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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 06 Hansard (Wednesday, 23 June 2010) . . Page.. 2286 ..

give us back our school.” It was a special school in that it did not just serve the people of Tharwa and those further south; it did not just serve country kids or non-residential kids—

Mr Barr: How many kids?

MR SMYTH: it sought to serve those kids that did better in a small community. The minister asks how many kids. I am sure he will get up and tell us exactly how many kids. I am sure that he will enjoy doing that.

It is about the reason why we maintain small schools in all rural communities. It is not about the size of the school in a rural community; it is about the community. At the heart of those communities, in particular, are their schools. It is a place where those that live in the outlying areas can come together. In the case of Tharwa, it performed a very important function beyond just being a school.

Indeed it is encompassed in recommendation 13—the committee recommends that, “based on the basis of demographic, educational, social, and economic evidence”. That is the importance of a school, particularly like Tharwa, to its community. It was not just the Tharwa community; it went way beyond the Tharwa community. You had people travelling south out of Tuggeranong to go to Tharwa to drop their kids off, because they saw it as a better option for the needs of their kids.

On various occasions we get kids with special needs that need these sorts of environments. We see the continuing trend here where we have got a minister who will not meet with the Shepherd Centre and will not meet with Noah’s Ark to discuss the needs of those kids. We just abandon them.

The Greens had an opportunity to change that. The Greens had left people with the impression that they would change that. That impression was confirmed by recommendation 13 of the education committee report, and yet, when push came to shove, the Greens showed that they are the paper tigers of the Assembly. It is all about talk; it is all about process; it is not about better outcomes for the people of the ACT. In this case the people of Tharwa know that they did not get a better outcome because of what occurred in this place. So if you are looking for third party insurance, go and buy a different policy, because the Greens continue to perpetrate third party insurance fraud on the people of the ACT by saying that they stand for things but do not follow through when push comes to shove.

I do not know whether it is the education minister’s influence or whether the Treasurer talks to them to get them to walk away from things. Indeed even Ms Bresnan was hung out to dry by the Greens party machine. They say, “We’re not politicians; we’re different,” but, in the end, they are the worst, because it is hypocrisy to say that you stand for something and then, when you are given the opportunity and you have actually got the ability to change that outcome if you have got the courage, you walk away from it. That says you either do not have the courage, or you were not sincere when you started. The answer is probably both, and that is a shame.

What that says is: you can pass as much legislation as you want, but if you have not got the guts to follow through with it, the legislation is worthless. In this regard, this

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