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Mr Stefaniak has outlined in the past couple of weeks some changes to the health syllabus that he would like to see in place next year, and here it seems that everyone parts company. The problem, it seems, is not the goal but, rather, how to get there. Coming from a school where we had compulsory sport, or Thursday afternoon sport, I must say that I am somewhat biased in that department.
Mr Moore: For or against?
MR OSBORNE: For. I survived the Christian Brothers school. I do not agree that children, whether male or female, should be forced to take part in competitive sport. However, I do agree that all children should be exposed to some form at least of physical activity.
There are two important points to consider in looking at the Minister's proposal and this call for an inquiry. The first is that eight inquiries have already taken place in the past four years, some of which have had Canberra's children as their only focus. We hardly need another inquiry to tell us what we already know. I know how I feel when my daughter asks me a question nine times and I give her the same answer. The second point to consider is that the Minister has also announced the formal consultation process, which will begin next month, for interested groups to join in. This consultation is there to provide the parents and various school groups, including the P and C, with the opportunity to have their say and to help refine the proposed physical education package. I encourage interested groups to take full advantage of this opportunity. Mr Speaker, for these two reasons, I will not be supporting this motion.
MR MOORE (12.21): Mr Speaker, the motion before the Assembly provides for an appropriate amount of consultation before proceeding. It is interesting to me that a number of members of the Labor Party have stood up and said to the Minister, “You have had no consultation at all. You floated an idea and then you just pushed it”. In fact, that is not my observation at all. To say that none of us can float an idea without going to consultation first is not reasonable. The consultation process has to start at some point. For the Minister to have raised the notion of compulsory sport and then forced that through and ensured that there was compulsory sport in schools would have meant that there was no consultation. In fact, I have noted this morning a letter that the Minister has written to Ms Tucker with reference to this issue which will achieve the things Ms McRae has put in her motion. I think the motion has served a very important purpose in bringing this issue before the Assembly and ensuring that the level of fitness of our students is increased. The health of our students, in the very broadest sense of ensuring the healthy way they play and improving general health and fitness, is the issue that is being dealt with.
I am pleased that the Minister has moved from his original position. We can cover that in one of two ways. We can say that the Minister has done a backflip and has backed down and therefore in some way is an incompetent politician; or we can colour it in a different way and say that the Minister has put an idea out to the community. He has been prepared, under community pressure, under consultation, to move his position and to listen to what is being said. I must say that at this stage, perhaps because we are so far from an election, I am happy to put the latter complexion on it.