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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 10 Hansard (Wednesday, 19 September 2018) . . Page.. 3833 ..

making it even better. The Greens recognise the many processes that are in place to address these issues, so we will be supporting the minister’s amendment.

I am anticipating the comments that are likely to be made after I have finished my speech. What we see here today is that there is no disagreement that there is a problem. The question is: what is the response to be? Ms Lee has proposed another inquiry, a new inquiry. At the end of the day, we do not support starting another inquiry. We have a couple of significant reports that have identified the issue. The minister is leading significant work on what the future of education looks like. I think that those two things combined provide the response path that we need to ensure that our education system continues to be one we can be proud of. But we cannot ignore the information that has been put before us, and that is the challenge that lies ahead.

I look forward to seeing the report back from the minister in February 2019 that she has proposed in her amendment, in which we will have an update, particularly on the implementation plans for the future of education. At that point the Assembly will have another opportunity to scrutinise whether those proposals are addressing the issues that have been identified through the socio-economic analysis of the NAPLAN results. The Greens will be supporting Ms Berry’s amendment today.

MS LEE (Kurrajong) (5.12): I thank Mrs Kikkert for her contribution to this debate, as well as, of course, Minister Berry and Minister Rattenbury. Given that Mrs Kikkert is a mother to five children in government schools, she is well placed to appreciate how they are progressing. It is no surprise that she and other Canberra parents have an uneasy feeling about where the standard of their children’s education is and where it should be.

That assessment has come quite independently from observation of their children’s progress and without any prior knowledge of PISA results or several damning reports. Does the minister know this but simply is unable to face the reality? Is it because she does not know how to fix it? Of course, we will all continue to wonder because it is, after all, private members’ day.

Once again, as we see every Wednesday with private members’ business, we have a furious rewrite of anything the Canberra Liberals wish to debate. This motion, like my earlier motion on the H course, is no different. We have the usual: remove all words after “this Assembly” and then, like so many other motions, simply repeat words that we had in our motion. But in this case, there is one glaring difference. In respect of each report referenced, we actually listed the findings, all of which were damning.

This government is simply unable to accept criticism, to acknowledge shortcomings, and so it is again with this motion. There is a dangerous progression to wilful blindness and a stubborn refusal to admit that things are not quite right. We saw it today in the health motion and we see it now in education.

How many years, months, hours of debate did it take for the government to acknowledge what everyone else in Canberra knew, that the ACT health system was broken and needed a board of inquiry to get to the bottom of the crisis? How long will it be before the education minister accepts that ACT students are going backwards in

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