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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 5 Hansard (9 May) . . Page.. 1373..


Mrs Burke: Just talk about the promises, then.

MR STANHOPE: The first rule, Mrs Burke, is if you are going to use statistics or if you are going to tell a lie, tell a whopper. So there is rule 1, Mrs Burke. You are following on dutifully, of course, from your leader in relation to the utilisation of this particular rule book. Grabbing numbers like $276 million out of the ether falls fairly and squarely within rule 1 of the Liberal Party rule book—if you are going to tell a lie, tell a whopper. Of course, then you go straight to rule 2, Mrs Burke. We see you run straight to rule 2, just like your leader did. Of course, when you are struggling, when you are not up to the job, when you are really in strife or when you have painted yourself into a corner and you feel you have to lie to get out of it, go straight to rule 1.

Mrs Burke: On a point of order, Mr Speaker. Really, it is a matter of relevance under 118 (a). Can the Chief Minister come to the supplementary question, which was: Chief Minister, as the aggregate of these outstanding election promises is $276 million by your figures, what advice did Mr Costello provide to the ACT government about not proceeding with some of these promises? It is simple.

MR SPEAKER: Mrs Burke, to be fair, the Chief Minister was referring to the $276 million.

MR STANHOPE: Mr Speaker, in responding to questions such as that, it needs to be said up front that I have yet to see a single number that a single member of the opposition has ever utilised as representing the truth that I have been prepared to take as the truth. We saw this particularly last week. I would have thought that one week after Mr Smyth's confected $390 million deficit—an absolutely complete fabrication—to have Mrs Burke now stand up and throw around figures like $276 million is, of course, not something that I am going to accept as a given or take at all. So let us just clear that up for a start. I do not accept that number, although that does not mean that it will not, of course, be run vigorously all through the media. In response to the question, I have given this government's position in relation to the promises we have made.

Education—preschools

MR SESELJA: My question is to the Minister for Education and Training. Minister, eight preschools in the ACT do not have the minimum enrolment numbers required to keep operating as full-time preschools. What criteria do you currently use in determining whether a preschool will close, either permanently or temporarily, and are you currently consulting with the community about changing these criteria in coming years?

MR BARR: I thank the member for the question. I do not have that detail in front of me, so I will take the first part of the question on notice. In relation to the second part, yes, the government will be engaging in a consultation process. I have announced that before in this chamber. It will begin post the budget, next month. It will encompass everything from preschools all the way through to secondary colleges in the provision of education across the territory.

As I have said before, I believe that we need to be examining how we provide our educational resources in order to achieve the best possible outcome for students across


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