Page 4008 - Week 14 - Wednesday, 24 October 1990

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have a chance to stand up and be counted. Some of them have made it clear that they do not support the Government's decisions. I might add that we have never seen them on their feet in this chamber expressing a view one way or the other. We are told that only five of the 10 Government members support the school closures program and that 12 out of 17 - - -

Mr Duby: It is not true.

MR WOOD: It is not true?

Mr Duby: No, it is at least six!

MR WOOD: At least six, so you put yourself in that position; that is fine. But 11, maybe, of the members of this Assembly do not want schools to close. Some time ago we in the Labor Party endeavoured to introduce a Bill to prevent this, but we were prevented from doing so because of interpretations of the standing orders and the Australian Capital Territory (Self-Government) Act. This motion does not provide a requirement that the Government has to proceed not to close the school, but it does make a very powerful statement that the Government cannot overlook.

I would say to those people on the other side of the house who have said words of sympathy to the various school communities, including Weetangera - people like Ms Maher who is not here today, Mr Jensen and maybe others - that when the vote is taken I hope that they vote in favour of this motion. If they have ever indicated any support for the schools in their battle, if they vote in favour of this motion they will give such a powerful message to the Government that it cannot be ignored.

MR COLLAERY (Attorney-General) (10.35): Mr Speaker, Mr Wood has spoken in this debate for 15 minutes, and I guess he has spoken for hours and hours on this issue to date. Much of it is useful and reasoned debate. But the Labor Party has not concentrated on explaining to us its commitment on school closures. It had a pre-election policy, Mr Speaker, which I have read into the record before and which has always produced considerable agitation on the other side of the house.

Mr Wood: Not at all.

MR COLLAERY: It is this sort of agitation, Mr Speaker. Thank you, Mr Wood.

Mr Wood: Is that agitation?

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