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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 03 Hansard (Tuesday, 16 March 2010) . . Page.. 930 ..

Catholic education

MRS DUNNE (Ginninderra) (5.50): As time did not allow me during the debate on the matter of public importance, I would like to add my words in honour of Catholic Schools Week. I want to do this mainly because I am a product of the Catholic school system, and I take the point that Ms Le Couteur made during her speech about the theme of open minds, open hearts. I would like to pay tribute to the multitude of people who contributed to my education.

I received all of my education at St Carthage’s primary school in Lismore, at St Mary’s college, and the final years in cooperation between St Mary’s college and St Joseph’s Marist Brothers high school in Lismore. I would like to pay tribute to some of the great religious who formed me in my formative years: Sister Stanislaus, Sister Carthage, Sister Jude, Sister Charles, Mother Berchmans, who taught me trigonometry and geometry for a very long time, Sister Assumpta, Sister Maria Goretti, Sister Margaret, Sister Chanel, Sister Damian, Sister Josephine, Brother Kenneth, Brother Coleman, Brother Paul and Brother Kevin. They all contributed significantly to my education and to the education of thousands of others in Lismore.

At the same time, I want to pay tribute to the Catholic schools in my electorate: St Michael’s in Kaleen, which has a number of functions this week; the school that my older children attended, St Monica’s in Evatt, whose fete it is on Saturday—and as the former convenor of the jam stall there, I have a particular fondness for their fete—St Thomas Aquinas in Charnwood, which, as other members have spoken about, is participating in the “charny carny” on Saturday; St John the Apostle’s in Florey, St Vincent’s, Aranda, St Matthew’s in Page and the Holy Spirit school at Gold Creek, along with St Francis Xavier high school in Florey.

These schools have made a significant contribution to the lives of people in the ACT over many years and often through considerable adversity. My colleague Mr Doszpot touched on the issues of funding and the funding ratios for schools in the ACT. It has long been the case that non-government schools generally and Catholic schools in particular in the ACT do very badly in the funding formula with the combination of commonwealth funding and ACT funding. ACT parents do make substantial contributions out of their own pockets to the education of their children in these schools and other schools like it across the ACT.

I wish to pay tribute to all the teachers and principals of those schools and the parents who contribute so much through their fees and their support of the Catholic education system through their support of fetes and through volunteering for sport and other community activities around the schools. I also want to pay tribute to the children of those schools. I hope that they have as beneficial an education and appreciate their education as much as those of us who have gone before them had and do.

I commend the Catholic education system for the work that has been done for well over a century in this country to create a great education for millions of people and for contributing to erasing many social differences in this country through its great contribution to education.

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