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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 01 Hansard (Tuesday, 10 February 2015) . . Page.. 84 ..


I sought an urgent briefing. After hand-delivered letters, follow-up emails and phone calls, with no response for about a fortnight, I was finally forced to write to the then Chief Minister, Ms Gallagher, who, to her credit, responded immediately. But it was only then, after getting a reprimand from her Chief Minister, that the matter was progressed and addressed as the family wished, and the family was assisted in the end. Is this seriously the best we can do for Canberra families in crisis?

I am not the only one that the minister chooses to ignore. Four months ago, an opinion piece appeared in the Canberra Times with a heading that read “Time for Education Minister Joy Burch to learn from the evidence”. The article referred to the results of a report by the Australian Council for Educational Research that showed that ACT teachers worked between 49 and 50 hours a week. The writer of the article, ACT AEU secretary Glenn Fowler, wrote:

One might have expected the Minister for Education, Joy Burch, to have given serious consideration to the independent and objective data provided by ACER.

Instead, in response to ACER’s findings, a spokesman for the minister sought to deflect the issue by telling the Canberra Times … that teachers in independent schools work longer hours …

As Mr Fowler pointed out, that claim was completely without foundation. But that was not an isolated example of lack of support for ACT teachers. She had earlier attempted to dismiss a survey that showed ACT public school teachers had experienced an increase in their workload over the previous five years due to an increase in administrative and other tasks. In that instance the minister went even further than just dismissing the claims. She said that in fact ACT teachers had the lowest workload in the country.

Isn’t that a truly inspirational message that you as a teacher would want to hear from your minister? In other words, “Shut up; you’re overpaid.” What a slap in the face for teachers in the ACT.

How many more examples does the Chief Minister have to hear about before he realises what a weak link he has in this minister? How many more times do ACT teachers have to be let down by their own minister? How many more times do Canberra families have to expect the minister for gaffes to come out with yet another memorable “whoops, she surely didn’t mean that” quote?

Chief Minister, enough is enough, and that is the sad fact that the Leader of the Opposition, Mr Hanson, has so clearly defined in this motion of no confidence.

MS LAWDER (Brindabella) (4.31): I rise to talk about some issues that the minister has participated in, either in her current portfolios or in previous portfolios. These relate to child care, care and protection, and the most recent Tharwa Drive road closure. These issues fell under Minister Burch’s portfolio responsibilities, either recently or at some point, and they show her continued failings as a minister.

Ms Burch started off this morning by saying, “Here we go again,” and never a truer word was spoken. Someone suggested to me just this morning that we in the


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