Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 08 Hansard (Wednesday, 18 August 2010) . . Page.. 3559 ..
of literacy and numeracy outcomes, and providing that additional targeted support through the national partnerships program and through the range of other policy interventions—the low SES national partnership, for example—all of those areas that the federal and ACT governments have been working on for some time now.
I am very pleased with what I have heard from Ms Hunter this afternoon. Again the opportunity is now open for the Liberals’ education spokesperson to come down and also agree that we move beyond the public versus private debate. The Prime Minister has set the agenda here. We agree as an ACT government; the Greens now agree; and if the Canberra Liberals agree, then I think we have a way forward that new funding for schools should be targeted where the greatest need is. Clearly, from the report of the Assembly committee into addressing the equity and achievement gap within ACT schools and the available data we have through NAPLAN, targeted new funding is required in the new schools funding arrangement, most particularly for public schools but also for some Catholic schools and some independent schools. That is evidence-based policy, and I welcome what I believe to be an important breakthrough in education policy here in the Assembly this afternoon.
Having said that, if this clarity can extend to the Australian Greens’ policy position—that is the second part of my amendment—then I think this small consensus that appears to have emerged in the ACT parliament might indeed lead to an important breakthrough in the federal schools debate. That would be another example of where this jurisdiction shows national leadership and where this Assembly can come together in the new form of politics that we are all calling for and all seeking to achieve. If it has to be done on the eve of an election, then you take the opportunities when they arise.
What we have seen this afternoon from the Greens is a significant move in their policy position. It is to be acknowledged and welcomed as an important advance in education policy debate in this country. We look forward to seeing a similar reaffirmation of the position that Senator Brown put only three days ago and that Lin Hatfield Dodds so courageously put a week ago in indicating a change and leading the way for the Greens party away from their highly ideological position of March of 2010 and a welcome step into the mainstream of education policy debate.
Lin Hatfield Dodds is to be congratulated for taking that important step and for being willing to engage in such a debate. It now falls on the Liberal Party to see whether they are prepared to join with Labor and the Greens in this important education policy debate.
MR SMYTH (Brindabella) (5.23): I think it is important that members understand what Senator Brown did say at the press club this afternoon. I will just read three paragraphs from his speech. Senator Brown quotes Professor Richard Teese from the University of Melbourne from an article in the Age on Monday:
It is a failed vision of public schooling that subjects the Labor Party to the indignity of scavenging on the scrapheap of failed educational reform. The Greens, by contrast, start from the premise that public schooling is intrinsically valuable and the best vehicle to engage all children. They want a public system that is "recognised as among the best in the world". Can either of the big parties