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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 9 Hansard (23 November) . . Page.. 2335..


MR SPEAKER: I think Mr Humphries's point of order can be upheld. I would caution Ms Follett. I appreciate that Ms Follett needs to indicate and to demonstrate, but I do think we are getting a little wide of the point here when we are getting down to specifics in relation to the matter of education. We will have an opportunity to debate the Appropriation Bill in full, I hope reasonably soon. I would ask you, Ms Follett, to be careful within the scope of your motion. Do not get too deeply into the question of education and debating that particular division of the Appropriation Bill. Certainly, reading your motion, it is very broad. I think it is debatable whether it could be used to debate, to the extent that you are, the education matter. I just caution you, please, in relation to this matter.

MS FOLLETT: (Extension of time granted) Mr Speaker, in addressing this motion, and I accept your guidance on the matter, I think it is reasonable for me to address, at least in passing, the contents of the Estimates Committee report which I am accusing the Government of ignoring. I believe that in the area of education there is no more arrogant defiance of the will of this Assembly than we have seen from the Government at the present time. I am very proud of our record in government on education. I do not believe the Liberals can have any pride whatsoever. As I have said, we funded and supported the pay rises for teachers. We supported and funded the reopening of schools the Liberals had closed. We still support keeping open those schools in the community which the community wants open and which the Liberals are now trying to close by stealth, strangling them to death, just as they have done with Charnwood High School.

This motion gives the Assembly another chance to say to the Government, "You must listen to the majority". We have heard Mr Humphries this morning introduce a motion on citizens-initiated referenda. He says that we must listen to what people are saying. But, by their very actions in relation to the Estimates Committee and in relation to the motion this Assembly passed on the Estimates Committee, we are seeing that they are just talk, that there is nothing beneath the rhetoric. This Government has no intention of listening to the majority. I think that is a serious matter in a parliament. The fact of the matter is that the Government does answer to this parliament and, when the parliament has indicated quite clearly its wishes, I expect the Government to adhere to those wishes. This is something we did in government, and where the Assembly had expressed a will it was carried out to the letter.

Mr De Domenico: Rubbish! Did you take on board every recommendation of every estimates committee? Of course you did not

MS FOLLETT: I will refer you to the motion on education that was carried in 1993. As a government, we adhered to that to the letter. I refer to other matters in the Estimates Committee report which were adhered to by the government of the day, by the Government I led. We are seeing people on the crossbenches squirming because they know that they are letting them off the hook. We are seeing this Government defy the will of the Assembly.

I also want to mention fairly briefly again the question of open and consultative government. If you look at consultation as a two-way process, as a consultative process - - -


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