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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2004 Week 04 Hansard (Tuesday, 30 March 2004) . . Page.. 1260 ..

obtain a licence from the NHMRC. The Victorian, Queensland, South Australian and New South Wales parliaments have passed nationally consistent legislation to support the COAG scheme. Relevant legislation has been introduced into the Western Australian parliament and is expected to be introduced into the Northern Territory parliament before the end of the year.

The Human Embryo (Research) Bill 2004 establishes an appropriate balance between a need to enable potential lifesaving research and the imposition of the oversight and sanctions necessary to ensure ethical research practice. I commend the bill to the Assembly.

Debate (on motion by Mr Smyth) adjourned to the next sitting.

Education Bill 2003

Debate resumed from 27 November 2003, on motion by Ms Gallagher:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

MR PRATT (11.44): I rise to commend, hesitantly, the government and the minister for education, Ms Gallagher, for formulating and presenting the Education Bill 2003, a bill that I am sure we all realise is one that affects the whole Canberra community. My hesitance in congratulating the government is reflected in the number of amendments that I will be proposing today. I realise that I will have a chance to speak later on each of the amendments that I will be proposing, but I will take this opportunity to outline these amendments to represent my comments on the Education Bill as a whole.

The amendments were formulated in consultation with stakeholders from Catholic, non-Catholic and independent school associations and union and P&C associations. While we may not agree with all of the comments put forward by each of the stakeholders, we have certainly found strengths in every single group’s arguments. We have endeavoured therefore to take on board those strong points and will seek to amend the bill accordingly.

Mr Speaker, the amendments proposed today by the Liberal opposition include: an addition that corporal punishment does not include the use of reasonable physical force to prevent physical injury to a person—self-defence or defending another person who may be in danger of physical injury; an addition stating that schools should be safe learning environments for students—also reflected in the non-government schools sector; an addition about the responsibility of schools for assisting in the character development of students—also reflected in the non-government schools sector; and an addition about principals also being responsible for assisting in the character development of students.

There is a requirement that the chief executive include in the annual report details about the number of complaints received and those investigated for government schools. The next one is about changing the review period of government school effectiveness from five years to four years. The next amendments are that the community have input to the review of the operation of government schools; that this review, in appropriate and general form, be made available to the members of the Legislative Assembly; and that secular school education in government schools shall include the study of different

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