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Ms Tucker made a point about early intervention, and that is the point that concerns me. Early intervention was evidenced recently at the Girls Grammar School, that is, they kicked out a five-year-old who was pulling hair. That is not exactly the response we would expect. Particularly, it is not the response we should expect because I imagine, although I have not checked it out, that that child is now attending a government school. Government schools are open to everybody, and we will take that child on willingly and well. However, I think there are occasions where, because of the smaller system, independent schools cannot as readily pass students from one school to another, and it comes back to the government sector to pick up a particular case. I know that the Catholic sector, because of its size, is able to do the same as government schools when there are problems, which are handled often by sliding students around schools. Independent schools are not quite large enough to do that, and I make the point that it is the government sector whose excellence picks up those students and, I hope, turns them into top quality products.

MR MOORE (11.25), in reply: Mr Speaker, in rising to close the in-principle stage of the debate, I would like to take on a couple of things members have said. First of all, I draw members’ attention to the fact that I believe that they have confused autonomy with autocracy. There has been no attempt in this legislation to interfere with what goes on in schools, other than to do what is consistent with Justice Blackburn's finding that students are entitled to natural justice, which Mr Stefaniak pointed out.

Mr Stefaniak in his speech indicated that he believed this legislation to be expensive and legalistic. It is neither. That is simply a way of avoiding the issue. Mr Stefaniak, you know that this Bill was drafted at a time when our self-government Act made it quite clear that we could not expend money, and from a government perspective it is cost-neutral. From the perspective of a student or the family of somebody who has been suspended for over 10 days or expelled, this will be a much cheaper way than going through the Supreme Court, as was the case when an issue had to be raised. I understand that there is a case with respect to Geelong Grammar, and a number of parents are taking that school to the Supreme Court. To say that it is expensive is simply not true, compared to the alternatives. To say that it is legalistic is also not true. The whole point of the exercise is to avoid natural justice claims, which are much more difficult to prove, going to the Supreme Court, and to deal with the issue at hand.

To suggest that it interferes with parental choice is also absolute nonsense. The difficulty parents have is that they choose a certain education for their children. In the case Mr Wood mentioned that occurred around the time I originally drafted this legislation, half-a-dozen or so boys were expelled from Canberra Grammar without any appeal mechanisms at all other than to the Supreme Court. Mr Wood also drew attention to a very recent example where a five-year-old, for heaven’s sake, could not be managed by a school. I have to ask what kind of school can possibly get to the point where they boot out a five-year-old kid - with no appeal mechanisms.

The legislation members have in front of them today makes quite clear that it is not dealing with just the end of the problem, and this takes me to the issue raised by Ms Tucker; it deals with the fundamental issue of how you avoid such problems. When an autocratic and autonomous school knows that there is a process of appeal that may be followed, they look at how their mechanisms work. It is quite clear from

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