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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 04 Hansard (Tuesday, 1 May 2007) . . Page.. 746 ..

boundaries and the parameters for the use of credit cards and expenditure under credit cards. These are guidelines that the Auditor-General found to be appropriate and adequate.

MR SMYTH: The Chief Minister obviously did not hear my question, because I asked about the processes, so the supplementary is: what actual action have you taken to address the issues raised by and to apply the recommendations made by the Auditor-General in her report on credit card use, hospitality and sponsorship within ACT government departments?

MR STANHOPE: As I indicated in answer to earlier questions, this is becoming incredibly repetitive, as is this wholesale assault on the reputation of ACT public servants without justification, and in a way it really is an indictment of this opposition’s attitude to our public servants. The government has received the report. I have, as I have indicated on a number of occasions, sought assurances from my senior executives or chief executives in relation to credit card use and received the assurances that I believe appropriate.

Education—national testing

MS PORTER: My question, through you, Mr Speaker, is to the minister for education. Following the recent meeting of the education ministers in Darwin, can you update the Assembly on national testing?

MR BARR: I thank Ms Porter for one of the very few questions of some import on public policy in today’s question time.

Mr Pratt: You cannot understand why.

MR SPEAKER: Mr Pratt, I warn you.

MR BARR: Thank you, Mr Speaker. This is one of the most important education issues facing all jurisdictions at this point in time. It was one of the major issues that were debated at the recent education ministers meeting in Darwin.

Unfortunately, the commonwealth has not approached this issue of national testing constructively. They have called on or legislated for states and territories to introduce a national testing regime. When it came to the detail of implementing this scheme, they neglected to address some very important issues. These tests are a massive undertaking, and the commonwealth government has manifestly failed to provide the necessary start-up funding for the testing and has not worked out how the data produced by the national testing should be handled.

Without sufficient safeguards in place, the privacy of ACT students and their results may well be affected by the proposals that the commonwealth is putting forward. For that reason, I and other state and territory education ministers were not prepared to support the commonwealth’s proposals, as they did not protect the privacy of ACT students.

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