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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 14 Hansard (11 December) . . Page.. 4772 ..

MR WOOD (continuing):

Amnesty has more than 600 members in the ACT, all of whom contribute to the observance throughout the world of the UN declaration. Most members work individually from home, sending letters, faxes and e-mails directly to governmental authorities on behalf of prisoners of conscience and the victims of torture and execution. The year 2000 is approaching fast. Now is a chance for Australia to have a considerable influence by hosting the last extravaganza of the twentieth century.

School Without Walls Inquiry

MS REILLY (7.23): I want to make a short statement which I would have made under standing order 46, but we moved to the adjournment debate too quickly. It is in response to statements made by Mr Hird and Mr Stefaniak following the release of the report on the inquiry of the Standing Committee on Social Policy into the School Without Walls. Statements were made in the media yesterday. In response to the statements, I want to put on record that I refute any claim of conflict of interest. One of the reasons I have been slow in making any statement on this is that there is a child involved. There is a young person concerned in the allegations made by Mr Stefaniak and Mr Hird. Since these statements have been made, there has been an amount of misinformation floating in the system. Therefore, I wish to make a statement in relation to this matter. The child in question, who has been referred to as my stepdaughter, is the child of my partner. She is not a child of mine. This child has never lived with me and I have no say in any way at all in any decision about her education, where she may attend school and what subjects she may attend.

New Schools Policy

MS McRAE (7.24): Although I risk really stretching people's endurance, I am afraid I feel I have to speak. I will be brief. This afternoon we on this side chose to allow Executive business to come on, on the understanding that I could make a very brief statement in regard to a motion that we had on the notice paper. I would simply like to put on record that the motion that we put on the notice paper was in regard to the effect that the removal of the Federal Government's policy on new schools would have on schools in the ACT.

It is my understanding that the Government was supportive of the motion because it was asking it to examine the possibility of creating a policy in the ACT to protect ACT schools. The importance of this is not so much the type of nonsense that we have heard emerge from the Federal debate about the expansion of new and marginal schools. It is, in fact, the danger that presents to the ACT from quite big non-government schools offering to set up. With the removal of the new schools policy, quite large private schools would have every right to attempt to set up. The previous policy allowed a test of viability for existing government and non-government schools and provided for integrated planning in the ACT.

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