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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 10 Hansard (Tuesday, 21 September 2010) . . Page.. 4230 ..

the children and young people at those schools by the Greens when they announced their policy that they would rip $60 million out of non-government schools. I doubt there was any. But if they had consulted with the parents or indeed the children and young people there, I think the Greens know what kind of feedback they would have got.

But, of course, they ignored the pleas of the children and young people of Flynn, Cook, Hall and Tharwa. They ignored them. They had the opportunity to actually redress that wrong. They claimed to stand for it before the election, but, when they had the power to do something about it, they shirked it. They squibbed it. They were not prepared to actually stand with those families, to stand with those parents, to stand with those young people, who simply could not believe that the government had come and ripped their well-functioning school out of their community. So I think it is worth putting a few facts on the table, Mr Speaker, in relation to this and in relation to the Greens’ claims about what they stand for.

I go back to where I started: there is no doubt that there are principles in law in relation to all sorts of decisions that can be made as children get older, as they progress through adolescence, without always having to have the approval of their parents, but, whilst they are young children, parents are given that task. They are given that task at law, and I believe it is reasonable that they be given that task. I believe it is also reasonable that we trust them to do that job.

I believe that parents acting in the best interests of their children will get the best results. Parents acting in the best interests of their young children will also, of course, be contributing to all of the policy issues that affect families, parents, grandparents and children and young people. The suggestion that this is not the case, which is almost more than implicit in what is said by the Greens, both by Ms Le Couteur and by Ms Hunter—and, indeed, is reflected in Greens documents—I think effectively says to the parents of the ACT: “We do not trust you. We do not believe that you will actually act in the best interests of your children. We do not believe that you will actually talk to your children about some of these issues and advocate on their behalf. We have to go around you, because you cannot be trusted.”

That is not a position that we accept. It is not a philosophical position that we accept, and it is one that the Greens may well jump up and down about, but we are putting our trust in parents to do the job of parents whilst their children are very young and to make those decisions on behalf of their kids.

MR BARR (Molonglo—Minister for Education and Training, Minister for Children and Young People, Minister for Planning and Minister for Tourism, Sport and Recreation) (4.12): I thank Ms Le Couteur for raising this matter this afternoon. Consultation has long been a key principle of planning in the territory. Various consultation mechanisms are routinely used within our planning process. These range from public workshops that might be held as part of strategic planning initiatives, such as creating concept plans for new greenfield suburbs, through to the notification of development applications. This consultation seeks to engage members of the community, including children and young people, in government decision making on important matters.

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