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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 13 Hansard (13 December) . . Page.. 4124..


DR FOSKEY (continuing):

to inform members of the results, primarily the preference deal done by both major parties, which again made the mistake of believing—as perhaps they did at the 2004 federal election—that Family First would not get across the line. Nonetheless, with only 1.9 per cent of the vote Steve Fielding is now in the Senate.

We now have the DLP of old which most people thought had died. The DLP has two seats in the upper house of the Victorian parliament. People would be aware that for the first time ever there is proportional representation in Victoria, and that has the potential of delivering a parliament that is reflective of the basic make-up of the community. There is no doubt that that would not have happened if the DLP had to get in on its first preference votes. In northern metropolitan the DLP got in with 5.1 per cent of the vote and in western Victoria it got in with 2.6 per cent of the vote. Quite clearly the Labor Party's preference deals got the DLP over the line.

We will witness an interesting situation in Victoria where a new and modern Labor Party now has to deal with a flank that it threw off or pulled itself away from many years ago. The assumption was that the DLP, which had become irrelevant, had rolled over and died, but apparently that is not the case. In fact, it has been given oxygen by the party that has most to lose from its presence, that is, the Australian Labor Party.

Schools—closures

MRS DUNNE (Ginninderra) (6.09): Today there has been discussion in this place about school closures, so I will take off my hat as shadow minister for education and put on my hat as a parent. One of the amendments to the school amalgamations policy today—in many ways it is a small tragedy but presumably it is of no significance to Mr Barr—was Mr Barr's decision to take steps that would significantly undermine the Italian bilingual program at Lyons primary school.

Lyons primary school, which is a small school, has been threatened with closure on a number of occasions. Before I, as a parent, came to be associated with Lyons primary school—and this is probably the reason I am there now as a parent—the communities decided they needed to do something to address falling enrolments. They looked at their strengths and their weaknesses and discovered that they had some huge strengths when it came to the Italian language. So they put together a program that was highly praised by eminent linguists across the country and highly supported by Dr Joseph Lo Bianco, one of the great advocates of bilingualism and language education in Australia.

The program that was put together has now been running at Lyons primary school for its second full year as an immersion bilingual Italian program. In the small print of today's proposal it is sad to note that at some stage Mr Barr proposes to move the bilingual program to another unspecified school, therefore possibly losing its central location which makes it attractive to people. If the program is moved from Lyons in that process what effect would that have on the survival of an emerging program?

I remind members of the Assembly what Mr Barr said about the Lyons primary school program on 7 June this year. I referred to particular programs in schools facing closure or amalgamation and asked him what support would be offered to bilingual programs at Telopea and Lyons. He said, amongst other things, that he thought the


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