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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 11 Hansard (Wednesday, 20 October 2010) . . Page.. 4700 ..

The other thing that Ms Hunter said was that I am to blame by making things worse. Ms Hunter also said that one of the wonderful things out of all this so far is that an extension has been granted by the department. Ms Hunter, the extension was our work. It was our agitation and our consultation with the community—through you, Madam Deputy Speaker, to Ms Hunter. She is not listening because she does not want to hear the truth of what we are talking about.

The extension to this consultation period, this sham consultation period, was because the community was given a voice. That is the reason it happened. So you cannot have it both ways, Ms Hunter. If I am to blame, do I also get some credit for the extension? There is a total inconsistency in your rationale and all of your attitudes to this.

We also had a meeting with the department on 3 September, for the minister’s edification, which he would be well aware of because we had to get permission from him. So we did, in fact, meet with the department on 3 September. If I recall correctly, the minister said the first consultation notification was sent out on 7 September. There was absolutely no mention to us regarding any of these proposed cuts or any of the issues that we are discussing today. You asked me why I did not meet with the department, Ms Hunter. I have met with the department. We have had these discussions but not discussions about the cuts.

I do not think there is much more to say on Ms Hunter’s amendment. I think it really is beyond the pale. Ms Hunter gave us a story about how she was touched by the story of this young lad with a hearing implant and the way that he was handled by the people who were around him was not sufficient. I find that quite incredible because this is exactly what this discussion is all about.

Listen to one of the parents. Do not listen to me, Ms Hunter, but listen to one of the parents. Anita Miller wrote:

Would the A.C.T Labor Government staff a classroom in an A.C.T Public School with people that had been on a weekend workshop or had a 2 hour staff training on “How to Teach the mainstream student.”? No! You wouldn’t. It would be a totally unacceptable proposition. I would imagine if you had tried to do such a thing you would be thrown out of government in a flash! Yet you seem quite happy to do this to our children.

And you are endorsing this, Ms Hunter. Anita continued:

I can only think that there has been little, if at all any investigation let alone any possible understanding of just exactly what these specially trained teachers actually do for our children in your school system

Mr Barr, I do not think you have an idea of what we are talking about here. You should be consulting with the parents, understanding issues. Anita continued:

A child with a vision impairment already has a “Hard road to travel” so to speak. This road is made even harder by decisions like these. Many of our children are students in mainstream classes, they are expected to learn and achieve alongside

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