Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 08 Hansard (Wednesday, 18 August 2010) . . Page.. 3547 ..
As I deliver this speech now, even though they have pledged that no money will be taken out of any Canberra private school, the Greens’ policy to reduce funding for non-government schools still remains on the Australian Greens’ website. It has been there for over six months and we have heard all sorts of reasons why that should not be taken into account. Even Mr Barr was alluding to the fact that that is not current policy.
We have not heard, if it is not current policy, why it is still there. Why, six months down the track, if they are so keen on making sure that the community knows what their policies are, do these idealistic individuals within our midst not point out to their counterparts in Canberra or their constituency, “This is not accurate; no, it is not on”? I have never heard any of our members in the Assembly point out the error of their policy or the fact that the policy is on there in error. John F Kennedy once said, “An error does not become a mistake unless you refuse to correct it.” And I believe that backs it up pretty well.
I stand by this motion’s thesis that the Greens’ policies mentioned in this motion are irresponsible and detrimental to our community. As we are fast approaching the federal election on 21 August, we, the Canberra Liberals, have drawn a line in the sand. Should the Greens have their wish, let it not be said that no-one cared or that no-one objected to these watermelon policies.
MR BARR (Molonglo—Minister for Education and Training, Minister for Planning, Minister for Tourism, Sport and Recreation and Minister for Gaming and Racing) (4.39): In short, having just read as much as I can of Senator Brown’s speech to the Press Club today, not having had the benefit of seeing the question and answer session and whether he was directly questioned on this matter, I have some sympathy with the amendment that you have moved, Madam Assistant Speaker Dunne. In fact, should the Liberals seek to amend the entirety of this motion to reflect something more along the lines of calling on the Greens to absolutely clarify their position then the government would be inclined to support such an amendment.
The comments I made earlier were based on written statements from Lin Hatfield Dodds, someone whom I hold in high regard and someone who, I believe, when she makes a statement outlining her position and the position of her party, is to be believed. And she did say, in a media statement on 10 August, that she welcomed the debate about getting the balance right and about supporting private and, in particular, less well-off independent and Catholic schools and ensuring that public schools are of the very best quality.
If that is the Greens’ position, and clearly that is different from what is on the website that goes back to March, I think it is entirely appropriate for this Assembly to seek some clarification in the context of this debate about exactly what the Greens’ position is. It would help if Ms Hunter, as education spokesperson, came down and repeated the comments of Ms Hatfield Dodds—
Mr Seselja: In Hansard would be pretty good, wouldn’t it?