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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 4 Hansard (4 May) . . Page.. 1267..


MR SESELJA (continuing):

Mr Speaker, based on what Mr Gentleman said in his speech, he does not care about the high rates of suicide amongst young men in the territory, with suicide being the leading cause of death amongst men; he does not care about suicide rates being four times higher amongst men compared with women and does not think that is an issue; he does not care about falling education standards for boys; and he does not care about the high rates of incarceration amongst men and boys, with 90 per cent of all prisoners being male.

These are serious issues and Mr Gentleman, by unquestioningly taking up the WEL line, just demonstrates that he does not stand for anything and does not actually think through what he says before he gets up in this place. I think that is unfortunate; it really is unfortunate. I go back to Mr Gentleman's attitude towards women, and I think particularly of pregnant women. Mr Gentleman got up in this place and attacked me over not being at committee meetings. In fact, one committee meeting that he attacked me for missing was the committee meeting that confirmed the minutes of the previous meeting, which was the committee meeting I missed the day after my wife gave birth to our third son.

So Mr Gentleman's attitude towards women is that men should not support their wives during these times, that we should go to meaningless committee meetings that confirm the minutes of previous meetings. That has been Mr Gentleman's stance in the past. Mr Gentleman, of course, voted against Mr Pratt's bill which would have protected pregnant women from violence. So what is his attitude towards women? He can stand by that record. He can go to the electorate and say, "That is my attitude towards pregnant women. That is my attitude towards women."

Mr Speaker, the Women's Electoral Lobby, if this is the best attack dog they can produce, are really struggling. Maybe they will have to write a better speech for him next time; but, if this is the best that they can produce, that is pathetic. The speech yesterday was pathetic. I stand by my record. I will continue to take up issues that affect men and women and it is not an attack on women to take up issues that affect men particularly, just as it is not an attack on men to take up issues that affect women particularly. That argument is pathetic and hopeless. I would love to hear Mr Gentleman justify why he thinks that is a good argument. I await the next instalment of his fascinating, scintillating and well thought out speeches!

Schools—closures

MRS DUNNE (Ginninderra) (6.21): In August of last year I challenged the Chief Minister, Mr Stanhope, to produce evidence to support his claims for the superiority of large schools such as the superschool they were proposing for Belconnen. As we know, Mr Stanhope did not take up that challenge, nor did he attend any of the public meetings to discuss the development of a superschool in Belconnen, even though it was to be in the heart of his electorate—unlike you and I, Mr Speaker.

I do not think that the families of west Belconnen appreciated being patronised by Mr Stanhope, who accused them of not acting in the best interests of their children by objecting to his collectivist views on education. We now have a new broom and we have new commitments to openness and consultation from the new education minister. There are many things that Mr Barr will need to take into consideration when he is looking at


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