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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 6 Hansard (23 May) . . Page.. 1671 ..

MR OSBORNE (continuing):

However, I would like to add that I took the liberty of speaking to the injured boy, Michael Cole, this week and he stands by what was written in the Canberra Times article. I am very pleased that Dr McNicol has gone to these lengths to reassure not just the sporting community.

I first became aware of this story when I was approached by Keith Meskell, the chief executive of the local rugby league competition. He got the story second-hand and he was very concerned because this type of injury is probably the most serious you can get from rugby league. It is one that I would imagine any player who participates in this type of sport has a great fear of because, unfortunately, it is one injury that, if it goes too far, can cause death, or can cause you to be in a wheelchair for the rest of your life. So I am very pleased that Dr McNicol has gone to the lengths that he has gone to to reassure us. He says in his last paragraph:

The ACT community and the rugby community, in particular, can be reassured that people with neck injuries are carefully assessed and treated appropriately at all times.

I felt that, in this case, when I did have the discussion with Dr McNicol and he had gone to the lengths that he had, I would table this letter. I am not going to stand here and pass judgment on who was right and who was wrong. Dr McNicol believes what he said and Mr Cole stands by the incident as it was reported in the paper. I believe that it will be investigated and I hope that both parties will be satisfied. In summary, Mr Speaker, I am thankful that Dr McNicol took the time to come and see me and to go to the lengths that he did to express his side of the story. I seek leave to table Dr McNicol's letter.

Leave granted.

Sitting suspended from 12.42 to 2.30 pm


School-based Management

MR WHITECROSS: Mr Speaker, my question is to Mr Stefaniak in his capacity as Minister for Education. Mr Stefaniak, last week you sacked school boards and effectively disenfranchised the parent community. Through this action you have stripped parents of their hard-won right to be consulted and take part in the decision-making processes of their children's schools. Given that January 1997 is the date for the introduction of school-based management, how are school boards going to be able to take over these new responsibilities while being denied access to consultation and training during the lead-up time?

Mr Humphries: Why do you not ask the teachers? Ask the teachers.

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