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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 08 Hansard (Wednesday, 18 August 2010) . . Page.. 3548 ..

MR BARR: If she put it in Hansard and said very clearly that the Greens no longer support cutting funding from non-government schools in order to fund their policy priorities in other areas of education and, if that is the case—and that is, as I understand it, what Lin Hatfield Dodds has said and what Senator Brown said a few days later in relation to some specific questions on this matter—then my comments this morning stand, and this is an unjustified attack from the Liberal Party.

But if the Greens are not prepared to back up what Senator Hatfield Dodds—I am getting ahead of myself there—candidate Hatfield Dodds said on 10 August and what Senator Brown said a few days later, if that is no longer their position then they do need to declare that. So some clarity on the matter from the Greens party would be, I think, useful in aiding the Assembly to have an informed vote on the motion before us.

My comments are confined only to the education aspects of the original motion that has been moved by Mr Seselja. Unless some evidence is put before us to the contrary, Madam Assistant Speaker, the amendment that you have moved would appear to be a statement of fact and one that I think is quite reasonable for the Assembly to consider. But if it is contained within the rest of the motion, that does appear to be unnecessarily political and something that we do not agree with, then I do not believe the government could support that.

It could perhaps lead to the withdrawal of your amendment, Madam Assistant Speaker, if the Greens leader were to come down and reiterate the Greens’ policy as I believe it to be, as stated by Lin Hatfield Dodds and Bob Brown. I would not, of course, put words in your mouth, Madam Assistant Speaker, but it would be important to get some clarity on that matter, would it not? There is an opportunity for Ms Hunter to do that and to formally put on the record what the ACT Greens’ position is. Obviously, this level of government will be considering schools funding policy into the future as well.

Mr Smyth: I downloaded that at 3 o’clock.

MR BARR: Yes, indeed, and I downloaded the Greens’ policy this morning.

Mr Smyth: And there it is.

MR BARR: And there it is. And that is legitimate. It is still there in that context. I gave them the benefit of the doubt that they had more recent statements on the record, dated 10 August and 15 August.

Mr Coe: Foolish.

MR BARR: That may well have been foolish. But the opportunity is there in this debate for the Greens to come back into the chamber, for Ms Hunter to come back down, or for Mr Rattenbury, as he is sitting here, to clarify it once and for all so that the Assembly can make an informed decision on both this amendment and the substantive motion moved by Mr Seselja.

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