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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 4 Hansard (4 May) . . Page.. 1211..


MR STANHOPE (continuing):

It is an enormous opportunity, when one contemplates it, that is now being provided by the ACT government, through the government school system most particularly in the first instance, to our high-achieving science and maths students to participate in courses presented within the greatest research and teaching university in the Southern Hemisphere. It is an enormous and unparalleled opportunity which our students now have available to them through the pursuit of this initiative by the ACT department of education and the ACT government. The fields for this year will be mathematics, chemistry and physics. One hopes that, if this particular project is successful, in the future it will be able to expand the range of courses that will be available.

Students that are members of the ANU secondary college will receive ANU credits for the units that they study there—in fact, credits for when they continue their studies post college or school, if they decide to pursue degrees at the Australian National University. It is an indication of how significant this particular proposal is that students successfully completing their courses of study at this particular college will receive, from the Australian National University, credits within their undergraduate degree courses, should they pursue an undergraduate degree at the Australian National University. The completed program will count towards a university admissions index for those students.

The ANU secondary college will not only extend our talented students academically but will almost certainly expand their horizons. It will introduce them to new ideas, to new mentors and hopefully develop for them a life-long love of learning and, most specifically, acknowledge some of the difficulties that we as a nation have had in attracting our best students to science and mathematics and to courses that flow from the science and mathematics professions and that may result in a great boom for us, as a community, the Australian National University, as a university, and Australia, as a nation. It is a fantastic new project. I am hoping that it will be successful. I cannot imagine that it will not be. It is a credit, I believe, to the ACT government, and certainly to the department of education and the Australian National University.

Policing—counter-terrorism legislation

MR PRATT: Mr Speaker, my question is to the Chief Minister. Chief Minister, as you will recall, the AFP commissioner, Mick Keelty, appeared before an Assembly committee inquiry—a committee before which you also appeared—to discuss the ACT's counter-terrorism legislation. Despite the commissioner's many years of top level policing experience and his deep understanding of the development of extremism in this country, you dismissed his assessment of your proposed laws and subjected him to severe personal criticism. How do you justify harshly criticising the commissioner's highly experienced views on counter-terrorism laws? Why do you not take seriously the advice of experienced officers when the community's safety is at stake, just because it clashes with your own ideological views?

MR STANHOPE: I thank Mr Pratt for the question. As I indicated yesterday—and Mr Pratt has outlined the sequence of events—Commissioner Keelty was invited to present evidence to an ACT parliamentary committee. He presented a certain view and an opinion at that hearing. In his evidence, his opinion was to the effect that some differences between the effect and import of certain provisions within the ACT legislation had increased the risk of terrorists targeting the Australian Capital Territory. I


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