Minister would intervene in what is an objective, neutral process which must be fair to everyone, and you have not provided that information.

MR SPEAKER: I do not know whether that is a supplementary question.

MS McRAE: I asked a question. I asked the Minister to table the advice.

Mr Stefaniak: What is your question?

MS McRAE: I will repeat my supplementary question. My specific question, which I had to expand because the Minister clearly does not understand what I am talking about - - -

Mr Stefaniak: Not really, no.

MS McRAE: The specific supplementary question was: Will the Minister table the advice that he has on previous ministerial interference, the instances and the reasons, plus the advice and the reasons for his intervening?


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