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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 06 Hansard (Wednesday, 23 June 2010) . . Page.. 2295 ..

do not repeat past mistakes. That is why the ACT Greens are today putting forward these amendments. I commend the amendments to the house.

MR BARR (Molonglo—Minister for Education and Training, Minister for Planning, Minister for Tourism, Sport and Recreation and Minister for Gaming and Racing) (4.06): The government will support amendment No 1 circulated by Ms Hunter. It does go to clarify some of the issues that we had concerns with in relation to the previously circulated proposals and does appear to create a practical and workable way.

Ms Hunter alluded in her closing remarks on all of the amendments to the fact that there will undoubtedly at some point in the future be a time when an education minister is required to consider whether a school needs to close. In my view, as I have said this morning, the reforms of 2006 in terms of their scale and the structural reform that has resulted from them are a once-in-a-lifetime set of reforms. I do not think anyone would anticipate that there would be such a structural change required again, unless there were no children born in the territory for a considerable amount of time. But that, one would imagine, is highly unlikely, Madam Assistant Speaker.

I do note the entirely predictable position of the Liberal opposition. If ever there was an example of when an opposition is opposing simply for opposition’s sake I think we have it today. Mrs Dunne gave the clearest indication of that. Simply because the government is supporting this legislation and I as education minister might be supporting this legislation of itself provides grounds to oppose it is possibly the best example of the mantra of opposition for opposition’s sake.

It is up there with “spending money on public education is throwing good money after bad”. Mrs Dunne has form in this area and she has given us possibly the best example ever. I hope that upstairs in the media offices, in Hansard and elsewhere there is a recording of Mrs Dunne’s statement in relation to this legislation, that the Liberal Party are opposing it because I am supporting it. That is, I think, something that needs to be on the public record. I hope that all of those who review this debate will understand now why it is that it is so firmly the view of the Labor Party that the opposition, the Canberra Liberals, are about a mantra of opposition for opposition’s sake. We see it very clearly demonstrated today.

MRS DUNNE (Ginninderra) (4.09): We heard the Andrew Barr standard response. He only has one response. It is not about opposition for opposition’s sake. The Canberra Liberals have a clear, unequivocal, longstanding track record about how communities should be consulted if a minister thinks that a school should be closed or amalgamated. And this bill is not it.

This bill is a pale imitation of what, over about six or seven years, the Canberra Liberals consistently stuck with. The Canberra Liberals, through its minister and in consultation with the P&C association, drew up a matrix, essentially, of how this consultation should be done. Some of that is reflected in this myriad collection of amendments that have come and gone, in and out, and some of it is not. The things that are not there are the things that require the minister to take account of the report. It says that the minister must create a committee, but it does not require the minister to take account of what the committee tells him about the communities.

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