Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 8 Hansard (25 October) . . Page.. 1988 ..
MR KAINE (continuing):
children to go to this school. The children and their parents are opting, obviously, to go somewhere else. What does Ms McRae propose that we do? Maintain this school no matter what the cost, even if we get down to the point where there are only 50 or 60 students there? What is the cut-off point?
Mr Berry: You made the promise.
MR KAINE: Mr Berry, you have a lot to say. What do you think the cut-off point is?
Mr Berry: You made the promise, not us.
MR KAINE: At what stage would you consider closing a school?
Ms McRae: Your Government; your promise.
MR SPEAKER: Order!
MR KAINE: I can talk to you about promises not to close schools, too. If this school closes it will be by the decision of its parents and its students, just as Griffith Primary School was. You have heard the Minister say that he is waiting for the advice of the committee that was set up to examine the matter. When he gets that advice he will listen to it, which is more than you will. You are not prepared to wait. Your objective is to get out there and stir people up and raise their expectations unrealistically.
Mr Speaker, I think that the approach of the Opposition is appalling. It is totally irresponsible. What they would see, presumably, is a very large increase in tax imposition on the people of this city to satisfy their strange notion that no school, once opened, can ever be closed, for any reason. It is clearly an absurdity. Mr Berry and Ms McRae would do far better to talk to those people in a rational way as to what their real choices are, rather than trying to stir them up to some unreal expectation that the Government will produce money that it does not have to keep this school open if it really becomes unsustainable. It is a silly argument. I did not imagine that Mr Berry would be so silly as to come here and present it.
MR BERRY (11.19): We have just heard a speech from Mr Kaine which goes back in history to the days when Mr Kaine and the Alliance Government settled on closing schools. In fact, it was a rebellious speech because it flew in the face of Mrs Carnell's promise not to close schools unless the community want it. Mr Kaine's speech goes back to the days when he and Gary Humphries - the education vandals in this place - attacked the school system and began to close them down. Luckily, they did not get away with it. They are trying now to do it by another method.
They draw comparisons with the Griffith Primary School case. That was completely different. In the case of the Griffith Primary School there was an exodus and the parents decided to close it down. It is quite different at Charnwood High School. Last evening there was an angry public meeting which we all could have attended if we had wanted to do so. If you look at the circular that went out to the community, it advertises it