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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 05 Hansard (Thursday, 24 August 1995) . . Page.. 1420 ..


QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE

Student Assessment

MS FOLLETT: I direct a question to the Minister for Education, Mr Stefaniak. I refer the Minister to the statement that he made in the Assembly yesterday evening concerning the assessment of a student. In that statement, Minister, you revealed for the first time, despite having had the best part of a dozen questions on the subject, that a letter had been sent from your office which gave advice on action that would be taken in relation to the assessment of a student. My question is: What was the action that was proposed to be taken in that letter, whom was the letter to, who signed the letter, and will you table it?

MR STEFANIAK: In relation to that question, Mr Speaker, the answer is no. I would refer Ms Follett to precedents set by her Government and especially, as I have said earlier in the piece, to the Privacy Act. In relation to the Privacy Act, Ms Follett, I think you would be well aware of similar situations where your Ministers last year regularly would invoke that Act, just as I think it is so important to do so for the benefit of the student, the school and everyone else here. If I could quote from Mr Lamont - - -

Mr Berry: I take a point of order. Mr Speaker, this Minister, all day yesterday, dodged the issue. He refused to answer questions. He has been asked a very straight question. We have made it very clear. All we want is an answer. We do not want the names and addresses. We just want an answer.

MR SPEAKER: The Minister, as far as I am concerned, is providing that answer. Continue, Mr Stefaniak.

MR STEFANIAK: In answer to Question No. 1262 in relation to a Housing Trust property, asked by Mr Cornwell, Mr Lamont said:

The question raises matters of principle in relation to the operation of the Privacy Act 1988 which was enacted for the purposes of protecting the rights of members of the community to personal privacy.

One of the purposes of the privacy legislation is to prevent the disclosure of personal information - - -

Mr Berry: Mr Speaker, I raise a point of order. This question is about ministerial interference in a matter related to education. The Minister's response is not relevant, and he should address himself to the question.

MR SPEAKER: I am afraid I have to overrule the point of order that it is not relevant. The Minister is referring - to the best of my ability, with the interjections and the noise - to the operations of the Privacy Act, which, as far as I am concerned, is relevant to this question. If it applied in a previous government, then it must apply in this Government, I would hope.


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