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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 10 Hansard (Wednesday, 22 September 2010) . . Page.. 4276 ..

targeting individual schools, I will work with all schools and all principals to develop appropriate strategies in relation to truancy, tools which all principals can use so that all students have the opportunity to access a quality education.

Since the “earn or learn” laws were part of a national reform, and the youth attainment and transitions national partnership, there are other consequences for not going to school. And as part of these reforms, the Australian government have made changes to Centrelink payments. They have made it very clear at a commonwealth level that there are no excuses. Everyone will learn. Everyone will participate.

A new eligibility rule has been introduced for family tax benefit part A. Young people aged 16 to 20 now need to be in full-time study in an approved course of education or training in order for a family to continue to receive family tax benefit part A for that child. The young person’s study must assist or allow them to complete a year 12 certificate or an equivalent qualification. An equivalent qualification in this instance is considered to be a certificate level II. Furthermore, eligibility to receive youth allowance if a young person is above the mandatory school leaving age is dependent on the young person studying full time in an approved course at an approved institution. This is an example of governments working together to fight truancy.

In conclusion, I welcome this motion, because truancy is an important issue, but I am disappointed at the juvenile politicisation of it by the Canberra Liberals. They single out schools. They seek to mock important national laws. They do their research from the front page of the newspaper. Let me say, I will never scoff at important policy goals such as skills or jobs for young people.

I would like to thank Ms Hunter and her office for such reasonable discussions on this important matter. It is refreshing to work with colleagues on new ideas. There is quite a contrast between the Liberals and the Greens on this matter. The Liberals are out of touch and out of ideas. It is, again, another episode of opposition for opposition’s sake.

MR SESELJA (Molonglo—Leader of the Opposition) (11.54): What we just heard were the words of an education minister who is too gutless to actually back up one of his principals. That is what we got from the education minister today. He has been rolled by Simon Corbell again. He has been rolled again, and he has refused to stand up for this principal. He has effectively hung this principal out to dry in taking action to stop truancy.

That is what we have got from this minister. What a disgraceful effort from an education minister who has so little regard for his responsibilities that he is prepared to say to this principal: “You are on your own. You will not be supported by the education minister. You will not be supported by this government.” They will undermine the efforts of this principal to simply try to do all that this school can in order to get a better outcome for the school community in Lanyon and to work with the community to get that outcome.

That is what we have got. We have got a very clear and stark difference here. The education minister has not done his job. We just heard him tell us about all the

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