Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 08 Hansard (Wednesday, 18 August 2010) . . Page.. 3551 ..
probably flex their muscle. I think they would probably demand the things that we are seeing on this table today—the very things that Mr Seselja has highlighted in his motion today.
The hypocrisy that I spoke about earlier, about the Greens’ four-wheel drive, is of course not dissimilar to the hypocrisy we are seeing with regard to their policy on private education. This is a policy which, as the ALP education minister rightly said, is one that is vague and one where the Greens are trying to walk both sides of the street. It is absolutely vital that the people of Canberra, when they are making a decision on Saturday about the future of the Australian Capital Territory and the future of education for the 40-odd per cent of Canberrans that go to a private school, know exactly what they are voting for and exactly what the consequences will be should Lin Hatfield Dodds become Senator Hatfield Dodds. I think that is a worrying concern and it is something that the people of Canberra have a right to know.
Yet here we have the moral preachers of the Greens refusing to actually give us answers on whether they stand by their policy, or whether the policy is in fact a sham. Either what they are saying is a sham or the policy is a sham. It can only be one of the two—it has got to be one of the two. Unfortunately, the people of Canberra simply do not know and they simply cannot make a judgement about the future of the 40-odd per cent of Canberra’s students that are going to a private school at the moment. What would happen if those 40-odd per cent were to move across into the public system? What would that mean for taxpayers? What would that mean for all the schools in Canberra and the teacher to student ratios? It would have a devastating effect. It would have a devastating effect for the Canberra taxpayer, a devastating effect for our budget and indeed a devastating effect for the future of the territory.
On Saturday, Canberrans will have a choice before them. It is a choice to preserve the economic integrity that the Liberal Party brings to the Senate or to take that economic integrity for granted and to bring about a Senate controlled by people that are socialists in everything but name—so much socialists in fact that the Socialist Alliance used to preference them, number two after its own candidates. I am sure the Greens are lamenting that the Socialist Alliance is not running this time round—it would have been great to have done some joint press conference with James Vassilopoulos and Senator Hatfield Dodds to be, perhaps. But, alas, that is not going to happen. No longer can we have the Socialist Alliance and the Greens candidates as one standing for the Senate.
It is time for the ACT to find out the truth about the Greens. It is time for the Greens to tell the people of Canberra what is actually going to be their education policy and whether they are actually going to cut $60 million from private schools.
MR SMYTH (Brindabella) (4.56): Madam Assistant Speaker, there are important issues here, and the issues do need to be resolved. The leader of the Greens, Bob Brown, spoke at the Press Club today and was asked specifically whether this was his policy. He ducked and wove and did not answer the question. What happens if you go to the Greens’ website if you are an ordinary voter out there and you are seeking information about what the Greens stand for? During question time today, I downloaded the Australian Greens’ policy, issued in March 2010, from