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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 10 Hansard (Tuesday, 21 September 2010) . . Page.. 4197 ..

The principal’s actions in this instance were intended to ensure that students were attending school during those hours. Under the department’s policy, principals have a responsibility to ensure that their schools are organised in a way that appropriately manages the duty of care and accounts for students’ absence from the classroom, from school buildings and from school grounds.

Obviously this matter has raised an important issue and I can say that I certainly support the intention, if not the strategy, of the principal in addressing the issues of truancy at his school and indicate that the department will work with him to develop appropriate strategies. I can advise the Assembly that the principal will not be pursuing the strategy of having signs displayed at the local shops refusing students service.

MR SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Mr Doszpot?

MR DOSZPOT: Thank you, Mr Speaker. Minister, what is the incidence of school truancy in the ACT and what is your government doing to stem that incidence?

MR BARR: Without any specified period to which the member refers, it is difficult to answer his question, other than to say that overall there are not any particularly alarming, high levels of truancy in the ACT. As I understand the situation compared with other jurisdictions, there is a very high level of school attendance in the territory, this is recorded in nationally comparable statistics for all jurisdictions, and that would be available for the shadow minister if he decided to do a little bit of research on that matter. If he is interested in some more specific data about, say, this school year as it compares with others, I would invite him to submit a question on notice.

MR SPEAKER: Supplementary, Mr Doszpot.

MR DOSZPOT: Thank you, Mr Speaker. Minister, will you now expand your education policy so that it might be summarised as “learn, earn or shop”?

MR SPEAKER: Minister.

Mr Corbell: I have a point of order, Mr Speaker.

MR SPEAKER: Mr Corbell.

Opposition members interjecting—

MR SPEAKER: Order! The next member who intervenes while I am trying to take a point of order will be warned.

Mr Corbell: I cannot recall the number, but the standing orders do not permit questions that are ironic in nature. Clearly, Mr Doszpot’s question was and I ask that you rule it out of order.

MRS DUNNE: On the point of order, Mr Speaker—

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