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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 14 Hansard (11 December) . . Page.. 4773 ..

MS McRAE (continuing):

Members will recall the debate around the establishment of Radford and the great concern that there was then about the viability of existing Belconnen schools. Eventually, the decision was made to allow Radford to go ahead, but the test was put as to what effect it would have on surrounding Belconnen schools and the future of education within Belconnen. Of course, over time we have seen a bit of pressure on St Francis Xavier and Charnwood, both of which, it could be argued, suffered from the establishment of Radford. I am not suggesting that that was a wrong decision. It was made appropriately, but it was made against the test of the new schools policy.

I think it is very important not to lose sight of the impact of the Federal Government's changes. As far as I have understood things, the Government has in fact acknowledged that concern and will be seeking to act on it without the need of a motion being passed in the Assembly. I would hope as a consequence that next year the Minister will make a statement to that effect and guide us as to what his department is thinking in regard to new schools policy and how the changes that have been put in place by the Federal Government will be taken on board in the ACT.

New Schools Policy : School Without Walls Inquiry

MR STEFANIAK (Minister for Education and Training) (7.26): As I indicated to Ms McRae earlier today, had that motion come on we would have supported it. We have in place already a number of guidelines, but certainly that particular point is being reviewed by the department.

I thank Ms Reilly for her comments, too. In my comments I merely drew attention to the fact that comments were made by the three members of that committee on a conflict of interest situation. In that context I also made mention of the fact that in this Assembly most of the reports had, in fact, been unanimous. This one was marked by the fact that it had a substantial dissenting report by a member of the committee, which is somewhat rare. I simply put that on record.

Comments by Magistrate

MR OSBORNE (7.27): I want to speak briefly on a very serious matter. I would like to read briefly from a letter from the Australian Federal Police Association addressed to the Chief Magistrate. I think that it warrants my bringing it up in this place. It reads:

Dear Sir

I would like to draw your attention to recent comments made in a hearing by Magistrate Warren Nichol [last month].

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