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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 03 Hansard (Wednesday, 2 April 2008) . . Page.. 896 ..


very concerned about that. If they could have found another school where they could allow their 12-year-old girl to continue to develop like all 12-year-olds should in their last year of primary school, they clearly wanted to do that. That is a major issue which I wait to see the government discuss if that chance comes up today.

The issue of Lyons has been debated broadly. We are very concerned. There has been a strong debate about that. We hope that the students finishing at Lyons this year will be able to go through their school year without disruption. I am deeply concerned that the same fate that seems to be materialising at Lyons may also befall Isabella Plains primary, which is destined to become a P-2 school. Let us see what happens there.

We have talked about the drift in this place. This was the major reason why the Leader of the Opposition conducted his forum. We had a very good forum conducted in the Tuggeranong Valley. Coming out of that forum was clearly the issue that teachers are not getting the support that they need. There is a lot of support from the community for teachers, but there is a feeling that the teachers are not getting the backup that they deserve.

Today, we talked about discipline. As the Leader of the Opposition said, “We don’t want to harp on about discipline.” But we do need to bang on about the development of personal discipline. It is essential. It is essential for the character development of our young kids that a school have some sort of discipline environment. Contrary to Mr Mulcahy’s colourful interjection, that does not mean military uniforms at school; it simply means the development of a culture and environment in the school where everybody respects everybody else and we allow kids to develop the personal discipline that they need to get through the school day, to get home and get their homework done, and to get back. These are deep concerns that we have at the moment, and these issues are not being properly attended to.

On the question of discipline, we note Mr Mulcahy’s shock horror comments about the dreadful “discipline” word and those terrible right-wing Liberals. Oh, how Genghis Khan Mulcahy has converted so quickly on the road to Damascus, to Vladimir Ilich Lenin Mulcahy. We have seen a rapid conversion there. No substance—just a laughing stock. I can assure Mr Mulcahy that the Liberal Party are not a bunch of right-wing Tories wanting to turn our schools into penitentiaries, but he seems to have that fear trembling away down there.

Today we have also talked about violence. Violence in schools is an issue. We have talked about the most recent case in Calwell high school. Mr Barr has said that he did not make the comments the Canberra Times said that he stated about there being no violence in schools.

Mr Barr: Yes. They got it off the ABC, who have apologised.

MR PRATT: We will see about that. I also refer to the other record of this government in relation to bullying and violence. Until 12 months ago, the track record of this government on dealing with bullying and violence in ACT schools was reactive rather than preventative. Further, there have been ongoing acts of violence that we have talked about here today and the feedback we have continually gotten


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