Page 3943 - Week 13 - Tuesday, 23 November 1993

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Motion of Want of Confidence

MR MOORE (3.18): Madam Speaker, I seek leave to move a motion of no confidence in the Minister for Education.

Leave granted.

MR MOORE: I move:

That this Assembly expresses a lack of confidence in the Minister for Education and Training for the proposed cuts to teacher positions in Government schools in the Australian Capital Territory.

Madam Speaker, during the last election the people of Canberra had every reason to believe that the Labor Government would give the highest priority to education. Their election platform categorically stated that this was the case, and members of the Government have reiterated this stance on numerous occasions. If we refer to Labor's youth policy for the last election we see there that their highest priority, or their first-placed priority in their priorities for the next three years, was:

Labor will:

provide extra resources to Government high schools to tackle the increasing need for improved pastoral care, counselling and careers advisory services to young Canberrans. Each high school will be given an additional two line allowances for staff to extend these services, at a cost of approximately $290,000. This commitment represents the first step in Labor's commitment to develop a plan to meet the needs of young people in high schools.

What they did not mention, Madam Speaker, was the second step. The second step is to take it away again, and then take some more as well. This Minister, Madam Speaker, has failed to protect the ACT schools. His responsibility is to ensure that he has enough information to provide to Cabinet, enough information to provide to his caucus, and enough information to provide to this Assembly to indicate that such cuts can be made without any damage to the schools. Madam Speaker, he has failed to do so.

The introduction to the Australian Labor Party policy, dated 29 January 1992 and entitled "Protecting Canberra's Schools - Labor's Schools Policy", states:

The education of our young people remains the highest priority for Labor.

Perhaps that is why they decided to cut! It continues:

A Labor Government will provide a quality education for its students to develop their talents and capacities to the full in achieving high standards of learning, self-confidence, optimism, self-esteem and respect for others.

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